Get ready to be the most knowledgeable person in your inner circle
Things are starting to get interesting in the race for president. Not the primary race for a major party’s nomination, but the actual, real deal presidential race.
With the distractions of party infighting getting quieter all the time we can now start examining how the two presumptive nominees, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, are setting the table to beat the other to the White House. And today was a big news day for the Republican candidate.
This isn’t a Trump take down. We’ve got a lot of those and we’ll surely get more. But if you want a brief on the last 24 hours of his campaign and what some big reveals mean for his presidential bid then read on.
Donald Trump has fired his controversial campaign manager.
Until yesterday, Trump’s presidential bid was being overseen by Corey Lewandowski, a former New Hampshire state public safety officer and real estate agent with no prior experience running a national political campaign. He also worked for Americans For Prosperity, a group sponsored by conservative benefactors Charles and David Koch, and is the chairman of the New Hampshire convention delegation.
If you’re not a wonk but still recognize his name it’s probably because he came under fire in March for forcibly moving a reporter, Michelle Fields, away from Trump after she asked him a question about affirmative action. Fields suffered bruises on her arm from the encounter but did not press charges. Trump and Lewandowski both denied the incident took place despite the fact that Politico posted an audio clip with Fields and a Washington Post reporter talking about the dust up immediately after it happened.
But even if you discount that near miss assault charge, Lewandowski had seemed doomed for some time. His strategy of “Let Trump Be Trump” worked well in the primary when he was facing down a weak field of fellow Republicans, but his un-favorability numbers have been freaking out party leaders who have already been slow to endorse him—if they’ve endorsed him at all.
An ABC News/Washington Post Poll has Trump at an unfavorable rating of 70 percent, with similar figures coming from Bloomberg, Gallup and Marquette Law. Clinton’s numbers, it should be noted, are nothing to hang on the mantle, but they are at least better than her competition’s, who Politico says is “setting modern records for political toxicity.”
Critics of Lewandowski include the Republican National Committee Chairman, Reince Priebus, and, according to the New York Post, his kids. According to “sources,” Ivanka Trump has been “threatening to distance herself from the campaign if Donald didn’t get rid of him,” and the New York Times reports that Priebus told Trump last week that, “Relations between his committee and Mr. Lewandowski had become increasingly strained, and that a change would be welcome.”
But now Lewandowski is out, and at least for now, it looks like his responsibilities will be assumed by chief campaign strategist Paul Manafort. Manafort has been at it for along time, having served on the convention task forces of Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, the elder George Bush, and Bob Dole. If Trump is trying to put on a better face for the establishment going forward, Manafort seems like the kind of guy you tap for the job of rebranding your campaign.
Here is a half hour interview with Lewandowski on CNN that he gave following his dismissal from Trump’s campaign.
Donald Trump’s campaign is broke?
It’s not really broke, but Trump’s campaign war chest is significantly smaller than Hillary Clinton’s at this point in time. The Republican candidate made a big display out of his self-financing during the primary, and even though he’s had a pretty significant head start on the presidential race he has failed to set up any meaningful fundraising machines for the rest of his run towards the White House.
Fundraising was actually something under the purview of Lewandowski, and perhaps as a demonstration of his ineffectiveness, that’s not going very well for Trump right now. As the Times says, “The campaign has aired no ads for the general election, and neither Mr. Trump or his advisers have yet to publicly bless a ‘super PAC’ that could raise significant amounts of money to support his presidential bid.”
The New Yorker echoes that assessment, but adds a bit more punch to their message: “Trump still doesn’t have a campaign organization worth the name. He’s short of money, data, and volunteers to knock on doors. He doesn’t even have a proper super PAC to which rich Republicans who can stomach his populist rhetoric could send donations.”
According to Federal Elections Commission filings, Trump’s campaign has about $1.3 million in cash on hand. By contrast, Hillary Clinton has $42 million. Trump fund raised $3.1 million in May, while Clinton brought in $27 million. And let’s focus on May for additional second, because while Trump’s campaign spent $6.7 million in that month, almost one-fifth of that money went to businesses with Trump’s name in the title.
And as MarketWatch points out, “The filing suggests that Trump himself is drawing a salary from the campaign, which would be highly unusual.”
These findings align closely with facts born out in a recent New York Times article called “How Donald Trump Bankrupted His Atlantic City Casinos, but Still Earned Millions” in which it was explored how much money Donald Trump tends to pay himself through his failing business ventures. So, even if Trump kickstarts his campaign fund raising in a big way soon, it’s questionable whether or not that money will be put to proper use.
Donald Trump will ruin the economy.
If you oppose Donald Trump, your reflex is likely to say, “Of course he will!” But Moody’s Analytics just put out a study called “The Macroeconomic Consequences of Mr. Trump’s Economic Policies” that includes “his policies on taxes and government spending, immigration, and international trade,” and it is based on a lot more than just gut feelings.
The Moody’s team concludes:
“The economy will be significantly weaker if Mr. Trump’s economic proposals are adopted. Under the scenario in which all his stated policies become law in the manner proposed, the economy suffers a lengthy recession and is smaller at the end of his four-year term than when he took office (see Chart). By the end of his presidency, there are close to 3.5 million fewer jobs and the unemployment rate rises to as high as 7%, compared with below 5% today. During Mr. Trump’s presidency, the average American household’s after-inflation income will stagnate, and stock prices and real house values will decline.”
And Congress would only be able to mitigate the damage:
“Under the scenarios in which Congress significantly waters down his policy proposals, the economy will not suffer as much, but would still be diminished compared with what it would have been with no change in economic policies.”
Also, low-income Americans would be hit especially hard:
“Those who would benefit most from Mr. Trump’s economic proposals are high-income households. Everyone receives a tax cut under his proposals, but the bulk of the cuts would go to those at the very top of the income distribution, and the job losses resulting from his other policies would likely hit lower- and middle-income households the hardest. The decline in wealth caused by weaker stock prices and housing values would be felt by all households.”
And everything will be generally worse, economically speaking:
“Even allowing for some variability in the accuracy of the economic modeling and underlying assumptions that drive the analysis, four basic conclusions regarding the impact of Mr. Trump’s economic proposals can be reached: 1) they will result in a less global U.S. economy; 2) they will lead to larger government deficits and more debt; 3) they will largely benefit very high-income households; and 4) they will result in a weaker U.S. economy, with fewer jobs and higher unemployment.”
“What he is asking for is fiscally unsound.”
If you want to read the complete report you can find it here. The entire document is similarly damning.
Donald Trump has ruined the Republican party.
This has long been a narrative around Trump’s campaign, but a New York Times piece today called “Will Trump Swallow The G.O.P.” is an incredibly thorough examination of how that could be true, with input from Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Maine Senator Susan Collins and the aforementioned RNC Chairman, Reince Priebus.
If you want to read a Republican leader talk about whether or not he’s pouring Bailey’s in his cereal every morning thanks to extreme unrest in his party, you can read that entire piece here.
Hillary Clinton is now fully targeting Donald Trump.
In a speech today in Columbus, Ohio, Clinton went straight at her opposition once again, this time for what he hasn’t addressed in his campaign, saying, “I have this old-fashioned idea that if you’re running for president you should say what you want to do.” Later on in the speech, she elaborated:
“Now you may have noticed there's a lot missing. The “king of debt” has no real plan for making college debt payable back or making college debt-free. This is a crisis that affects so many of our people. He has no credible plan for rebuilding our infrastructure apart from the wall that he wants to build. Personally, I'd rather spend our money on rebuilding our schools or modernizing our energy grid. He has no ideas how to strengthen Medicare or Social Security and, in fact, his tax plan would endanger both. No real strategy for creating jobs—just a string of empty promises—but then maybe we shouldn't expect better from someone who's most famous words are, “You're fired.”
The full speech is below, and it essentially lines out how Donald Trump is a literal threat to the United States.
So there you have it: 24 hours in the Donald Trump news cycle. Congratulations on being a more civically engaged and informed voter! And hopefully you took good notes, because there will be a quiz. Just kidding! Or are we...