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    Donald Trump Tag

    This past Wednesday night, GOP consultant Frank Luntz discussed the results of his "focus group" with Donald Trump supporters, concluding that their enthusiasm for the candidate is unshakeable. From the Washington Post to National Review and FOX News, much is being made of the focus group participants' unwavering support for Trump even when presented with negative ads and statements from the candidate, including Kasich's ad comparing Trump to Hitler. The wearying theatrics of Frank-Luntz "focus groups" are one of the speed bumps we viewers have to navigate during the election season. I am resigned to the fact that producers think someone still marvels at the "dials" and the Price Is Right aspect to it all. Why we shouldn't pay any attention to this focus group:

    In July, Professor Jacobson wrote about the Huffington Post's decision to move its Donald Trump coverage to its Entertainment section.  He wrote:
    It is a political decision by HuffPo to impose on readers its view of Trump in the most pernicious way — not as part of an explicit and open editorial process but by corrupting HuffPo’s own news process. In what universe, other than the liberal media bias, is a candidate currently leading national polls and all but guaranteed to be included in the first debate not a political issue? You can hate Trump’s campaign, but it’s still politics.
    HuffPo was stuck with this ridiculous decision, even going so far as to beclown itself further by announcing Trump's decision to forego a third-party run on its Entertainment pages.

    This should be interesting. When two over-sized personalities collide, neither of whom is known for backing down. On Twitter and Facebook, Benjamin Netanyahu just released the following statement:
    Prime Minister Netanyahu rejects Donald Trump's recent remarks about Muslims. The State of Israel respects all religions and strictly guarantees the rights of all its citizens. At the same time, Israel is fighting against militant Islam that targets Muslims, Christians and Jews alike and threatens the entire world.

    Monday, Presidential hopeful Donald Trump called for, "complete and total shutdown of Muslims entering the United States." Republican leadership spoke out against Trump's remarks Tuesday. "I do not comment on what's going on in the presidential election; I will take an exception today," said Speaker Paul Ryan. "This is not conservatism. What was proposed yesterday is not what this party stands for and more importantly, it's not what this country stands for."

    Presidential candidate Donald Trump sucked up all the media oxygen yet again on Monday when his campaign released a statement calling for "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on." Many on Twitter assumed at first that the statement was a hoax, but it was tweeted by Trump senior adviser Dan Scavino, and then posted on Trump's website and retweeted by Trump himself, who called it "a very important policy statement on the extraordinary influx of hatred & danger coming into our country." Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski confirmed to the Associated Press that the intention was for the ban to apply to "everybody," including both immigrants and tourists. The Hill asked Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks if this would include Muslim-American citizens who were currently abroad, Hicks replied by email: "Mr. Trump says 'everyone.'" Trump also retweeted several tweets from David Brody with the Christian Broadcasting Network that described his proposed Muslim ban as an act of "bravery" that would likely "give him a boost with evangelicals."

    Last week,  Quinnipiac reported poll results for Iowa that showed Ted Cruz surging to 23%, only 2 points behind Donald Trump. The Wall Street Journal reported:
    A new Quinnipiac University poll of likely Republican caucus goers showed Mr. Cruz with 23%, behind only New York real estate developer Donald Trump, with 25%. That is more than double Mr. Cruz’s showing of 10% in the university’s October poll. Mr. Trump gained five points from October.
    Today, Rich Lowry, editor of the National Review, tweeted the following: More Twitter responses:

    Between reports that representatives from major networks (CNN, FOX, NBC, ABC, and CBS) gathered together to discuss how to take down Trump and John Kasich's bizarre ad, Trump seems to have more people poised to work against him than with him. The Hill reports that the GOP is in a "panic" over Trump and are finally taking his campaign seriously enough to call him "the clear front-runner" and to wonder how to derail it. So far, GOP strategists and pundits on both sides have been predicting that Trump's success will be short-lived, that it's just like the last presidential election in which each candidate had his or her 15 minutes of fame . . . only to crash, burn, and drop out in a matter of weeks. That, however, is not the case with Trump thus far; the Hill continues:
    “The media has twisted and turned through a number of different positions where they tried to explain that it was just a fad — the summer of Trump,” said Craig Robinson, a former political director of the Republican Party of Iowa. “Well, it’s lasted all fall. There is a realization that you are not going to wake up tomorrow and he’s going to vanish.”

    There's a big spat over Donald Trump's comments that he remembers seeing video of Muslims in Jersey City or other towns near NYC cheering the attack on the World Trade Center. The argument is over whether it happened, whether there is video and so on. Trump is sticking to his memory, and the media is swarming to prove him wrong. CNN in particular is going all out on the effort. There's no purity of purpose there. What's most interesting to me is that there is an emerging consensus among those who are hammering Trump on this that Trump is not "lying," but likely is thinking of celebrations elsewhere. Since the aspersions that Trump is a "racist" or "Islamophobic" are predicated on a bad intent, whether he is lying as opposed to honestly mistaken seems relevant. The concept of false or suggested memory is something I've often explored both in private practice and in the course I teach. There just are some people who absolutely believe and will swear on a stack of Bibles to something that objectively did not happen -- and they always seem to be on the other side of the case from me! They are not liars, but they are wrong. Proving it is the challenge. Robert Mackey of The New York Times argues that Trump probably is confusing videos of Palestinians cheering with some memory of it taking place in northern New Jersey, The Video of Celebrations That Was Broadcast on 9/11:

    This development is cause for concern for many on the right. If Donald Trump runs as an independent, he'll obviously take more votes away from the Republican candidate than the Democrat. The Wall Street Journal reports:
    Donald Trump: Open to Independent Bid if GOP Doesn’t Treat Him ‘Fairly’ Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump said Sunday he is open to running for president as an independent if he concludes Republicans are not treating him “fairly.” He made his comments on ABC’s “This Week” when asked about a Wall Street Journal story first published online Friday that reported an effort by Republican establishment figures to unite to knock Mr. Trump out of the race. The group plans a “guerrilla campaign” backed by secret donors to “defeat and destroy” the celebrity businessman’s candidacy, the Journal reported.

    In light of the terror attack in Paris and (presumably) Obama's weak performance against ISIS and bizarrely petulant performance in Turkey, terrorism now rivals the economy as the single most important issue to American voters. ABCNews reports:
    Terrorism suddenly rivals the economy as the single most important issue to Americans in the 2016 presidential election -- and a year out, a new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds more people paying close attention to the contest than at this point in any race back to 1988. After years of dominating the political landscape, the economy now has company. Given the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris, 28 percent of Americans now call terrorism the top issue in their choice for president, compared with 33 percent who cite the economy. Nothing else comes close. Attention, moreover, is focused as never before. Three-quarters of Americans say they are closely following the 2016 race, including three in 10 who are following it very closely. That’s the highest level of attention at this point in a presidential race in polls back nearly 30 years.
    According to this report:  "Partisan divisions are 33-23-36 percent, Democrats-Republicans-independents."

    Way back in September, when we were still young and naive in our belief that conservatives would overcome the odds and rally around The One sooner rather than later, I attended an anti-Iran nuclear deal rally on Capitol Hill. The event was headlined by Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, and featured the kind of anti-establishment, anti-Obama, anti-ridiculously stupid foreign policy speeches that have bolstered the more non-traditional candidates on the current Republican slate. Walking around, I was amazed at how many people displayed swag from multiple campaigns---weren't we in the middle of a hotly-contested nomination cycle? Still, rally attendees seemed less worried about who was taking a stand than they were about the possibility that nobody would take a stand at all. Trump and Cruz worked well together in this regard; they connected with the crowd and produced a cohesive message that resonated both on the Hill, and outside Washington. Looks like the honeymoon is over, though. It was nice while it lasted, but let's face it---we all saw this one coming.

    As the Republican presidential primary heats up, illegal immigration is again taking center stage.  While this is nothing new (as we know President Reagan attempted to address it in the '80s, John McCain made it a priority in '08, and on), the discussion has taken an interesting turn this election cycle. At issue, of course, are Obama's executive amnesty, the recent influx of illegal immigrants (including huge numbers of children), the vast number of illegals currently living and working in the U.S., border security (such as it is), and a host of related issues including the burden of illegal immigration on tax payers in terms of jobs, health care, schooling, police and judicial involvement, and various entitlement costs. Marco Rubio's involvement with the Gang of Eight, particularly his decision to work closely with Chuck Schumer, has not gone unnoticed by either the conservative base nor by the other presidential hopefuls.

    The Donald posted a new ad to his Instagram account Friday morning and like everything else Trump, it's pretty, shall we say "bold"? Posted with the caption, "Happy Friday the 13th," and set to what sounds like a rip-off of the theme music from the popular slasher series, Halloween, Trump's ad wonders whether fellow Republican presidential candidate, Ben Carson, is a violent criminal or pathological liar.

    Happy Friday the 13th

    A video posted by Donald J. Trump (@realdonaldtrump) on

    I watched Saturday Night Live last night for the first time in years and so did a lot of other people. Entertainment Weekly reports that it was a ratings bonanza:
    Donald Trump gives SNL its biggest ratings in years Trump is still bringing the bump. With Donald Trump hosting, Saturday Night Live jumped to its biggest overnight rating since 2012. According to NBC, SNL had a whopping 6.6 household rating on Saturday night, easily beating the season’s previous high: the 41st season premiere last month, hosted by Miley Cyrus and with a guest appearance by none other than … Hillary Clinton. In fact, Trump’s overnight rating was 47 percent higher than the Miley/Hillary episode.

    "For the children" unless using children as profane props helps your cause, in which case, eff it. Or at least that seems to be the case with a presumably anti-Trump PAC, Deport Racism. Promoting their contest which offers a cash prize to any audience member who successfully disrupts Trump's upcoming Saturday Night Live appearance by shouting "deport racism" or calling Trump a racist, Deport Racism used children to share, a "few words of their own" with The Donald. Mainly, "f*ck you, racist F*ck!" WARNING: Language, obvs.

    October's CNBC-hosted Republican debate threw into full relief the bias inherent in the mainstream media's handling of electoral politics. In the wake of the broadcast, both the MSM and RNC leadership fielded comments and accusations from candidates (and conservative bloggers...) rendered beyond frustrated at the CNBC moderators' questions, tone, and approach to a slate of candidates they treated like a lineup of hostile witnesses. Donald Trump has spent a great deal of time since that debate lashing out at the media over its treatment of conservatives, and his latest move is one that his supporters hope will set him further apart from the pack. Republican campaign reps gathered together this weekend in a meeting organized by GOP attorney Ben Ginsberg to craft a list of demands the entire slate of GOP candidates could present to network executives before the next debate. Representatives from Trump's campaign attended this meeting---then promptly announced their intention to independently negotiate with the networks apart from Ginsberg's efforts.

    While it seems clear that the loser of this week's CNBC debate debacle was CNBC (and in many ways, the mainstream media as a whole), I was and am really curious to see post-debate polling.  Watching the debate, I couldn't help but think that those ill-prepared, condescending, and generally unpleasant moderators were doing the GOP—and conservatives more generally—a gigantic favor.  We've long said that the media is biased against, unfair toward, and disingenuous about Republicans, and we couldn't have written a script ourselves to better prove our point. The first post-debate poll released, an online NBC poll, shows Trump and Carson leading the race with 26% each and Ted Cruz in third with 10%.  Mike Flynn reports:
    No other candidates earn double-digit support in the poll, from NBC News/Survey Monkey. Among those Republicans who watched the debate, Trump edges Carson, 25-24, while Cruz’s support jumps to 17 percent. Nearly a quarter of Republicans said Cruz did the best in the debate. He was followed closely by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), with one-in-five Republicans saying he did best. Trump and then Carson round out the top 4 performances in the debate, according to Republican voters.