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Trump’s convention may be the culmination of decades of Republicans’ dirty politics – The Washington Post

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On Monday, the Republican National Convention begins. With memories of “Lock her up!” and a schedule of D-list celebrities, right-wing memes and trolls, everyone paying attention knows this will be a raucous event. President Trump already offered Americans a taste of his campaign last week when he delivered a fusillade about an undocumented immigrant who robbed and critically injured a woman while on a jobs program that Sen. Kamala D. Harris, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, helped launch in California as San Francisco’s top prosecutor. He also falsely accused Democrats of taking the words “under God” out of the Pledge of Allegiance. Trailing in the polls and fresh off a successful Democratic convention, Republicans might be even more emboldened to trot out outrageous, false attacks against presidential nominee Joe Biden.

Somewhere, Lee Atwater must be smiling.

The 2020 Republican campaign will be built on the foundation that Atwater created.

Atwater, a South Carolina Republican and former rock-n-roll-loving frat boy, was one of the fiercest campaign consultants ever to enter the business. The “Babe Ruth of negative politics” started out as an intern for the segregationist senator Strom Thurmond and moved his way up to Ronald Reagan’s political director in 1984.

Atwater was to campaigns what Newt Gingrich was to Capitol Hill. As Gingrich elevated his smash-mouth partisanship to the highest level of congressional politics in the same period, Atwater began to mainstream his vicious brand into the highest levels of electoral politics. He compared politics to professional wrestling. He relied on character assassination, distorted information and made-for-television spectacle to manipulate the crowd into hating Democrats. Chaos was a good thing.

When politicians like Richard Nixon had used dirty tricks in an earlier period, the guardrails in American politics forced them to do so secretly.

Atwater, however, threw out the rule book. While he understood the value of coded language, he urged clients to say almost all of the silent parts out loud.

In 1988, Vice President George H.W. Bush, a scion of the party establishment, hired Atwater to run his campaign, assigning his son George W. Bush to monitor this young renegade. Michael Dukakis, whom voters perceived as a scandal-free public servant, the embodiment of the immigrant story, initially held a steady lead over Bush. The vice president — trying to win an elusive third term for his party in the White House — struggled to overcome perceptions that he was “wimpy” and tarnished by the Iran-contra scandal.

To redefine the campaign, Atwater zeroed in on a controversial Massachusetts program put in place by a Republican governor that granted incarcerated people weekend furloughs. Sen. Al Gore (D-Tenn.) had raised the issue during the primaries. Bush hammered away at it as evidence that Dukakis was weak on crime.

Atwater picked up on the story of an African American named Willie Horton. During a furlough in 1987, Horton escaped to Maryland, where he brutally raped a woman after stabbing her fiance.

Although Nixon advised Bush to avoid the low road and let surrogates do his dirty work for him, the vice president didn’t listen. On the campaign trail, Bush frequently mentioned Horton, whose photo hung on the wall of the GOP headquarters.

Atwater told a group of Republicans, “Willie Horton, for all I know, may end up being Dukakis’s running mate.” Upon passing a prison during a boat ride on the Boston Harbor, one reporter asked Bush whether any of the people in the facility had received a furlough. Only one, Bush replied, “Willie Horton.” Bush reminded voters that Dukakis, “the Furlough King,” had vetoed a bill banning first-degree murderers from the program and never apologized to the victim’s family.

Over 28 days in September, the National Security Political Action Committee, an independent organization headed by Larry McCarthy, a former associate of Bush adviser Roger Ailes, aired an ad highlighting an ominous image of Horton. “Dukakis not only opposes the death penalty,” the narrator tells viewers, “he allowed a first-degree murderer to have weekend passes from prison.”

Critics contended that the Horton story attempted to tap the racial biases that roiled White voters. “Let’s face it,” said Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.), “you don’t have to be a Democrat to know that is an appeal along racial lines.”

The Bush campaign feigned contrition but soon released a cleaned-up ad that featured White, Hispanic and African American prisoners walking through a revolving prison door.

Bush also relentlessly attacked Dukakis’s patriotism. In 1977, Dukakis refused to sign legislation that would have fined teachers who refused to lead the Pledge of Allegiance, after receiving an advisory opinion from the Massachusetts Supreme Court that it was unconstitutional. “What is it about the Pledge of Allegiance that upsets him so much?” Bush asked. This, too, became a major campaign issue flogged relentlessly by Bush and his surrogates. They added that his being a “card-carrying member” of the American Civil Liberties Union placed him on the far left of the political spectrum.

And these attacks weren’t unique; the barrage against Dukakis was unending. Atwater even tried to persuade the conservative columnist Robert Novak to write about Dukakis having “psychiatric problems,” which Novak rejected as “slander.” Practicing the art of what Atwater called “strategic misrepresentation,” the campaign shamelessly quoted Dukakis as saying, “I don’t believe in people owning guns, only the police and the military.” The quote, however, was reported by a gun-lobby representative, who met Dukakis once, in Gun Week magazine.

It worked. At a critical moment, journalist Sidney Blumenthal argued, the electoral campaign disintegrated into “dramatic irrelevance.”

Dukakis made a strategic error — trying to stay out of the mud and ignore the vicious and unfair attacks. The candidate listened to New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, who advised him not to “pay attention to that stuff.” But taking the high road and not forcefully responding or counterattacking resulted in Bush winning 40 states and 53.4 percent of the popular vote.

In 1991, dying from a brain tumor, Atwater apologized for the campaign, but his words came too late. The campaign became a template for the GOP.

The Republican establishment kept embracing the most destructive version of partisan politics — Gingrich on Capitol Hill, Atwater in campaigns and a new breed of conservative media with little interest in facts. In 2004, Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry was “swift-boated” with false accusations about his service in Vietnam. Four years later, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) selected Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate. Palin embraced rhetoric about the radicalism of Democratic nominee Barack Obama and the dangers of the “lamestream” media that stoked crowds who chanted “Terrorist!” and “Kill him!”

McCain was so taken aback at what his campaign had encouraged that at one point during a town hall meeting, he grabbed the microphone from a woman who said she couldn’t trust Obama, whom she inaccurately described as an “Arab.” But in the end — as McCain did with Palin — even those Republicans who found this breed of shameless, often bigoted politics troubling elevated it anyway for political gain.

The result: In 2016, Republicans nominated Trump, who had no moral qualms about encouraging supporters to chant “Lock her up!”

The low-road tactics have proved to be effective. They play to the worst fears of voters, and they have succeeded in negatively shaping how parts of the electorate view Democratic candidates. To be sure, Democrats have bolstered their defenses against such attacks. Candidates such as Bill Clinton and Obama established war rooms that hit back hard when attacked and developed media strategies to counteract the smear.

But with the help of voter-suppression efforts and a favorable electoral map, Republicans have scored historic wins scorching the political earth. As a party less committed to the institutions of government, one that believes in the primacy of the marketplace, they have been more willing to take down the guardrails and risk inflicting the kind of damage to our political processes that has been almost impossible to repair. Asymmetric polarization has defined the past three decades.

Every four years, we begin a new steel cage match, with one side bringing illegal objects into the squared circle. Until voters demand more, we all will continue to be stuck in the muck.

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The one thing that matters to stocks more than politics

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The presidential election is mere weeks away on Nov. 3 and the Supreme Court is also now under a microscope after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg upset the court’s delicate political balance.

<p class=”canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”All of this has been featured in copious pundit commentary and research notes — especially as the market turmoil that surrounded 2016 proved to be a huge boon for some savvy investors like Carl Icahn, who left a Trump election night celebration to buy stocks and make $1 billion.” data-reactid=”17″>All of this has been featured in copious pundit commentary and research notes — especially as the market turmoil that surrounded 2016 proved to be a huge boon for some savvy investors like Carl Icahn, who left a Trump election night celebration to buy stocks and make $1 billion.

But in a fresh note from Capital Economics, economist Oliver Allen points out the obvious point many forget during election season: the economy is “probably more important than politics.”

<p class=”canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”Politics, Allen writes, is still moving the market. The death of Ginsburg was the “final nail in the coffin” for more fiscal stimulus that millions of Americans need to stay afloat. It also has bearing on what may happen on Election Day, as the Supreme Court may eclipse the pandemic and the economy as key voting issues.” data-reactid=”19″>Politics, Allen writes, is still moving the market. The death of Ginsburg was the “final nail in the coffin” for more fiscal stimulus that millions of Americans need to stay afloat. It also has bearing on what may happen on Election Day, as the Supreme Court may eclipse the pandemic and the economy as key voting issues.

Despite the impact that politics has on the stock market, Allen warns investors not to get ahead of themselves. It’s the economy that matters most, and most importantly, how the long-term coronavirus vaccines and eventual recovery unfold.

Though Allen says to look at the economy more than the election, Capital Economics doesn’t offer more than a vague “the S&P 500 will climb further over the next few years, as major economies eventually get their coronavirus outbreaks under control, and central banks keep monetary policy exceptionally loose,” which seems wise, given how silly 2019 predictions look now.

A television broadcast showing U.S. President Donald Trump is pictured during a trading session at Frankfurt's stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, March 12, 2020. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski
A television broadcast showing U.S. President Donald Trump is pictured during a trading session at Frankfurt’s stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, March 12, 2020. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

Many people remember how the disrupted Bush-Gore election in 2000 hurt equity markets, causing them to drop around 8%, but the turbulence cleared up relatively quickly, resulting in no long-term damage.

“Provided any dispute over this year’s election is also eventually resolved, we find it hard to see [the election] having a lasting impact on US equities, even if it could cause a spike in volatility following Election Day,” Allen writes.

The fact that politics is secondary to the economy when it comes to stock prices isn’t a controversial take. Plenty of analysts point to uncertainty as being the chief problem. But the political implications for the stock market are frequently discussed by market strategists.

<p class=”canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”Many financial pundits have said Trump is better for the stock market and economy, citing deregulation and market performance after his election amid dire predictions from some. And Allen notes that “a second term for President Trump would probably be a better outcome for US equities than a win for Joe Biden,” because of corporate taxes.” data-reactid=”36″>Many financial pundits have said Trump is better for the stock market and economy, citing deregulation and market performance after his election amid dire predictions from some. And Allen notes that “a second term for President Trump would probably be a better outcome for US equities than a win for Joe Biden,” because of corporate taxes.

<p class=”canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm” type=”text” content=”At the same time, Trump’s late and weak coronavirus response led, in part, to 200,000 deaths, skyrocketing unemployment, dampened earnings, and a recovery that is still trying to get off the ground. And though some stock prices (mostly tech stocks) are doing well — driving the S&amp;P 500 (^GSPC) back to pre-coronavirus levels after a huge plunge — many companies are still in tough situations.” data-reactid=”37″>At the same time, Trump’s late and weak coronavirus response led, in part, to 200,000 deaths, skyrocketing unemployment, dampened earnings, and a recovery that is still trying to get off the ground. And though some stock prices (mostly tech stocks) are doing well — driving the S&P 500 (^GSPC) back to pre-coronavirus levels after a huge plunge — many companies are still in tough situations.

 

 

Source:- Yahoo Canada Finance

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Women in politics panel scheduled for Thursday – Sarnia Observer

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Three local women are talking about their experiences in politics this Thursday for a Jean Collective digital panel.

Judy Krall, deputy mayor of Enniskillen Township, is pictured in the Lambton County building in February. She’s one of three panelists in a Jean Collective talk about women in politics Thursday.

Paul Morden / The Observer

Three local women are talking about their experiences in politics this Thursday for a Jean Collective digital panel.

The group aimed at encouraging more women in politics in Sarnia-Lambton – currently about a dozen are in elected office across the county – kicked off in January, but the initiative was sidelined by the COVID-19 pandemic just before the panel presentation was originally scheduled for late March, said Helen Cole, one of six women behind the group.

“With this panel, we’re relaunching,” she said.

“It’s just a way to get the word out that we’re here, we want to support women who would be interested in making a difference in their community.

The Sept. 24, 7 p.m. panel via Zoom includes St. Clair Township Coun. Tracy Kingston, Enniskillen Township Deputy Mayor Judy Krall, and former City of Sarnia councillor Anne Marie Gillis.

“We’re asking them questions like ‘why did you decide to get involved in politics,’” Cole said. “Most often it’s because they were already active in their community and they wanted to make a difference.”

Challenges exist, said Cole, who served on St. Thomas council before moving to Sarnia, where she was manager of its Canadian Cancer Society office until she retired in 2013.

“You often will feel all alone,” she said. “So we want to address that piece.”

That includes developing what she called an education program for prospective politicians about things like Roberts Rules of Order that govern council meetings, work-life balance, information about finance, strategic planning, for building self confidence, and covering other topics, so they know what to expect in office, she said.

“I have some subject matter experts lined up for some of those, and if there’s some interest there may be a campaign school,” she said.

The education program would continue up until maybe six months before the 2022 municipal election, she said.

“Our point that we made very strongly is we are not endorsing any particular candidate or political party – we just want to get women involved,” Cole said.

“We all agree that a female on council has a different perspective, and we think that needs to be brought to the council table,” wherever that may be in Sarnia-Lambton, she said.

“And it’s a way for us to support women,” she said.

Often women are hesitant to run amid doubt, she said.

“We want to take the mystery and the fear out of it and say ‘You can do this. You need to get involved in your community.”’

Thursday’s digital panel is free and tickets are available for the Women in Politics Panel Discussion and Networking event via eventbrite.com.

Hopes are the education events to come will also be free, Cole said, noting she wants to eventually offer bursaries to women studying political science at university.

There’s a fund named after Jean Macdougall – also the namesake of the collective and Cole’s mentor during her time in politics – at the Sarnia Community Foundation for the cause, she said.

“If people wanted to support in that way, they could donate to that fund,” she said.

tkula@postmedia.com

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Jonathan Kay: B.C. NDP succumbs to the leftist battle over identity politics – National Post

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Article content continued

The next day, the star candidate was joined by Annita McPhee, former president of the Tahltan First Nations government, whose lands comprise part of the Stikine riding. But McPhee didn’t just jump in: she also called on Cullen to jump out. According to a motion adopted in 2011, older male NDP MLAs who retire must be replaced with either a woman or a member of an “equity-seeking” group. Cullen, a white guy born and raised in Toronto, doesn’t qualify.

In the days since, the plot thickened, with the party president releasing a vague statement indicating that “in certain instances, despite extensive candidate searches, our regulations permit allowances for other candidates to be considered.” It also turned out that the definition of “equity-seeking” is quite broad. In the last election, one married male NDP candidate, who’d always presented as straight, abruptly claimed he was bisexual. Another white male candidate got nominated after saying he had a hearing impairment.

I hadn’t heard of the B.C. NDP’s equity-seeking policy until this week. But its existence shouldn’t surprise me. The whole thrust of modern identity politics is to rank the acuteness of human oppression — and, by corollary, the urgency of the associated political demands — on the basis of race, sex and other personal traits. It makes sense that this principle should now be institutionalized, and weaponized, by politicians competing for status and power in a left-wing party that explicitly claims to represent the oppressed. Not so long ago, oppression was defined in NDP circles according to a Marxist understanding of labour and capital — which is why unions had such a prominent role in the party. But those days are long gone. Just last month, in fact, federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh used his Twitter account to promote officially debunked conspiracy theories suggesting that a Black Toronto woman was murdered in May by a half dozen (unionized) Toronto police officers.

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