Winning Progressive Message & Strategy

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The Trump Show.

When all the world is a show, people stop being people.  They become characters and props.

Donald Trump views the world as his stage – a kind of “Truman Show,” except one in which he, the title character, controls everything around him so he can live in the show in which he wants to live.

Once contained within an actual reality show, now Trump sees the planet as one giant shoot of “The Apprentice,” where everyone has a role – good guy, bad guy, etc. – that he determines.

When you take that into account, Donald Trump’s press conference this week makes sense.

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How Hillary Clinton Can Counter Trump’s Debate Strategy

Yesterday, I posted something about Donald Trump’s likely debate strategy – lie, lie, and lie again, knowing that it would fall to Hillary Clinton to correct him, now that moderators have decided against challenging lies.

Forcing Clinton to do the job means she will have nearly no time to talk about what she believes, what she wants to do, or to launch attacks on Trump.

So, how can Hillary Clinton combat that strategy?

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How Trump Will Win the Debates, With Moderators’ Help

“I do not believe it is my job to be a truth squad. It’s up to the other person to catch them on that.” – Chris Wallace, FOX News, on how he will moderate the debates.

Thanks, Chris Wallace.  You just gave Donald Trump his roadmap to winning the debates.

OK, that’s unfair to Chris, a little bit.  The other moderators surely won’t spend all of their time fact checking, either.

Therein lies the Trump strategy.

Tell lies and half-truths non-stop.

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Trump’s New Message is a Winner. Here’s How Hillary Can Counteract It.

Donald Trump 9.0 was launched last night (or is it 10.0?  9.5? I lost track).

For a brief moment in time, fueled by a teleprompter filled with messaging from new campaign manager Kellyanne Conway and campaign CEO, Breitbart’s Stephen Bannon, Trump had a narrative that finally worked.

To use a phrase of Trump’s, I hated to just give him credit for something, “believe me.”

Now, if he regresses to his usual self, he’ll say something horrible and the campaign will be caught up in a whirlwind of controversy.  But what if he doesn’t?  This new campaign message can work, quite effectively.  So, what should Hillary do?

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What Trump Refuses To Say On Shootings Says It All

It wasn’t until the Associated Press asked him in an interview to address bias against African Americans that Donald Trump even acknowledged that Philando Castile and Alton Sterling were black.

That’s no mistake.

Throughout the days since the tragic murders of Castile and Sterling, and the brutal slayings of heroic police officers in Dallas, Trump’s statements have been carefully crafted to avoid any inference that black Americans face any kind of special circumstance when it comes to their safety.  That includes avoiding any mention that they were black, at all.

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The Op-Ed Bernie Didn’t Write, But Should Have

Yesterday, Bernie Sanders was given the chance to write an op-ed in the New York Times.

He had a golden opportunity to write a campaign-changing piece, and he whiffed. His piece focused on Brexit as a warning to Democrats to take seriously the negative economic impact of the global economy. Essentially, it was the same campaign speech he gave 1,000 times, recycled, using Brexit as the hook. It was largely ignored — not because he doesn’t have a point — but because he offered up nothing new.

Here is the op-ed he should have written. Here is the op-ed that would have made an impact on the debate. It would have given him new relevancy, and stature, as he continues to try to reform the Democratic Party.

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Warren’s “Secret” Selling Point

Elizabeth Warren.  Massachusetts liberal, right?

Extreme left, isn’t she?

These are how many politically aware people have branded her.  And Lord knows that Democratic consultants have.

But Senator Warren has a background that most people forget about – if they even knew about it, at all.

And that secret would be her strongest selling point as a VP candidate for Hillary Clinton…

Even through Bill Clinton’s administration, Elizabeth Warren was a Republican.

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Jeb Bush’s Ted Kennedy Moment

Does Jeb Bush really want to be President?  We don’t know.  We can’t get inside of his head. Does it seem like Jeb Bush wants to be President?  Absolutely not.

For years, people have talked about the Bushes as the Republican Kennedys.  With Jeb’s answer, on Iraq, to FOX News, he may have just become the Bush’s Teddy.

In his answer to Megyn Kelly’s question, “Knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the invasion [of Iraq]?” Bush answered a resounding yes.  Stunned at the backlash against that answer, from even conservative commentators, Bush quickly backtracked in a quickly scheduled second interview, with Sean Hannity, saying he “misinterpreted the question” and that “I don’t know what that decision would have been.”

Wow.

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Progressives Rising

Piggybacking off my post from yesterday, Sahil Kapur at Talking Points Memo shows some other key victories for the “Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party” in the new Congress.

The Democrats’ progressive wing is enjoying a renaissance since the party’s crushing defeat in the 2014 midterm election, chalking up victories and capturing the attention of congressional leaders on causes near and dear to their hearts.

Some of the change is structural. The election wiped out red state senators and House members in less progressive districts, reducing the new minority party to a more ideologically cohesive unit. The loss of the Democrats’ Senate majority also breaks a four-year holding pattern in which leaders had to cut deals with the conservative-dominated House, making it somewhat easier for them to stand or fall on principle.

“It’s very, very liberating,” said one Democratic Senate leadership aide.

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There’s Something Happening Here….

When I worked for Howard Dean, in the 2004 election, he used to like to quote Harry Truman in his stump speech:

“If it’s a choice between a genuine Republican, and a Republican in Democratic clothing, the people will choose the genuine article, every time.”

The point, when Howard Dean said it, was that far too many Democrats were trying to be like President Bush, in 2003, when the President’s popularity was soaring, but Dean was offering a real alternative.  Yet, it could just as easily apply to the many Democrats, especially in the South, who became nearly indistinguishable from Republicans, not just on issue, but in tone.

Lo and behold, the slow burn of so called Blue Dogs completed in 2014, and voters voted for genuine Republicans, across the board.

Finally, it seems like Democrats are finally taking the right lesson away from these losses.  In the past, they always seemed to answer defeat by moving more to the right, assuming the country wanted conservatism.  But, in the past few days, it is becoming apparent that, finally, Democrats realize they need to offer a real choice – a progressive choice.

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