Tuesday, October 04, 2016


I just got through telling you that I don't believe the tax story is necessarily a devastating blow to the Donald Trump campaign -- and now along comes the Morning Joe crew to proclaim that, yes, Trump is killing it, because his tax response is so darn authentic, while Hillary Clinton is secretive and corrupt and therefore is the real villain in this morality play.

I wish I were making this up. Just watch. A complete transcript is below.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Hillary Clinton is more in the pocket of Wall Street than anybody else that has run for president for years, okay? So please, anybody that's, like, looking at Donald Trump and going, "Oh, he's so horrible and he's so corrupt. Oh, we need to elect Hillary Clinton" 'cause she's going to fix this system? No! It's not gonna happen! So where do they go?

MIKA BRZEZINSKI (shrugs): I'm worried.

WILLIE GEIST: She made that speech in Akron, Ohio, last night. That Quinnipiac poll that you showed, if you look inside the numbers, has Donald Trump's lead among independents jumping from 5 to 19 points. In the last month! Up against the backdrop of all those things we've just talked about -- the Miss Universe, it goes on and on and on. People are not -- they're not paying attention to these nitty-gritty stories. He is a feeling to them. He is raging against this government machine. And people who like Donald Trump like the way he responded to that tax story.

MIKE BARNICLE: Lookit, I realize it's hard to do, but has anybody taken a look at Donald Trump's big tax plan that he announced about two weeks ago here in New York City?

BRZEZINSKI: I totally agree with you, Mike!

BARNICLE: Did he address any of the things that he took advantage of?

BRZEZINSKI: Mike, I totally agree with you. I'm just telling you I'm watching these two candidates --

BARNICLE: I know, I know, I know.

BRZEZINSKI: -- and there's one that keeps kind of doing this thing that penetrates the ether. The people are hearing -- they feel -- the truth from Donald Trump.

BARNICLE: And that is on Secretary Clinton, that she hasn't told us, really, where she wants to go, where she wants to take us.

BRZEZINKI: Right, and I think the reaction to this New York Times story on Donald Trump's part was brilliant. And the thing is, he didn't even think twice about it. He just went there, while she has been hiding this speech money, hiding this foundation stuff, hiding this email stuff, and trying to get around it, "mistakes were made," and I'm telling you, people don't -- they are not feeling a complete connection with her. And this doesn't help, to get all high and mighty. Get off your high horse about this tax thing. Unless laws were broken, it's not an issue. You guys cancel each other out.
It's not surprising that media elitists are defending a guy who milked the tax code this way -- our millionaire pundits probably have fairly complex tax returns themselves. But they're talking about Trump's approach to this and other stories as a delight to ordinary voters -- for instance, the independents in the latest Quinnipiac poll of Ohio who like Trump more after an apparent bad run of news cycles than they did before.

That poll was taken before the tax story broke, so we don't know how the rank-and-file are reacting to that yet. But if a lot of voters like Trump's response to the tax story -- if, in other words, they agree with the media elitists that you should work the tax code, and that that is consistent with "raging against the government machine," well, I'm not surprised.

In the 1980s, a lot of people decided that the true rebels in America, the true rock stars, were CEOs and entrepreneurs. Anyone who thinks that Trump is a rebel, a rager against the machine, as he takes advantage of the tax code is embodying that Reaganite worldview, which has never really lost currency in white America. It's why the Tea Party rebels dutifully pulled the lever for Koch candidate after Koch candidate. It's why Ron Paul became a folk hero. It's why Gary Johnson is doing better in the polls than Jill Stein.

You can argue that I'm mixing apples and oranges, because libertarians advocate a simplified tax code, with fewer loopholes. You can say that Trump is seen as a rebel not because he took the deuctions but because he claims (dishonestly) that he'll end them. But the common thread is that whatever the tax code looks like, post-Reaganite Americans aren't inclined to blame the businessman -- it's the evil government that causes all the problems.

Maybe this isn't how the story will play out. But I'm sticking with my prediction that the tax story is going to minimal damage to Trump. He'll still be within the margin of error in many polls a week from now.


AllieG said...

Morning Joe is indicative of nothing but the biases of the shallow nitwits who host it. Again, I think the idea Trump lost a billion bucks in one year is more damaging than the tax thing, but saying "Yeah, I'm one of the rich guys who screwed you over, and that's why I'm the perfect guy to end those practices" has an obvious logic gap.
Don't overthink this. The basis of Trump's appeal is "white men rule." It has no connection to policy whatsoever. Ohio is his best big state because it's increasingly white, old, less affluent and losing people. Anyplace where young people have little future is Trump territory.

Victor said...

The Bonfire of the Derpities!

Well, I guess the message came from up on high, to make this a closer horse race!

Not that these feckin' eedjit's couldn't think that up themselves. And maybe did. After all, the all want a "Good doggie," from the sociopaths higher up on the corporate media chain.

Redleg99 said...

I saw that segment this morning and had to change channels before my anger at those two vapid twits would lead to throwing the remote through the TV.

AllieG said...

Why do so many liberals and leftists bother to turn on "Morning Joe"? The rest of the country doesn't. Their ratings are awful. Their job is simply to advance the political interests of the top management of Comcast Corp.

Gene O'Neil said...

Dog bites man! The loss of huge amounts being used to game the IRS system is standard operating procedure. The surprise would be if Trump or for that matter anyone, didn't use the holes in the system to lower taxes. Trump is not the issue here; it's the system made by the rich for the rich to take advantage of the IRS code, not that he take advantage of it.
The media may think they have the story. Hopefully they won't settle for this. There is more in his tax returns than this.
Using losses to lower future taxes is just good business.

homelessonthehighdesert said...

Back in the bad old days of cathoid ray monitors televisions made such a satisfyingly loud implosion when you shot them, often louder than the pistol shot itself. These days these newfangled flat screens just keep working. It sucks, I tell you, it just sucks.

Why is Mika grinning like a cheshire cat?

Ten Bears

Plebeian said...

Yes and no, polls do tighten, so that is to be expected. Either party has a floor of 40-45 percent, so we rarely see a blowout.Donald's problem is the drip, drip, drip of unfavorable aspects of the man that are starting to gel in the public's perception.

At some point you wonder he has got to stop the bleeding and climb back into the ring and present himself as a viable candidate. Each rage induced tweet he sends out just adds to the perception that, that is not going to happen any time soon.

flipyrwhig said...

It really is amazing that political punditry is _so_ vapid that their response to every story boils down to "[POLITICIAN] seemed/didn't seem honest in reacting to it" or "[POLITICIAN] seemed/didn't seem honest TO HYPOTHETICAL VOTERS I IMAGINE in reacting to it." Because they don't. know. a. fucking. thing. about. anything.

Aimai said...

Yeah, no. The electorate is divided into Trumpers who will never be persuaded to vote against him because, as Mika correctly says, "he's a feeling...an emotion" to them. And as for the rest of the electorate: Some sliver of them will never vote for Hillary because they are 1) already republicans or 2) not really political and they vote for "the person" and not the party. Everyone else will vote a straight party line ticket. What Trump's fans on TV says doesn't matter at all at this point. They are just bloviating--how many actual voters watch their crap? ITs a vanishingly small percentage of the voting public. I'd guess its even a smaller number of the votes that we actually need: millennials, African Americans, and Hispanic voters. Do you think they give a flying fuck what Joe and Mika say? Come on! There is no point getting our panties in a twist over angry white voters. They are stupid and spiteful and they are voting for Trump for that reason. Propaganda is irrelevant at this point: its all going to be down to GOTV.

Dark Avenger said...

He may have lost the Cuban vote in Florida, whatever disagreements the Old Guard have with the current Administration, Trump's attempt to do business with the man who refers to them as gusanos(worms) is an irreversible mistake, as far as they're concerned.

Yastreblyansky said...

@aimai MSNBC August claimed Total Day (Mon-Sun): 652,000 Total Viewers / 165,000 Ages 25-54, CNN very close, and all kinds of overwhelmed PR language about how huge this is. So you're right, it's less than huge. That is really not a significant figure, especially since half of them are in my Twitter feed hate watching, as Allie notes, or Ten Bears with an actual gun aimed at the screen.

@Steve, I'm amazed at that bit of dialogue between Barnicle and Brzezinski, in the first place at a Palin or Trump level of semantic incoherence, and then at the bald lies about Clinton.

KenRight said...

Far Leftists Rally to Trump


Paul Coppock said...

People like Trump don't just work the tax code, they write it.

homelessonthehighdesert said...

I'm kinda stuck with it, Yas, my contribution to the covert care of an eighty year old not quite Alzheimerd family member: the morning shift, 5 to 9. I'm generally reading and mostly tune it out. Some things catch my attention.

rclz said...

I never used to watched MJ but these days I peak in now and when Trump has done some really deplorable things because they do spend time bashing him some and I feel such glee to listen to the right knock their own candidate. This morning was just rediculous. I dont now how much his not paying tax will matter as him losing, what close to a billion dollars? Theres your story. Although Mika's concern trolling kind makes me want to scream.

Same with Commontary magazine's podcast. John podhoretz has been going on for months how terrible Trump is for the Republican party and the country. Granted they never say anything good about Hillary but the disgust with Trump makes up for it. You have no idea how many never Trump republicans I'm following just for the schadenfude.

Yastreblyansky said...

Ten Bears I wouldn't be entitled to criticize you anyway given the amount of time I've spent on David Fucking Brooks over the last five years. When my mom was that age it was CNN. But it is funny to think of Scarborough sitting there blandly unaware that half his audience is mentally throwing pies in his face or wishing he'd explode on camera..