If you're not following the #TrumpInCuba right now, let me fill you in. Newsweek's cover story today is all about how Trump, in 1998 violated the US embargo on Cuba and spent $68K on a trip to assess the logistics of building a casino and resort there (perhaps not personally, but his company). He back channeled through a consulting firm to make it look like it was a charity thing, but well, Trump doesn't do charity stuff--so why anyone would believe that. . . is beyond me.
Kurt Eichenwald is the author of the story and is a credible writer with a track record of fearlessness and factual accuracy. He's really trying to do his job, find out how a journalist, in an age which rewards sensationalism rather than fact, can still make a difference.
Within 15 minutes of the story breaking on Rachel Maddow's show, Newsweek received calls from Trump's lawyers claiming the magazine had no proof or corroborated evidence to support the claims. In response Newsweek offered to publish the offending documents online. Well played, Newsweek, well played.
This story could not have broken at a more opportune time for Hillary Clinton. After her success in the first debate she has seen an upswing, but Trump hasn't seen the drop off some pundits expected as the Trump base felt he had showed well for himself in the debate by interrupting Clinton and trying to bully the conversation. But this story will surely be a hit against the Trump camp, especially in Florida, a key state he needs to win.
In response to the story Trump supporters have taken to social media, flooding outlets with conspiracy accusations aimed at Clinton, a common tactic they've employed before.
While this Newsweek piece is certainly damning, who knows if it will actually change fervent Trump supporter's minds. My guess is that it will not. Too many of them will reject the article as "liberal media," despite the fact that the article is corroborated with hard evidence and credible sources. But can we expect anything less from a camp that has deflected fact as conspiracy and accepted conspiracy as fact?
Yesterday I wrote about the online polls that show who won the debate. I wrote about how fervent Trump supports may try to flood the online polls on news sites to give the impression that Trump won the debate.
About midday yesterday I read an article about just this. Not only were many Trump supporters flooding the snap polls to give the impression that Trump won, but there were actually Reddit threads dedicated to how to take advantage of these polls and vote more than once.
Today a memo from the Fox New VP was leaked to Business Insider that touched on the online snap polls. It explained how snap polls were not scientific, were not a measurment of the actual electorate because anyone anywhere in the world could vote, and if they want to go to the trouble, they could vote more than once. Furthermore the Fox VP claimed that these online snap polls were not up to the journalistic standards Fox News prides itself on--which seemed oxymoronic to me, but there you have it. The reason the memo was even written was because a collection of Fox News reporters were using these unscientific polls as proof Trump had won the debate, and most of them didn't even mention that these polls were unscientific and had no checks or rules to make sure they weren't gamed.
I find it really interesting that Trump supporters who say he won, then game polls to prove it. If Trump had won, they wouldn't need to game polls. But that's not how this election cycle has worked. Because now, if you don't like what someone is saying, well, you can just create your own ideas and validate them in your own echo chamber.
Yesterday I spent way too much time worrying about the first presidential debate. I needn't have worried. It went, I think, about as well for Clinton as it could have. Despite the fact that #TrumpWon is trending on twitter, and many of the online "win" polls say Trump did in fact win, I don't know if this reflects the broader voter base, and I'll tell you why.
It's no secret that Donald Trump fans are, if nothing else, very loud. Win polls get taken over by the loudest, most fervent base. Just look at any off season sport poll with a team that has a die hard fan base. The Patriots jump to mind, as do the Yankees, Red Sox, etc. Those who have invested so much into their team, right now, a team being Trump, actively rushes out to vote on the poles to say who's won. This gets into tribalism is a big way, and politics are no different, and while I certainly have an outcome in mind that would be better for the United States, I flatter myself that I am more objective than many Trump supporters. So, without further ado. . .
Hillary Clinton has not stirred up a most fervent voter base, but it does seem to me that she will win because, while Trump has a fervent base, he has not reached out enough to minorities, women, and a broader electorate. While Hillary doesn't have a base willing to jump on all the different websites and vote in win polls, I think she does have the voters who watched the debate, and said, "oh, well. That was pretty crazy, and I like Clinton maybe a little more than I thought." And think Trump supporters would likely feel the same way about their candidate as well. The difference being, those people who are lukewarm on Clinton don't visit the different news network websites and vote in win polls. They just reserve their vote for Nov 8th.
I know what many people, specifically people on the alt-right, may say. "You're making excuses." Maybe. But the truth is we won't know until Nov 8th. However, I think for those voters on the fence about this election Clinton did more to give them a reason to vote for her, while Trump seemed to contradict proven facts and the record time and again. His Stop and Frisk argument with Lester Holt didn't help either in courting minorities, and anyone who needed a reason NOT to vote for him was given it when he admitted to the fact he pays no federal income tax. while making over half billion dollars a year. That doesn't endear me to someone when I live paycheck to paycheck. While much of what Trump said will appeal to his base, that base is ultimately not enough to win him the election. I think he would have done better to give a little ground and court a wider audience.