Thursday, June 2, 2016

No Hand-wringing Necessary: Clearly Trump Will Not Win

Since Memorial Day the frontpage of The New York Times has been a miserable place for Donald Trump.

Monday "Can Donald Trump Win? These Battleground Regions Will Decide" laid out the daunting electoral map for Trump in a general election against Hillary Clinton. Basically, the best Trump can do is capture North Carolina and Ohio. He is going to lose Florida and Virginia. And that should be it for any hopes he has of occupying the White House. Heading out West, the election turns into a rout. Hillary might even win Arizona.

Tuesday dawned with an enjoyable puncturing of Trump's acumen as a real estate tycoon. In "Donald Trump Soured on a Deal, and Hong Kong Partners Became Litigants," Farah Stockman and Keith Bradsher deconstruct a Trump boast that “I beat China all the time. I own a big chunk of the Bank of America building at 1290 Avenue of the Americas that I got from China in a war. Very valuable.”

It turns out that The Donald wooed a couple Hong Kong billionaires to bail him out when, in the 1990s, he could not make the payments on a 77-acre property known as Riverside South near Manhattan's Lincoln Center.

Trump went into partnership with the Chinese developers, Henry Cheng Kar-shun and Vincent Lo, but the relationship turned litigious a decade later when Trump tried to scuttle the sale of the property. Trump alleged that he was not consulted and could have got a higher price. He lost the suit. So the Chinese plan to use the proceeds from the sale of Riverside South to purchase Bank of America buildings in New York and San Francisco went forward with Trump as a passive investor. The properties have appreciated greatly. That's Trump's business savvy for you. He didn't win. He actually lost. But he ended up benefiting, through no fault of his own, anyway.

Wednesday's "Former Trump University Workers Call the School a ‘Lie’ and a ‘Scheme’ in Testimony," by Michael Barbaro and Steve Eder, is the most damaging frontpager of the week so far. In a response to a request from the Washington Post, the judge in a federal lawsuit against the for-profit Trump University ordered last Friday that court records be unsealed, which happened on Tuesday.

The court records show Trump University to be a shabby outfit stocked with high-pressure salesmen seeking to fleece the rubes who harbored fantasies of getting rich quick while rubbing elbows with the TV star of "The Apprentice." Basically a prequel of Trump's presidential campaign.

Today's anti-Trump frontpage offering is more conventional but nonetheless nauseatingly illuminating about how Hillary plans to best Trump now that Jerry Brown has effectively ended any hope that Bernie Sanders has of pulling off an upset on Tuesday. Amy Chozick's "Hillary Clinton to Portray Donald Trump’s Foreign Policy Positions as Dangerous" is an oddly lengthy preview (almost like we were being prepped for a state of the union address) of a speech Hillary is to deliver in San Diego today warning soccer moms (though I think now they are being called "megachurch moms") that electing Donald Trump will blow up the world.

What is revelatory about Chozick's piece is that it confirms that Hillary plans to swing to the right in order to beat Trump:
Mrs. Clinton will deliver the address on her final campaign swing before California holds its Democratic primary on Tuesday, when she is widely expected to reach the threshold of delegates needed to secure her party’s nomination. But in choosing to raise concerns about Mr. Trump’s foreign policy stances, she will be speaking to swing voters in general election battleground states who have doubts about a Trump presidency.
While Mrs. Clinton must be cautious not to alienate liberal Democrats who oppose some of her hawkish foreign policy stances, her campaign says national security could be the catalyst that drives independents and wavering Republicans to support her this fall.
Roughly 21 percent of independent voters and 32 percent of Republican voters said the most important issue this election was terrorism and national security, compared with 16 percent of Democrats, according to a Suffolk University/USA Today poll conducted last month. At the same time, 61 percent of registered voters said a Trump presidency would make America’s image in the world worse, according to the latest New York Times-CBS News poll.
“There are many Republicans concerned about this,” R. Nicholas Burns, an American ambassador to NATO during the George W. Bush administration who also served on Bill Clinton’s National Security Council, said of Mr. Trump. “They find his policy positions beyond the pale, and they’re also turned off by his vulgarity.”
To that end, the Clinton campaign and its outside advisers have embarked on an effort to reach out to prominent moderate Republicans who could endorse Mrs. Clinton, largely making the case for foreign policy sure-footedness.
Those calls have included to an aide of the 2012 Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, and to Nicholas F. Brady, who served as secretary of the Treasury under Mr. Reagan and the elder Mr. Bush, with plans to reach out to James A. Baker III, a White House chief of staff to President Ronald Reagan and secretary of state under President George Bush.
Very bad news for all those Bernie supporters looking for a reason to vote Hillary in November.

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