Primaries end, now attention turns to defeating the dangerous demagogue Trump

The long primary season finally came to an end on Tuesday night with the primary in Washington, D.C. Hillary Clinton easily won with over 78% of the vote.

Screenshot from 2016-06-15 04:46:05

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders met Tuesday night to discuss the next phase of the campaign. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders Meet as Their Battle Ends:

Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders met privately for nearly two hours on Tuesday night to size each other up as they started exploring what kind of alliance they might build for the general election battle against Donald J. Trump.

Yet Mr. Sanders chose to withhold his endorsement of Mrs. Clinton, several Sanders advisers said, because he wants her to take steps to win his confidence before the Democratic convention, where his supporters expect him to speak and Clinton advisers hope he will give her his full-throated backing.

Aides to Mrs. Clinton said she had never expected his endorsement Tuesday night. A statement from the Clinton campaign after the meeting described it as “a positive discussion about their primary campaign, about unifying the party and about the dangerous threat that Donald Trump poses to our nation.”

They discussed issues like raising wages and reducing college costs, and “agreed to continue working on their shared agenda, including through the platform development process for the upcoming Democratic National Convention.”

The Sanders campaign released a nearly identical statement, though it emphasized that the two candidates also spoke about “how best to bring more people into the political process” — a reflection of the strong support for Mr. Sanders among young people and independents.

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Mrs. Clinton, who became the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee last week, spent the meeting trying to deduce what it would take to earn Mr. Sanders’s endorsement and whether he would seek policy concessions or political promises, several advisers said. Mr. Sanders focused on gauging the depth of Mrs. Clinton’s commitment to progressive goals like a higher minimum wage and lower financial burdens on college students, and to making the Democratic nomination process more open in the future.

The chemistry between the two candidates was strained, in part, because Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Sanders had not had any real chances to air grievances or blow off steam with each other away from the television cameras during their 14-month fight for the nomination.

Mrs. Clinton had a few such moments with Barack Obama before they sat down for their own post-nomination tête-à-tête in 2008, which made it a little easier for them to come together, unite their party and win that November.

In a sign that they are still adjusting to each other, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Sanders were joined in their meeting by Jane Sanders, Mr. Sanders’s wife; Jeff Weaver, his campaign manager; John D. Podesta, Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman; and Robby Mook, her campaign manager.

Two advisers to Mr. Sanders said he thought Mrs. Clinton had said many of the right things at the meeting, but described him as concerned that she might embrace more politically moderate positions later if she thinks it necessary to win states like Florida, Ohio and Virginia.

The advisers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the campaign had not authorized them to speak, said Mr. Sanders felt no pressure to endorse Mrs. Clinton quickly. And he has leverage: He accrued about 12 million votes and nearly 1,900 delegates, and in a New York Times/CBS News poll last month, 28 percent of his supporters said they would not vote for Mrs. Clinton if she was the Democratic nominee. Mrs. Clinton picked up nearly 16 million votes and 2,800 delegates.

Whether Mr. Sanders endorses her enthusiastically and campaigns for her, or recognizes her as the nominee but otherwise withholds his blessing, is a significant concern for some Clinton advisers. Others in her campaign think that Democrats will ultimately unite because the possibility of a Trump victory is too great to ignore.

Negative views of Donald Trump have surged to their highest level of the 2016 campaign, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. The poll finds 70 percent of Americans have an unfavorable view of Trump, including a 56 percent majority who feel this way “strongly.” Negative ratings of Trump are up 10 percentage points from last month to their highest point since he announced his candidacy last summer, nearly reaching the level seen before his campaign began (71 percent). The survey was conducted Wednesday through Sunday among a random national sample of U.S. adults, coming after last week’s primary contests, but with the large majority of interviews completed before Sunday’s massacre at an Orlando club. Negative views of Trump just hit a new campaign high: 7 in 10 Americans.

Top Republicans joined with President Obama and other Democrats Tuesday in sharply condemning Donald Trump’s reaction to the nightclub massacre in Orlando, decrying his anti-Muslim rhetoric and his questioning of Obama’s allegiances as divisive and out of step with America’s values. Republicans join Obama in rebuking Trump:

Trump — who just a week ago signaled an intent to snap his campaign into a more measured tone for the general election — showed no sign of backing down from his suggestions that Obama was somehow connected to or sympathetic with terrorists, telling the Associated Press that the president “continues to prioritize our enemy” over Americans.

In separate appearances, both Obama and his potential successor, likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, blasted Trump’s proposal to ban foreign Muslims from the United States as dangerous and contrary to the nation’s traditions.

A visibly angry Obama also dismissed Trump’s repeated demands for him to use the term “radical Islam” when speaking about the Orlando shootings and other attacks. “Calling a threat by a different name does not make it go away,” Obama said. “This is a political distraction.”

Clinton described Trump’s response to Orlando as rife with “conspiracy theories” and “pathological self-congratulations.”

At a campaign event in Pittsburgh, Clinton excoriated Trump and challenged Republicans to repudiate him. Clinton said Trump — whom she called “Donald” — failed to demonstrate an ability to deliver a “calm, collected and dignified response” to the Orlando attack.

The remarkably bipartisan outcry over Trump’s positions — coming at a moment of national mourning after the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history — set off a new wave of alarm within the GOP over whether the mogul’s promised pivot to the general election would ever materialize. The rift also highlighted the enduring tensions between establishment figures who want to be more inclusive and the bulk of the party, which backs Trump’s proposed Muslim ban and has rallied around him as the presumptive nominee.

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Republicans on Capitol Hill tried to distance themselves from Trump’s comments following the terrorist attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando that killed at least 49 people. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) refused to respond to questions about Trump at his weekly news conference.

Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis.) denounced Trump for trying to rally support for his anti-Muslim policies, while others castigated Trump for the accusations he has lobbed at Obama.

“I do not think a Muslim ban is in our country’s interest,” Ryan told reporters. “I do not think it is reflective of our principles, not just as a party but as a country.” He called for “a security test, not a religious test” for immigrants.

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Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who has praised Trump at times for his willingness to shake up politics and recently met with the mogul, expressed serious unease Tuesday with how Trump responded to a national tragedy.

“Traditionally, it is a time when people rally around our country, and it’s obviously not what’s occurred, and it’s very disappointing,” Corker said.

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), a leading national security hawk, said he had “run out of adjectives” for Trump. “I don’t think he has the judgment or the temperament, the experience to deal with what we are facing,” said Graham, who does not currently support the mogul.

Graham, like other Republicans, took issue with Trump’s apparent suggestions in Monday interviews that Obama may identify with the radical Muslim terrorists. Obama “either is not tough, not smart, or he’s got something else in mind,” Trump told Fox News.

Graham said that Trump “seems to be suggesting that the president is one of ‘them.’ I find that highly offensive. I find that whole line of reasoning way off base. My problems with President Obama are his policy choices.”

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who faces a challenging reelection bid, also called Trump’s insinuations about the president “offensive.”

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Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), an Air Force major and leading House GOP voice on national security issues, broke sharply with Trump.

“I guess I appreciate Mr. Trump’s fieriness in talking about it, but you don’t do it by alienating the very people that we need, and those are moderate Muslims,” he said. “We have to use the folks that frankly are not radicalized, which is the vast majority of Muslims, to win this war.”

Nationally, 64 percent of Republican voters said in a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll that they approve of Trump’s Muslim ban — as did 45 percent of independents — while 26 percent of Democrats said they approve.

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Lanhee Chen, a respected GOP foreign policy expert who served as policy director on Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign, called Trump’s Monday speech a “huge wasted opportunity.”

“What he has said overall about foreign policy is very troubling,” said Chen, who said he has many issues with the mogul but does not consider himself part of the “Never Trump” wing of the GOP.

Chen said Trump needs to “start defining what his presidency would look like” in “more than just a few sound bites.” But he added: “I’m not holding my breath.”

1 thought on “Primaries end, now attention turns to defeating the dangerous demagogue Trump”

  1. It makes some sense for Democratic factions to come together and elect a Democratic president.
    With the passing of Antonin Scalia, there is the possibility for a Supreme Court that is not controlled by the right wing oligarchy.
    Since the addition of the court of Lewis Powell and William Rehnquist in 1971, the Supreme Court has been controlled by conservative legal ideologues. Lewis Powell set out the guidelines in the Powell Manifesto two months before he joined the Court.

    In addition to the open seat on the court, the next President may well replace Justices Ginsburg and Kennedy.

    However, as we’ve seen with the refusal to even hold hearings on Merrick Garland to replace Scalia, the Democrats will need to win four senate seats. It is very good news that Arizona is now tied in the presidential race, according to Sam Wang at Princeton Election Consortium, and that Ann Kirkpatrick has now overtaken John McCain in the senate race polls.

    The Koch brothers and other oligarchs will still spend trillions, if not on Trump, on down ballot senate and house races.

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