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Hey Julian Assange: Instead of gossiping about Hillary’s emails, why don’t you get Trump’s taxes?

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Trump has had such an awful week that I hardly have to write about him to make people loathe him. This latest smear of PTSD vets is right up (or, more correctly, down) there with his insults to John McCain, Gold Star mothers and other military families. But why should anyone be surprised? Donald Trump thrives on insults. It’s his lingua franca, the kind of trash talk he’s always resorted to to put down his “enemies.”

We’ve all known bullies like him, haven’t we? Can you imagine young Donald Trump, what an asshole he must have been? Born to a multi-millionaire father, sent to private schools where bad behavior was tolerated if not encouraged, Donald must have been a piece of work. Normal parents would have restrained his tendencies to brag and bully. I have known a lot of really rich people in my life, due to my former job as a famous wine critic, and I’ve known their children, too. I’ve known rich kids who were entitled schmucks, and rich kids who were wonderful, spiritual human beings, and believe me, Donald Trump was never a wonderful, spiritual human being. He seems like the kind of kid who burnt insects with matches and taunted girls for being “ugly” and who socked weak, little kids because he could get away with it. And his sons, those endangered-species killing neer-do-wells, are of the same ilk.

I wonder what it’s like to be a Republican who still possesses a shred of decency, to have to support this horrible person. Paul Ryan, John McCain, how must they feel? I may not agree with them on most issues, but they’ve shown themselves to be fundamentally decent human beings. They have to be appalled by Trump. Why don’t we see them denouncing him? Why don’t they hold onto whatever moral fiber they still have and tell us they’d rather lose this election to a Democrat than have to stand behind the worst presidential candidate in Republican history? This is something they’re going to have to explain someday, especially after Trump is crushed in the general election—as he will be—and more ugliness about him emerges.

By the way, Trump is now claiming that he “understands tax law better than anyone” (because he took advantage of loopholes so frequently), and so he will be able to “fix it.” Does anyone believe that? Trump is able to fix the tax code for ordinary workers better than Elizabeth Warren? Wow. If you believe that, there’s a bridge in New York City I’d like to sell you.

People like Julian Assange are saying, “Wait a minute, we have a ton of awful emails about Hillary we’re going to put out.” Well, the right wing has been threatening Hillary for years, and what have they come up with? Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Why is Assange so anti-Hillary anyway? When did he join the basket of deplorables? Is he a Trump surrogate? Question for Julian Assange: Why don’t you use your hacking skills in a useful way and release Trump’s tax returns? Why have you turned so violently against the Democratic Party? I’d like to see Julian Assange’s emails. What’s his problem? I will make this prediction: whatever “super-damaging” emails he has about Hillary are going to be complete bullshit. Julian: you’ll never be pardoned, by Republicans or Democrats, so give up on your dream of returning to America—unless you’re prepared to spend a lot of time in a federal pen.

Does this mean I don’t appreciate what Wikileaks did? No, that’s not what it means. I like transparency. But I simply don’t understand why Assange is going after Hillary, and not Trump, who represents a far greater threat to world security than Hillary Clinton and the Democrats. By the way: Trump’s gaming of the tax system—which enabled him to avoid paying Federal income taxes for twenty years—is not a sign of “genius,” as the reprobate Giuliani, the about-to-be-indicated Christie and Trump himself allege. It just means he can buy himself thousand-dollar-an-hour lawyers to avoid paying his fair share. Hey, you blue collar workers in Ohio, Kentucky, Alabama, North Dakota, Idaho: You really respect this guy? Seriously? He spent the first 70 years of his life fucking you over. Now he’s on your side? Wow. I’m trying to put this delicately. Take your anger and put it in a place where you can’t possibly have any further impact on America. We are a fundamentally liberal, secular country, and if you could only think clearly, you would realize voting for Hillary is in your, and your children’s and grandchildren’s, interest.

Peggy Noonan: how a speech writer uses rhetoric to lie

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There’s a rhetorical device people use to defend an unpopular or ludicrous point of view by comparing it to its opposite and then saying that both points of view are bad. For example, on MSNBC lately, they’ve had the rightwinger, Hugh Hewitt, claiming that there are no good choices in the upcoming presidential election. Hewitt, arch-conservative Catholic Republican that he is, cannot deny Trump’s obvious lack of qualifications. So his crafty approach is to say, “They’re both terrible,” as though there were some kind of moral equivalence between them, when there really isn’t. This is a rhetorical device to distract attention from Trump’s unfitness and muddy the waters.

We saw this trick played again in the weekend’s Wall Street Journal, where the prevaricator was none other than Reagan’s second-string speechwriter, Peggy Noonan, a longtime Clinton hater. In her op-ed piece, “The Politics of ‘The Shallows,’” she uses this rhetorical device for a similar purpose: to take the heat off Trump by pretending to be calling for “fairness.” Like Hewitt, there’s no way Noonan can portray Trump’s recent behavior as anything but horrible. She knows he’s a total shambles. Yet she can’t bring herself to admit that her own Republican Party created this Frankenstein monster. So what’s a tea party columnist to do?

Turn to that old rhetorical device! Here’s how Peggy works it. First, she admits how awful Trump’s debate performance was, and how badly he’s mishandled the Miss Universe issue. But she then blames the media for reporting on it! Their “utter antagonism toward” him, she says, is simply unfair. Addressing CNN directly, she tells them to “Tell the story, ask the questions [but] give it to [people] straight…report both sides.” The constant airing of Trump’s incoherences “isn’t helping.”

Well, it’s “not helping” get Trump elected, that’s for sure. Look, when Peggy Noonan is calling for the media to be fair and honest in their reporting, you can’t help but smile. She’s pissed because “the mainstream media” are reporting on Trump’s crazy statements, his thin-skinned tweets, his bullying, his insults, instead of simply “tell[ing] the story.” How many times has Peggy Noonan been on Fox News—on Hannity, on O’Reilly, on the rest of that crowd of haters, where lies and smears of the Clintons and of the Obamas are routine red meat for the tea party? “Give it straight”? Not on Fox.

But have you ever read a Peggy Noonan column where she takes Fox to task for congenital partisanship? No, of course not. Peggy Noonan’s chastising lips are shut tight when her side of the aisle is doing the character assassination. But when her party’s candidate melts down for all the world to see, and CNN and MSNBC point it out, suddenly Peggy discovers “journalistic ethics” and wants everyone to “give it straight.” Do you see the irony? The hypocrisy? More important, do you see her rhetorical device? Here it is, broken down:

  1. The mainstream media isn’t fair.
  2. Therefore, when the media reports on anything negative about Donald Trump, you can disregard it.
  3. But when Fox reports on something negative about Hillary Clinton, you can take it to the bank!

As a strategy, it’s laughable and insulting to thinking people; and, fortunately, it isn’t working. For the past week, fivethirtyeight has continually upped Hillary’s chances of winning; as I write this (Sunday evening), they’re nearly 67 percent. They wouldn’t be that high if the media weren’t telling the American public about Miss Universe, about the bizarre 3 a.m. tweets, about Trump’s obsession with Bill Clinton’s sex life (which is curiously reminiscent of Kenneth Starr’s), about Trump’s insult of Gold Star families, about Trump’s tax evasions, his bilking small vendors, his numerous affairs and his ex-wives and girlfriends. But the media are telling us about these things, and rightfully so. And people are listening. Which drives Peggy Noonan simply, utterly mad, as she sees her nemesis, Hillary Clinton, inching ever closer towards the White House.

Trump criticizing Bill Clinton’s sex life? Bring it on!



We don’t know whether Trump himself or his surrogate deplorables will introduce Bill Clinton’s sex life into the campaign, but the latest reporting suggests that it’s coming. So desperate is the Trump camp to find something, anything to keep their candidate from tanking that they’re even willing to go “there.”

The question is, why? Trump has been married, how many times? Three. He’s admitted to adulterous affairs, which means he cheated on his ex-wives (and may be cheating on Melania, for all we know). So he’s hardly the perfect messenger to criticize anyone for sexual infidelities.

Besides, Bill Clinton was one of the most popular and beloved Presidents in recent U.S. history. Even after he was impeached by Republicans, his approval rating was an enormously high 73%, and when he left office, in early 2001, his approval rating was 65%, higher than any other departing President since Harry Truman. Even today, long after he last held office, his approval ratings hover in the mid- to high 50s. So it really doesn’t make much sense to go after Bill, does it? And besides, Hillary has enormous popular respect for the dignified way she suffered through the scandal and held her family together.

If Trump tries to get away with this trash talk himself, he’ll be roundly criticized, by the media, the public, even large segments of his own party. So who would be the lucky surrogate to get the dirty job? Giuliani? Haha. Like his idol, Trump, he’s been married three times, and any reader of the New York press knows how ugly his divorces have been, including the nasty little soap opera with wife #2, Donna Hanover. So it would be the height of ridiculousness to send Giuliani out there to criticize Bill Clinton. Besides, Giuliani was Trump’s chief coach for debate #1, and look what a fiasco that turned out to be. (There are rumors Giuliani has been relieved of that responsibility for future debates.)

Who else, then? Christie? Well, he’s apparently been happily married to the same woman, Mary Pat, for thirty years, so he passes the fidelity test. But Christie fails in other important capacities as a messenger. The people who know him best, New Jerseyans, give him historically low approval ratings, only 26% positive, and he has a gigantic albatross circling around his neck: Bridgegate. His coverup is rapidly unraveling, as his former aides turn against him hoping to escape major prison time for themselves. It would be rather embarrassing for the Trump camp to keep Christie on in a visible role, especially if an indictment comes in, as it easily might. Even if Christie could overcome these negatives, he’s not liked by the public at large. His run for the presidency was a joke: Americans took a look, and decided: No.

There’s always Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager and chief representative on television. She’s apparently happily married—good news there—but there is a hitch: her husband, a lawyer named George T. Conway III, was a top advisor to—guess who?—Paula Jones, one of Bill Clinton’s alleged paramours. The unfortunate Ms. Jones was utilized by rightwing Christian fundamentalist groups that wanted to destroy Bill Clinton. George T. Conway III was, in other words, an early signer-on to the vast rightwing conspiracy that tried, and failed, to take the Clintons down. To have been a part of that cabal, which has been roundly been rejected by the American people, really makes George T. Conway III radioactive, and by extension, his wife, too. All Hillary has to do is remind people that Kellyanne’s husband was one of those semen-sniffing rightwingers who tried to destroy her popular husband. The public will hate him.

So who else could do the dirty deed? Pence? He’s likeable enough, was an altar boy, and apparently has a solid marriage. But if Trump were to send Pence out there on a smut-spreading mission, his likeability would tank. The American people don’t like nastiness. Besides, Hillary’s supporters could always counter with Pence’s vicious homophobia.

There’s one more possibility: Gingrich. Now, I know he gives most of you the creeps—me too—but he was already out there yesterday, dropping hints. I, personally, would love it if Newt takes on this job, because he will get slammed so hard by everyone, he won’t know what hit him. Gingrich is yet another three-time husband, and the story about how he visited his first wife, who was in the hospital with cancer, to demand a divorce so he could marry wife #2 (whom he subsequently divorced for wife #3), has followed him for years. Again, Gingrich is just about the worst messenger for this kind of smut-peddling that Trump could find.

Look, voters have signaled that they don’t give a damn about Bill Clinton’s sex life. They made that decision twenty years ago, and today’s younger voters in particular don’t care what he did. Trump has absolutely nothing to gain from this stupidity. But then, without viable alternatives, sinking in the polls, he is grasping at straws, hoping against hope he can salvage what’s left of his reputation. He can’t. He can only further ruin it.

The rightwing media wants birtherism to go away as an issue. Gee, I wonder why



Hugh Hewitt is a bombastic rightwing talk show host, so rightwing in fact that he is pro-Trump even though Trump tore him a new one last year by calling him “a third rate radio announcer,” thus proving that, like a broken clock, even Donald Trump can occasionally be right. For some bizarre reason (perhaps because NBC is owned by the most hated corporation in America, Comcast), MSNBC has chosen to make Hewitt a regular commentator on their news segments. I think this is because Hewitt—handsome, well-groomed, articulate—has created a reputation for himself, quite falsely, as an independent analyst, which, as I say, is entirely incorrect, because he’s a tea party propagandist. But he can be clever, in that he couches his real views within statements that, taken on their face, can seem objectively fair. But advancing a rightwing agenda is always his hidden aim.

For example, the other day, following Trump’s fiasco during Monday’s debate, Hewitt told one of MSNBC’s hosts, who had asked him to give advice for the next debate (and I paraphrase): “The hosts of the next debate should move beyond birtherism and ask Trump about real issues, like the economy, trade and terrorism. Nobody cares about birtherism anymore.”

Well, when I heard this piece of propaganda, which reminded me of the old Soviet-style disinformation campaigns, I just about upchucked. Birtherism should be one of the primary issues of this campaign, and every future debate moderator should follow Lester Holt’s example and grill Trump about it, over and over and over, not allowing him to lie or insult his way out of it. Because birtherism is at the heart of Trump’s character, his vile personality, his intellectual dishonesty, and his utter unfitness to be President of the United States of America.

In case you’ve been on Mars for the last seven years, Donald Trump was the lead “birther” in America. He insisted, as recently as last January, that Obama was born in Kenya, is not a U.S. citizen, and that a vast leftwing conspiracy has kept Americans from learning the truth. A few weeks ago, his new campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway—a political hack, but a smart one—convinced him, against his better judgment, that he had to admit Obama is an American. So Trump did, grudgingly, and evidently in the hope that he can now put his outrageous lie behind him. Unfortunately (for Trump), Lester Holt wouldn’t let him.

I salute Mr. Holt. For the past year, no American journalist has pressed Trump on the birther issue, much to their shame. Why is Trump’s birtherism so important? Because by promulgating this falsehood, this massive smear against the President of the United States, this frontal assault on reality, we can conclude about Trump only one of two things: either that he is so willfully stupid and biased that he—unlike the rest of us—actually believed Obama was not a citizen, or that Trump knew full well that Obama was born in America, but deliberately chose to lie about it, because he knew that there are millions of haters who are so racist and stupid—the “basket of deplorables”—that they would believe him, and more: that they would form the vanguard of a movement to elevate him to the White House.

We can’t know which of those is true—whether Trump is willfully stupid, or the biggest liar in the history of American politics. What we can know is that, either way, the man is mentally, morally and intellectually incompetent to hold power. A normal human being never would have gone down the birther road to begin with. After Obama produced his birth certificate, in April, 2011, a normal person would have apologized for being wrong, and moved on.

But Donald Trump is not a normal person. Not being a clinical psychologist, I cannot define what his mental problems are. Narcissism, certainly. A pathological liar, for sure. Perhaps a mild sociopath. Or just suffering from an older white man’s resentments at the colorization of America. But whatever the diagnosis is, you know, I know, and even most of his supporters know that there’s something wrong inside him—dreadfully wrong, troublingly wrong. Anyone can make a mistake. Anyone can come to a wrong conclusion despite evidence to the contrary. But to so blatantly make such an egregiously false statement, for so long, even after Obama produced the birth certificate, even when his fellow Republicans were embarrassed by Trump’s lies, even when Trump’s own campaign staff rued the day their man volunteered to lead the birther movement—to have persisted in such insanity for so long obviously is a complete disqualifier for Trump to hold office.

Hugh Hewitt knows all this. And he doesn’t care. Through his methodology—devious, obfuscating, misleading—he hopes to distract opinion-makers away from Trump’s dangerousness. All Hewitt cares about is getting a Republican in the White House. Which Republican doesn’t matter. If that Republican is thoroughly without a moral compass, Hugh Hewitt doesn’t give a damn, presumably because Hugh Hewitt is himself amoral. If that Republican is in many respects insane, Hugh Hewitt couldn’t care less. And so, when this Limbaugh wannabe tells future debate moderators to “move past the birther thing,” their red alerts should go off with loud sirens and klaxons.

No! Don’t listen to Hugh Hewitt, who wants Trump’s birtherism to go away because he knows it is lethal to his candidacy. Journalists must keep pressing Trump on this. Why did it take him five years to acknowledge Obama is an American? Why will he not apologize for lying to the American people for years? This goes straight to the heart of Trump’s character, and the moderators for the Oct. 9 debate—Martha Raddatz of ABC and Anderson Cooper of CNN—really need to hear from us on this. I don’t know anything about Ms. Raddatz because I never watch ABC News. As for Mr. Cooper, he seems to care more about the way his biceps flex in a tight black T-shirt than about being a real journalist. I hope both of them will do the right thing, if for no other reason than to preserve their reputations, or what’s left of them, and not let themselves suffer the embarrassment that Matt Lauer did, when he pitifully revealed himself to be nothing more than a T.V. celebrity stooge.

The dog that didn’t bark: Why Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal didn’t pick a debate winner. Plus: Trump’s tax plan



Not only did Tuesday’s WSJ not say who won, they didn’t even mention the debate in their editorials or in opinion pieces. It’s like the historic Clinton-Trump smackdown never happened.

Why the silence? Well, the answer is obvious: Hillary crushed Trump, and not even the WSJ’s most violent attack dogs dared claim otherwise. So they chose to keep it on the DL. The only political “journalist” I know of who claimed Trump won was the San Francisco Chronicle’s rightwing second-rater, Debra J. Saunders, the most locally-detested Big City columnist in the country.

Now, onto taxes!

The most telling point of Monday’s debate was when Trump declared, with that little self-satisfied smirk we’ve come to know so well, that not paying any federal income taxes, despite the billionaire status he brags about, “makes me smart.”

Well, that’s another lie from Melania’s husband. It doesn’t make him “smart.” It just means he’s another rich guy who can afford to hire expensive tax lawyers, who find loopholes for their clients to wiggle out of paying their fair share—loopholes that, not so coincidentally, were created by Republican lawmakers who personally benefit from campaign contributions by the very people they help to avoid paying taxes!

Now, the rich like to point out statistics showing that they actually pay the lion’s share of all taxes collected by the Federal government. For example, the newspaper of record of the rich—the Wall Street Journal—routinely publishes studies like this, stating that the “Top 20% of Earners Pay 84% of Income Tax.” By using figures like this, the Wall Street Journal attempts to shift resentment by ordinary middle-class Americans away from tax-dodging billionaires onto “the bottom 20% [who] get paid by Uncle Sam.”

That’s the good old-fashioned plutocratic way: use smoke and mirrors to make the middle class think that their real economic enemy isn’t tax-evading billionaires who rig the system, but poor people.

Republicans always have played into this propaganda; Donald Trump simply has exploited it to heretofore unseen heights. But let’s break it down. According to Americans for Tax Fairness, the richest Americans have been making more money, but paying less taxes, for the last fifty years. “The richest 1% of Americans own 35% of the nation’s wealth,” and yet the rate at which they’re taxed has been dropping like a stone: 91% in the 1950s, a paltry 43.4% today. And yet Trump is now calling for even further reductions in taxes for the ultra-wealthy. “I’m going to cut taxes big league,” he said in Monday’s debate (which must have been music to Rupert Murdoch’s ears). Now, where have we heard that before? From Ronald Reagan, of course, who famously instituted the Republicans’ practice of cutting taxes on the rich, which proved to have a disastrous impact on the deficit. Even Forbes magazine—the “capitalist tool”—said “The numbers don’t lie—why lowering taxes for the rich no longer works to grow the economy.” The Reagan deficits were awful, but led to an even greater and more disruptive consequence: income inequality, which is now the worst in the nation’s history. In this fascinating study, from the well-regarded (and hardly liberal) Financial Times, we see the statistics in stark horror: the poor getting poorer, the rich getting richer, the middle class getting squeezed. The result: Inequality in income and wealth is a troubling headwind for the American economy, it’s getting worse, and it’s a real danger looming in our political future.”

And now here comes Donald J. Trump, the billionaire squire of Mar-a-Lago, defending this Republican policy of cutting taxes for his class, and promising to further cut taxes on his friends and neighbors in Palm Beach and Trump Tower. He could not get away with such nonsense, of course, if so many Americans did not vote against their own self-interests. But they do, blinded by religious or emotional malarkey and goaded by Republicans who exploit every resentment, every fear people have. It used to be Communists that Republicans utilized to make Americans afraid. When the Cold War ended and Communism could no longer be used as a straw man, Republicans went after their traditional scapegoats: the poor, as exemplified by Reagan’s “welfare queens” and George H.W. Bush’s use of Willie Horton to remind white people how terrified they were of blacks. Sept. 11 gave Republicans a new focus of fear: Muslims, a tool Trump has aggressively exploited. So for Republicans, it’s always the same: Protect their own kind, the ultra-rich, by terrifying Americans and blaming the middle class’s economic stresses on anything and everything, except the real cause: a gamed tax system that lowers taxes on corporations and billionaires, and that makes the rest of us pay the nation’s bills.

Pissed off at black people? You’ll probably vote for Trump



If Trump wins this thing it will be in large part because of the way white and Asian voters interpret the state of black America.

Yesterday there was a Facebook video making the rounds. It was of a rather angry middle-aged white woman, who said she was “in real estate,” decrying the condition of black people. Her more salient quote (I paraphrase): “If you’re black and haven’t advanced in America during the last 50 years, there’s something wrong with you.” She pointed out the dysfunction in the African-American community: babies having babies, babies born out of wedlock, the failure of young people to complete their educations, the drug addiction, the normalization of crime and asocial behavior, etc. etc. For these reasons, the woman said she was voting for Trump because “He can turn it around.”

We have to be clear here and separate out fact from fiction. (1) It is a fact that there is an enormous amount of dysfunction in the black community, of the type the woman described. (I myself see it every day, living in downtown Oakland.) (2) It is a fact that lots of white people are angered, mystified and terrified by what they perceive as a willful disregard of the conventional rules of society by black people, and an almost masochistic indulgence in self-defeating behavior. (3) It is a fact that this has been central to Trump’s messaging, and to his appeal.

If anyone denies any of these three facts, he or she is delusional, or “lying to themselves” as Nate Silver put it the other day.

So much for facts, upon which we ought to all be in agreement. Now we get to unquantifiable hypotheticals. What should we do about the state of black America? This is where things break down. Every American president at least since Thomas Jefferson has grappled with this problem. Not one of them has ever been able to solve it. Lyndon Johnson most famously applied the full power and resources of the Federal government to the cause, but as we see around us today, while there is a vast middle class of African-Americans, as well as a black president (whom I revere), there remains a huge black underclass. Just as that white woman is worried about it, so should we all worry.

Hlllary Clinton has no particular credibility here. She offers sympathy to black people and claims to support Black Lives Matter, and of course she (and Bill) have a long history of being supportive of black people (they used to call Bill “the first black president”). But beyond that, her views either are undeveloped, or she matter-of-factly believes that there’s not much the government can do to fix a problem that is essentially behavioral in nature. However, since her election depends on black people getting out and voting, she doesn’t really want to say anything that will alienate them.

White voters, like the real estate lady, hear Clinton’s reticence, and it annoys them. They believe that they perceive reality when they point out black dysfunction, and they believe that Clinton sees the same things, but is afraid to admit it. Trump, on the other hand, is “the guy who speaks his mind.” He “says it like it is.” He “says things everybody is thinking but is afraid to voice.” When Democrats accuse Trump of racism, it actually plays into his hands. Put yourself in the shoes of the white real estate lady. She doesn’t see herself as racist. She sees herself as a “behaviorist.” There are certain behaviors she resents because they are destructive to our society. She resents the implication she has something against black people purely and simply due to the color of their skin. She has something against the way some black people behave. She wishes for them to change that behavior. She believes that Hillary Clinton cannot solve a problem that she (Hillary) doesn’t even perceive, or is unwilling to admit exists. Donald Trump on the other hand has no problem admitting its existence. He also has the will power to resolve it. Therefore, she is voting for him.

Here’s what I think. Donald Trump is correct to point out the dysfunction, and the Democratic establishment by and large is wrong to deny it. Having said that, we have to play out in our imaginations how Trump’s philosophy would actually unwind if he is elected. This is where I think Hillary wins the argument. I can see no way for Trump’s anger, and the anger of his followers like the real estate lady, to resolve anything. How would that fix stuff, anyway? If you have a U.S. President, backed by an American Congress and a majority of American voters, angrily denouncing the black community, but offering no solutions except for platitudinous pieties that both parties agree on (stay in school, work hard, raise your children right), then you are simply going to raise the tension in the black community by an enormous degree. What will Trump do? Let’s say he finds money to hire tens of thousands more cops for our crime-plagued cities like Chicago, Baltimore, Oakland, Atlanta. What does that accomplish? More confrontations. More street deaths. More anger. It feeds on itself, like the wildfires that sweep through California at this time of year. You cannot pit the U.S. government against a sizable portion of the American people in a confrontational way and expect stability. This is the stuff riots and, eventually, the breakdown of order feeds off.

We’re supposed to believe that Trump—a greedy con-man, who has shown not the slightest sign of caring about black issues in his seventy years on this earth–suddenly has seen the light on the road to Damascus. That is not only not a convincing thesis, it’s an insult to rational minds. Hillary may not have specific solutions—do you? Does anyone?–but at least she gives the impression of thoughtful caring. Her body language is softer, her message more conciliatory, her attitude more embracing than anything that has ever emanated from any Republican politician. This may be of cold comfort to the real estate lady, who wants things to change Now! and who has seen decades of the rhetoric of harmony achieve so little. But really, when you think about it, what are her options? What are ours? The real estate lady may wish to demand that black people clean up their act, but obviously her demand has no impact whatsoever on the real world. It may make her feel better to vote for Trump, whose hard line she believes, sans proof, will work a miracle. But voting for Trump in the hope he will “solve” America’s race problem is naïve, will prove to be ineffective, and may eventually be severely destabilizing.

Well, the white lady replies, destabilization is exactly what Trump intends to do. Shake things up, from the top down. Make a revolution. The status quo isn’t working for anyone, she says: not her, not whites like her, not black people. Therefore, let’s sweep away the status quo and try something new.

And this is the crossroads at which this election stands. My own feeling is that America has made and is making steady progress in race relations. It’s not far enough or fast enough for anyone: conservatives, liberals, blacks, whites. Everybody wishes we could somehow leapfrog over the speed bumps and get this thing done.

But we can’t. That’s not how history works. “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” The question voters like the real estate lady have before them in this election is, do we continue slow but steady progress, as it has existed under both Republican and Democratic administrations? Or do we gamble everything on a person whose mental instability, narcissism, and mendacity continue to be displayed in awful blatancy? I personally prefer the former approach, which is why I’m supporting Hillary Clinton. If there are enough voters out there like the real estate lady to actually elect Trump president, I think we’re in for a horrendous future. They will regret the day they voted, and so will we all.

From the Diary of Kimberley Strassel



Dear Diary,

Well, I just wrote my 47th column on Hillary’s emails. They’ve all been pretty much the same—Hillary is a she-devil who did bad things and is crooked. Only I did come up with a clever new slogan: I called 2016 “the year of the Democratic email dump.”

Of course, just between me and you, Dear Diary, that’s not true. If anything, 2016 was the year of Trump. But “the year of the Democratic email dump” keeps people thinking Hillary did something wrong, and we have to keep that up, at least until the election.

God, I hate that Clinton b***h. Sometimes I myself wonder why. I don’t know, I just do. She’s so…perfect. Maybe I’m jealous? Successful career, the most successful female politician in American history, by all accounts a great mom, smart, funny, a policy wonk, rich, and she did stand by Bill’s side during Monicagate. And talk about grace under pressure! I can imagine myself, under other circumstances, liking her. But let’s face it, smearing Hillary is what they pay me for. I need this gig at the Wall Street Journal. We’re under orders, from the Murdochs on down through Baker, Blumenstein and Murray (sounds like a Wall Street lawfirm, doesn’t it, haha) to keep up the attack, and so we do, me and Rove and Henninger and Jenkins and Noonan and the rest of us op-ed junkyard dogs. Sometimes, I’ll run into one of them in the break room, and we’ll look each other in the eye and feel something like shame, or embarrassment, over how cheap and misleading our columns usually are. We never really talk about it.  It’s not something you’d actually admit. But it’s there.

Peggy is the worst, she really is. I think she’s always resented me, since I’m the only other editorial page woman, and most professionals respect me more than her! Everybody knows Peggy was just a dreary little speechwriter for Reagan—they only gave her unimportant things, like D-Day, because she couldn’t handle anything bigger—but, good Lord, she’s ridden that “I worked for Ronald Reagan” horse for thirty years like she’d been one of the Apostles. She’s also a lot older than me, which quite frankly, Diary, she resents. So we avoid each other, if at all possible. But I will say this: there’s sort of a competition between us over who can be bitchier, especially towards Hillary.

Actually, I’m pretty proud of my latest column. You know what the trick is to writing a great column about Hillary? It’s to pack as many scandals into the piece as you can, and on this one I did a great job! I not only got the emails in there, but Benghazi, Blll’s adultery and all his other baggage, Hillary’s religious beliefs (or lack of them), her campaign contributions, the high price she (and Bill) charge for speeches, the way Bill sold ambassadorships to the highest bidder, her Hollywood friends, her relationship with Anthony Weiner—in short, the entire Almanach de Gotha of horrors. Now, Dear Diary, once again between you and me, let’s be honest and admit that the Clintons haven’t done anything any other politician, including other Presidential couples, hasn’t done. But that doesn’t matter. The important thing is to stir up anger and resentment against the b***h. My therapist, Dr. Fegelin, asked me the other day if I, as a woman, ever have second thoughts about stirring up anger against Hillary because she’s a woman, and it’s really easy to make white people, especially Christians, resent women with power.

Well, in answer to Dr. Fegelin, no, I don’t have any second thoughts. I have a lot of self-respect for myself; as my husband reminds me every day, I am beautiful!


It’s true that I could use a nip-and-tuck here and there, but really, I have fabulous hair (thank you Mr. Kenneth! Muah!), and with the right makeup and lighting, I could be one of those Fox News blond glamor gals (move over Megyn Kelly!). And to tell you the truth, I wouldn’t mind that. She makes, like, what? twenty times what I make here at the Journal, and what does she have that I don’t, besides good legs? Anyhow, if I keep churning out these hit pieces on Hillary, maybe Rupert will put me on T.V. One can always hope, right?

Look, life is war. We do what we have to do to win. Besides, I’ve been at this for so long that I barely have any moral compass left. You’d be surprised how easy it is to toss your conscience overboard, Dear Diary! Conscience is a hassle, anyway, especially for a Wall Street Journal columnist. It’s so much purer, and more lucrative, to peddle hate.

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