In last night’s debate with Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump refused to say whether he would accept the results of the election. “I will look at it at the time,” he said. “I will keep you in suspense.” Let us take a moment to consider the ego that assumes the whole country would wait, in suspense, for him to ratify the president we voted for. Now that we’re done with that, let’s move on to disgust. It is disgusting for a major-party candidate to tell America, with no evidence, that its election is rigged. Trump is yelling “fire” in a crowded theater, but on a larger and potentially more destructive scale. Republicans who have not done so already should withdraw their endorsements of him.
Rep. Ryan Zinke (R–MT) is in a position to do that at very little cost. A recent Lee Newspapers poll finds him 13 points ahead of his opponent, Denise Juneau. It seems unlikely that many of his supporters find him objectionable but are voting for him because he endorsed Trump. Rescinding his endorsement would be an act of conscience in keeping with his stated commitment to defending American democracy and values. You can read all about it in this week’s column for the Missoula Independent. We’ll be back tomorrow with Friday links!
Expressions any facial-recognition software would call smiles
Last night’s debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton was less a war of words than a long disagreement over whether they mean anything. “It’s all words,” Trump said early on. “It’s all sound bites.” He interrupted often, but it was usually just to say “wrong” or “no.” One of Clinton’s claims he so denied was that he had called climate change a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese to hurt American manufacturing—which of course he had:
That’s not a screenshot; it’s embedded. The tweet is still up, despite the false and increasingly popular rumor that his campaign deleted it during the debate. Even Chris Hayes of MSNBC bought into it last night, although he apologized this morning. Like all the best hoaxes, this is one we want to believe.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
Normally Combat! blog does not stoop to publishing on federal holidays, and today our great nation honors its longest-armed and woodiest-toothed presidents. But this weekend was so exciting that one must remark. On Saturday, the Republican candidates tore into one another like a sack of weasels, raising the question of which one of these men, exactly, could lead his party through its most fractious historical moment since the Grant administration. Will Trump unite monied interests, neoconservative hawks and alienated tea party voters with his platform of turning red and calling people losers? Maybe the GOP will rally behind Ted Cruz, the most hated man in the Senate. Your fallback option to heal the party is Marco Rubio, who would like to dispense once and for all with this idea that Obama SYNTAX ERR 403 REBOOT? Y/N. Meanwhile, Jeb is betting on the overwhelming popularity of his brother. The question of who might win this contest of undesirables seemed academic until Saturday, when Antonin Scalia was found dead at a west Texas resort.
Nice to see Frank and Luanne back together
Well, that was fast: The Combat! blog team is pleased to announce the return of the comments section, after literally several of you wrote in to say you wanted it back. The people have spoken, and they will continue to speak in a designated protest zone under each post. You can all go back to threatening my brother and making in-jokes about SAT tutoring there, while posts themselves will remain the exclusive province of my ill-considered rantings. Today is Friday, and policy is for the people to respond to but not, you know, make. Won’t you gather torches and pitchforks with me?
Three people who could become president and Carly Fiorina
About an hour into last night’s Republican debate, Ohio Governor John Kasich excoriated Donald Trump’s mass-deportation plan, calling the idea that we might deport 11 million undocumented immigrants “not an adult argument.” We have to do it,” Trump replied. “We have to.” But how would he do it? Once he had removed the immigrants from their homes, would he put them in camps while he determined their countries of origin? Or would he just deport them all—Guatemalans, Uighur Chinese, Nigerians, French—to Mexico? Will the deported immigrants fly commercial, or will there be some kind of train? These are the questions no one asked at the fourth GOP debate, while we waited for a real candidate to take the stage. But this is it. These vague, impossible ideas are not ciphers for real policy different Republicans will tell us about later. There is no one behind the curtain.