Close Readings: Donald Trump on the popular vote

Donald Trump makes his logical discussion face.

Donald Trump won the presidential election. It was a landslide; it was tremendous, one of the biggest votes in history. He won by every metric imaginable, except the total number of people who voted for him. In that minor regard, the popular vote, Hillary won. It doesn’t matter. She’s not going to be president, and Donald Trump is. Yet winning the electoral college when fewer Americans vote for you seems kind of like winning on a technicality. It’s like Hillary ran faster, but Trump ran the inside of the track. This issue nags at him, as evidenced by this morning’s tweet:

The message here is clear: Trump couldn’t have done better in this election, really, but he would have won the popular vote if that mattered—which it doesn’t. So the popular vote doesn’t reflect his competence, and if it did he would have done differently. Case closed? Close reading after the jump.

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Writing tip: Adding “man-” turns your complaint into a take

Women manspreading.

Yesterday, Twitter user and self-described strategic analyst Eric Garland posted a long, threaded rant about the condition of contemporary politics. It began with this tweet:

As you can see, it’s pretty popular. I came across it when it was shared by Clara Jeffery, editor of Mother Jones, who likened it to the Federalist Papers. She’s clearly the expert, but I disagree with her assessment. Garland doesn’t advance a point so much as vent his frustration. You can read the whole million-tweet thread on this Google doc, thoughtfully assembled by Libby Watson. It digresses. A wag might summarize his argument as “What is game theory?” But over at Gizmodo, Alana Hope Levinson takes issue with the <THREAD> part. Men, she admonishes, Please Stop Manthreading:

There is this thing that people (mostly men) love to do on Twitter, something other than harass women and send DMs of their half chubs. It’s called threading, and it’s one of the many things ruining my Twitter experience.

That last sentence is great, and I bet she meant it as a joke. Still, maybe it’s just because my gender requires me to think about few other problems, but I don’t like what Levinson is doing, here. You can attach “man” to any complaint about annoying public behavior and turn it into a take. Every writer knows this. But we have sworn in the darkened chambers of our society never to abuse it, the same way Masons promise not to kill anyone with a trowel.

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Friday links! Affected nonchalance edition


Just one of many faces made by a man who won’t be president, so whatever

Welp, Hillary Clinton wrecked Donald Trump in Monday’s debate. You can tell he lost by the mania with which he insists he won. Now that the queen has slain the frog prince, as we always knew she would, we can go back to treating Trump’s candidacy like the joke it is. Remember last week, when FiveThirtyEight had them in a dead heat? That was before Hillary got that sweet, sweet three-point post-debate bounce. Now that people have seen Trump is belligerent and nonspecific, he can’t win. And isn’t he orange? I find this to be the drollest election of our lifetimes, and certainly not a clear rupture between the American experiment and its decline. Today is Friday, and Republicans sure will be embarrassed when we look back on it. Won’t you count these eggs as chickens with me?

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Hoax watch: Trump didn’t delete climate change-denial tweet

Expressions any facial-recognition software would call smiles

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.

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CNN pretty much screws Paladino on “Lynch @Loretta Lynch” typo

A screen shot from this morning

A screen shot from this morning

It’s no wonder Carl Paladino supports the candidate for president who wants to do something about the media. The Buffalo businessman last graced the news in April, when he told NPR’s Morning Edition that he and his fellow Trump supporters wanted an exterminator “to get the raccoons out of the basement” of government. I assume he was referring to waste, fraud, and abuse, for which raccoons are notorious, but some reporters thought he meant black people. In defense of this maybe tenuous reading, Paladino does look like the kind of person who refers to black people in code, constantly. But you can understand why he might consider himself the victim of uncharitable reporting. This morning, CNN comes along with this:

A top Donald Trump supporter drew fire Wednesday for a tweet that he says was a “well-intended mistake,” which seemed to call for the lynching of Attorney General Loretta Lynch. The tweet from New York businessman and former gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino said “Lynch @LorettaLynch let the Grand Jury decide,” according to reports and screen grabs on Twitter. The message was replaced with another that simply said “@LorettaLynch let the Grand Jury decide.” Paladino was apparently weighing in on FBI Director James Comey’s announcement that the bureau would recommend no charges in the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email server.

This story appeared under the headline Trump supporter tweet appears to call for lynching of Loretta Lynch. Appears to whom? Speaking as a person who has to go back and delete part of every tweet in which I use Twitter’s @ autofill, I did not at first read Paladino’s as advocating the lynching of the Attorney General.

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