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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Election Countdown: August 18

Today is August 18. There are 82 days until the American presidential election.

It’s the first day for Donald Trump’s latest campaign CEO, Stephen Bannon. He’s the former Goldman Sachs banker who, in the way of Wall Street’s dark arts, made himself rich in one of his company’s deals, by helping finance the TV series Seinfeld.

He then went into conservative film and TV production with such effectiveness that Breitbart News site founder Andrew Breitbart dubbed him “the Leni Riefenstahl of the American Tea Party.”

Bannon considered that a compliment. As he ought. You don’t mess with the Breitbart Machine.

Ask Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s first campaign manager. He got crossways with the Big B over claims he roughed up their woman reporter.

That led to Trump’ second campaign manager, Paul Manafort, now edged aside after trying to make the candidate sound less Breitbarty- and revelations that while Trump's suits are sewed in China, Manafort's come from Kiev.

Breitbart’s news hole has always been the deep end of the Trump media pool, quick to bid readers join them in the scum-filled waters. Trump critic Bill Kristol got headlined a “renegade Jew” for his trouble. Among its other gutter perchers is a bottle-blonde antigay gay, Milo Yiannopoulos, recently banned from Twitter after a harassment campaign against an African-American actress.

Just three days ago, Milo- who likes to call Trump the “God-Emperor Daddy” (you can look it up) argued Trump’s new “Do you like gays?” test for screening Muslim immigrants (a guarantee that LGBT Americans will never lose their legal rights or their lives except at the hand of native-born Christian fundamentalists) puts the Republicans in place as the most pro-gay party in history.

But the silence that greets such claims among politicovangelicals puts paid to any notion that the GOP has given up its cherished gay-bashing. Richard Land, Franklin Graham and veep pick Mike Pence will never stand for that (Family Research Council head Tony Perkins gets a pass. He is busy trying to understand how, after invoking natural disaster after natural disaster to show God’s animus toward gays, God sent a thousand-year flood to destroy Perkins’ Louisiana home this week, and didn’t even tip him off to head for the hills of Kentucky’s Ark Experience).

Trump is back in North Carolina today. He seems to return whenever he really needs to fly his freak flag. Nine days ago, in Wilmington, he launched his reboot of former Arizona senate candidate Sharron Angle’s “Second Amendment remedies” dog whistle: this time, toward Hillary Clinton.

July 5, in Raleigh, was when he praised Saddam Hussein as a bad guy who knew how to kill terrorists.

Trump also likes North Carolina because it’s a state where Republicans actually want to campaign with him. Senator Richard Burr and Governor Pat McCrory- who acts as Trump’s Ed McMahon, telling jokes about transgender people to warm up the crowds- are the co-chairs of a Westin Hotel Fundraiser for Trump tonight at Charlotte’s Westin Hotel.

The top ticket price for access to the Great Cheeto is $50,000 post-Citizens United dollars.

Between that and another money-hoovering do at his golf club in Mooresville this afternoon, Trump is expected to lug $2 million back to New York, not to mention what his club bills his campaign.

The Donald will wrap up the evening with an evening rally at the Charlotte Convention Center.

Today is also the start of LGBT Pride Festival in Charlotte. In light of the Orlando mass killings (the two month anniversary of which Trump celebrated last week by opening a campaign office across the street from the nightclub, and attending a prayer meeting with anti-LGBT evangelicals laid on by Kim Davis’ lawyer), the police here have declared Charlotte Pride “an extraordinary event” justifying much tighter security.

For Republicans, “Extraordinary Event” means Be Somewhere Else. Two hundred thousand people- most of them voters- will be in Charlotte the next four days.
Not a single Republican candidate will be anywhere near them (not even Attorney General hopeful Buck (We’ve got to keep North Carolina's straight!” Newton). Republicans don’t need those people.

They've got them all stacked in gerrymandered districts so they can retain their veto-proof majorities, and the county elections board, pleading poverty, just cut back early voting hours while opening 22 new Mecklenburg County polling places in white, Republican districts.

Donald Trump doesn’t need them, either. On June 15, he declared himself the best friend LGBT Americans have ever had. “Ask the gays,” he urged. “Who’s your friend?”

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