HILLARY CLINTON IS RIGHT: Al-Shabaab recruit video with Trump excerpt: U.S. is racist, anti-Muslim

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An al Qaeda affiliate has apparently released a new recruitment video, telling Muslims in America that the country has a long history of racism and discrimination and will turn on its Muslim community.

The video purportedly by Somali terrorist group al-Shabaabuses historic civil rights era footage of firebrand Malcolm X and audio of 2016 presidential candidate Donald Trump to label the United States a racist society.

In the wake of the San Bernardino, California, shootingslast month, Trump said he wanted “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.”

The video runs this line, bleeping out the word “hell.”

Fierce backlash over Trump's plan to ban Muslims

Fierce backlash over Trump’s plan to ban Muslims 02:11

Before that, Trump had called for surveillance of mosques and said he was open to establishing a database for all Muslims living in the country.

The video includes recent footage of police shootings and violence against African Americans in Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore — and claims that this is what is in store for American Muslims.

CNN cannot independently confirm the authenticity of the video. Trump’s campaign did not immediately respond to a CNN request for comment.

Throughout the video, excerpts of previous video messages from the late radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki are played predicting persecution of Muslims in the United States.

Al-Awlaki was U.S.-born and raised and revered as a powerful motivator in terrorist operations for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

He was killed by a U.S. drone strike in 2011, in Yemen.

Last month, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton claimed that Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric was providing fodder for Islamist terror group ISIS to use in its propaganda. ISIS and al Qaeda are rivals.

At a December 19 debate with two rivals for the Democratic nomination, she said ISIS is “going to people showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists.”

However, that claim has never been proven.

Asked about the video on Saturday, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters that “any indication that supports the notion that the U.S. is at war with Islam will be taken advantage of by terrorist organizations.”

“We are at war with terrorists. We are not at war with Islam,” he said, adding that the U.S. needs “to defeat this narrative that allows them to recruit people.”

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Jeb Bush Blames Obama for Rise of Trump

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Jeb Bush called Donald Trump “a creature of Barack Obama” in the latest example of the former governor’s ever-present frustration with the billionaire businessman during an interview with NPR.

“But for Barack Obama, Donald Trump’s effect would not be nearly as strong as it is,” Bush said.

The comments come as Bush continues his full assault on Trump over the past several weeks questioning everything from his rival’s seriousness to intellectual prowess. However, Bush expressed optimism to NPR that “the emotion of the here and now” with Trump “will subside.”

“The point is that we’re living in this reality TV political environment, where [Trump] fills the space by saying outrageous things [and] then people based on their emotions will express support for the sentiment, not necessarily the specifics, because there’s none and then he’ll backtrack,” he said. “And he’ll move on to the next thing and he fills the space.”

Related: Bush Campaign Pulls Ads and Shifts Staff Ahead of First Votes

For his own candidacy, Bush downplayed the expectations that he must win some of the early contests for his candidacy to remain viable.

“I don’t think I have to win any of them, because we’re organized in every state,” he said. “The good news is, expectations are low for me, and I’m definitely gonna beat those,” he said. “I feel really good about New Hampshire, to be honest with you. Just — just the way it — it feels.”

 Bush campaign pulls ads, shifts staff ahead of first votes 2:29

On Wednesday Bush’s campaign announced yet another reorganization that will shift staff from its Miami headquarters to early states. The campaign also canceled previously scheduled ad buys in a signal that the campaign could be strapped for cash.

“We have a Super PAC that is advertising on TV at a rate that is comparable to any other campaign if not more and we’re reallocating our resources to voter contact and a ground game that will be second to none,” Bush explained to reporters. “So we’re all in, the schedule will show that we’re all in, the amount of people that are working and all the work that is done to be able now to convert these people into voters in a contested race.”

$250,000 a Year Is Not Middle Class

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HILLARY CLINTON has vowed not to raise taxes on the middle class.

It’s a pledge that has worked well for others on the campaign trail before her, a resonant assurance to voters who saw themselves as middle class or aspired to be. But it’s a bad promise.

Mrs. Clinton is using a definition of middle class that has long been popular among Democratic policy makers, from her husband to Barack Obama when he was a candidate: any household that makes $250,000 or less a year. Yet this definition is completely out of touch with reality. It also boxes her in.

The most recent Census Bureau data showed that median household income — what people in the exact middle of the American spectrum earn — is $53,657.

Those families who make $250,000 a year, on the other hand, belong to an elite group: Americans who earn enough to be in the highest 5 percent of the income distribution. That top stratum captures anyone who makes $206,568 or more — not everyone in the so-called middle class that Mrs. Clinton says she is dedicated to protecting, but too large a chunk of it.

People waited in line at the post office to file their taxes before the April 15 deadline.CreditSpencer Platt/Getty Images 

This doesn’t matter just because the math is so off. In an era of deepening income inequality, those people in the top 5 percent who are being classified as middle class are pulling further away from the rest of us. Americans at the bottom or in the middle have experienced five years of falling or stagnating income; those in the top 5 percent have generally seen their incomes increase. Between 1967 and 2014, median household income went up by $9,400 while those 5 percenters are now making $88,800 more, all adjusted for inflation.

A policy response should give those who are sliding backward a hand up, most likely funded by the people who are doing so well. But under Mrs. Clinton’s pledge, some of the well off won’t be called on to help out, and are in fact lumped in for receiving a boost. (I should note that my spouse works on the technology team for the Clinton campaign, but is not involved in policy.)

Mrs. Clinton’s pledge also blocks her from backing policies that would almost certainly benefit middle-class Americans, even if it raised their taxes slightly.

Take paid family leave. As things stand, Americans are not legally guaranteed any pay when they take time away from work for the arrival of a new baby or to care for a sick family member. According to a 2012 survey, about a third of people who get no or partial pay when they take time off for a new child end up doing things like borrowing money, dipping into savings or putting off paying bills. Fifteen percent enroll in public benefits.

Senator Bernie Sanders also wants to help the middle class, but he wants to do it in a way that could mean raising its taxes, even if he promises that most of an increased burden will fall on the wealthy. This has made him a target of the Clinton camp, which is telling voters that Mrs. Clinton is the only candidate pledging to shield the middle class.

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Mr. Sanders, as well as Martin O’Malley, who is also running for the Democratic nomination, have avoided any pledge against middle-class tax increases. The paid family leave program both support is designed as social insurance much like Social Security, funded by a 0.2 percent payroll tax increase.

Yet Mrs. Clinton’s pledge rules out supporting such a proposal. While she has frequently talked about paid family leave, she says her plan will call on only the wealthiest to pay for it.

It was a doomed idea. Some families with closer to median income do use 529 accounts. So adding a tax would, technically, increase some middle-class people’s burden, thus violating Mr. Obama’s promise. Backlash erupted not just from Republicans, but fellow Democrats, and he dropped the idea less than a week after floating it.

Even Mr. Sanders, who often talks about income inequality, isn’t entirely immune from the allure of the $250,000 threshold. He’s ruled out middle-class tax increases except to fund paid family leave, promising to somehow get the needed revenue for his platform from banks and the very rich. And in other areas — top tax rates, Social Security payroll taxes — he adopts the $250,000 cap for no clear reason related to the policies themselves. That speaks to the spell this arbitrary limit has cast over the Democratic Party.

It’s one it needs to break. The middle-class pledge has not just been outpaced by Democrats’ policy ambition. It’s been outpaced by voters’ reality.

Over the last decade and a half, fewer and fewer Americans are identifying as middle class, and a growing share says it is working or lower class. Income inequality compresses many downward and lifts up the sliver already at the top.

That shifting identity should relieve candidates of the sense that there is a political urgency in spouting the phrase “middle class,” and it demands a new framework — one that is honest about the class divisions in the country.

To Donald Trump, the thrice-married hypocrite: Let’s look at your history and teach you what sexism really is

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Donald Trump is just exposing himself by roping in Bill Clinton’s past infidelity into campaign

While you were playing with your new video game/Apple product/puppy this post-Christmas weekend, Donald Trump went off into a defensive spiral. Before Christmas, Hillary Clinton gave an interview to the Des Moines Register where she correctly noted that Trump has “a penchant for sexism,” for calling her “disgusting” for having to use the bathroom during the most recent debate, something he quite clearly feels the female half of the species should not sully itself with.

The phrase “penchant for sexism” clearly got under Trump’s skin, as he gnawed on it obsessively like a dog with a bone over the weekend.

It was a ridiculous display to witness, but there’s no reason to think it will do anything but endear him to his already robust base. However, the tantrum shows why Trump is going to have a lot of problems translating the enthusiasm that his bigotry-happy supporters have for him to the larger public, which tends to find this stuff distasteful.

Trump’s response to Clinton has been, in line with the levels of maturity he has demonstrated throughout this campaign, to implement the “I know you are, but what am I?” strategy. On Fox News on Sunday, Trump whined that Clinton is playing the “woman card” when she defends herself against men, like Trump, who imply that her gender disqualifies her from the White House.

This is a common right-wing rhetorical trick, to argue that the foul is not in disparaging someone for her gender, but in mentioning gender at all. That allows them to draw a false equivalence between saying “women are equal” and “women are inferior,” but one should not be fooled. Mentioning gender is not, in and of itself, a bad thing. The bad thing is in what Trump does, which is deriding women for having bodily functions and implying that the only value they have on earth is aesthetic.

Trump spent most of the holiday obsessing over the phrase “penchant for sexism” on Twitter.

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He then tried to rope Bill Clinton into this:

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He elaborated on what he meant by this on “Fox News Sunday,” by arguing that Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky counts as sexism, an argument that he doubled down on, by equating it with “abuse” on Twitter.

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The assumption here is that “sexism” or “abuse” is defined as “stuff women don’t like,” such as their husbands cheating on them. It’s a rhetorical strategy that equates an extramarital affair with hitting women or raping women, an equation that non-coincidentally functions to minimize the seriousness of violence against women. Abusing your wife is a crime, but cheating is not, all for a very good reason.

To Trump and his right-wing followers that tend to perceive feminism as nothing more than women yapping too much when they probably have something they need to be cleaning instead, this definition of sexism probably feels about right. Most people, however, grasp that one can have an affair, even a highly inappropriate affair with a much-younger woman, while still maintaining the belief that women are equal to men and capable of doing things like holding higher office.

Bill Clinton is living proof of this. This is, after all, the same man who recently joked, “I am tired of the stranglehold that women have had on the job of presidential spouse.” Whatever personal flaws he may have — which are many — it’s also inarguable that he has openly espoused a belief in female equality his whole career and backed that belief up with his policies and his enthusiastic support of his feminist wife’s career.

It’s easy to see why Trump, whose current wife is only three years older than Monica Lewinsky, might struggle to see the distinction between an unfortunate dalliance and a lifelong pattern of deriding women for aging, having bodily functions, or for going in public for any other reason than to audition to be Mrs. Trump No. 4. And, as has been amply demonstrated, Trump supporters tend to think every dumb thought that comes spilling out of his head is gold.

But the public does understand these distinctions, which is why obsessing over Clinton’s affair has generally backfired on those who indulge. When Republicans impeached Clinton over his affair in the ’90s, the result was that Clinton’s approval ratings soared to 73%a level that is nearly impossible for presidents to achieve, particularly during that era, where the cynicism we currently have about politics was really beginning to harden into place. The public tends to perceive the fascination with Clinton’s affair as little more than panty-sniffing puritanism, which is, of course, exactly what it is.

It’s doubly stupid of Trump to go there, because there’s the added issue of hypocrisy. Trump’s own affair with Marla Maples, a woman 17 years his junior who became his second wife, was second only to Clinton’s affair in terms of being the sex scandal of the 1990s. If Trump wants to set aside policy ideas, public behavior, and advocacy work in favor of judging a man’s respect towards women strictly by his failures as a husband, well, he still loses that battle. Clinton had affairs that his marriage survived. Trump blew up his first marriage to marry his much-younger mistress.

What is amazing about all this is that Trump has to know he’s playing with fire here. Right now, both Republicans and Democrats have kept his personal life out of the campaign, because they know that voters tend to think that’s playing dirty. But if he himself opens the door, then it becomes fair game. While his supporters will no doubt get defensive and rally around him harder, reminding the general public that Donald Trump set the template for the rich man who regularly trades in his wives for younger models is not to his benefit in a general election. It will hurt him especially against a female candidate whose very existence shows that women have more to offer the world besides youth and beauty.

But that’s the defining feature of Trump’s campaign. Whether it’s personal short-sightedness or because he’s got some impossible-to-understand long game going on here, Trump will choose endearing himself to his bigot base over expanding his appeal every single time.

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HYPOCRISY OF AMERICANS

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HYPOCRISY OF AMERICANS

Michelle Obama:

Ridiculed for her fashion, looks, skin color, and fitness

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis:

Embraced for her fashion and charm

The late Kennedy’s education was not listed as a result of lack of space. (Kennedy received a Bachelor of Arts degree in French literature at George Washington University and went on to work for the Washington Times-Herald as an Inquiring Photographer.)

Melania Trump:

Admired for having access to money and her body

Why Politicians Want You to Panic

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Crime is down, jobs are growing, America is pre-eminent. And yet Republican candidates are still fanning the flames of fear.

At the beginning of this year, after a Republican sweep in the midterms, new Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell had a message for the incoming class as the party geared up for the 2016 presidential contest: Don’t be “scary.”

“I don’t want the American people to think that if they add a Republican president to a Republican Congress, that’s going to be a scary outcome,” he said. “I want the American people to be comfortable with the fact that the Republican House and Senate is a responsible, right-of-center, governing majority.”

Around the same time, we began hearing more talk of the rise of the “reformocon,” a calmer, more practical, policy-minded and less viscerally anti-government stripe of Republican. One who maybe even might be able to resist the temptation to actively antagonize Latinos, the nation’s fastest-growing electoral bloc. For a moment, it looked like the fever that had burned since the election of President Barack Obama in 2008 had broken.

But then came the Mexican rapists, and Benghazi, and the plot to “Islamize” America, and Planned Parenthood acting as an agent of holocaust. We heard endless dark warnings about Obama the NaziObama the ISIS apologist. We learned that the Affordable Care Act is tantamount to slavery and the Holocaust could have been averted if the Jews had just had guns, and that the Iran deal will trigger the second Holocaust (so many holocausts!).

Once the Paris attacks happened, the panic tightened its grip, with two leading Republican presidential candidates suddenly possessed by dueling hallucinations of celebratory Muslims in Jersey on 9/11. Then came San Bernardino. Donald Trump, who had previously contented himself with talk of an authoritarian state in which Muslims were made to register and neighbor spied upon neighbor, doubled down, calling for a ban of all Muslims trying to come to the United States. The rest of the field, while not quite scaling such rhetorical heights, hardly distinguished itself with steely Churchillian reserve, opting instead for a flurry of Muppet arms. When Obama gave a speech emphasizing calm and fortitude, Marco Rubio responded by saying that, on the contrary, Americans are “really scared,” John Kasich said “our way of life is at stake,” Chris Christie proclaimed that World War III had begun, and Jeb Bush said ISIS is “organizing to destroy Western Civilization.”

McConnell may have tried—however lamely—to get the scary horse back into the barn, but time passes and news breaks and the beast does not abide. What is driving all this panic? It’s easy to blame it on individual demagogues and pin it all on the symptoms of Obama Derangement Syndrome. This was the view on display in a November column by the New York Times’ Paul Krugman, who attributed the abundance of panic in the GOP to the fact that “many bullies are also cowards” and “the apocalyptic mind-set that has developed among Republicans during the Obama years.” There is something to that, but it’s hardly the whole story.

The fact is, the variety of political panic we are presently enjoying is woven into the fabric of our society, an unfortunate side effect of living in a continually morphing nation of immigrants. This panic has historically afflicted the right more than the left (though the left is not immune to panics of its own), and though it usually simmers just beneath the surface of our politics, it has, at this particular moment in time, not just reemerged but, seemingly, gone mainstream.

For the most part, the current field of Republicans is riding the wave, ginning up panic whenever possible, in a campaign season that often seems less like an application to the White House and more like one for the ding farm. But will it work? Can this trembling, red-eyed, dark-minded impulse at the core of our national experience be marshaled to win a national election? And, perhaps more importantly, can it be stopped?

***

For all our talk of steady hands and rugged individualism, there’s a long and hallowed tradition of sheer barking panic in American politics. “There’s no country in the world that can get more hysterical!” Sinclair Lewis wrote in It Can’t Happen Herehis 1935 novel about a folksy American politician who leads a panicky nation into fascism. And indeed, we’ve done our part to prove him right. Over the decades, Americans, minds afire with doomsday visions of wild plots and schemes, have lost it over the illuminati, the Masons, the pope of Rome and his marauding Jesuits, the League of Nations, the U.N., communist infiltrators, welfare queens, Willie Horton, Jeremiah Wright, birtherism, gay plots, “death panels,” Jade Helmno-go zones, the aforementioned Mexican rapists/ethnic cleansers/Ebola-infected ISIS supporters, and so on.

And throughout, most of those eruptions have come from a certain spot on the American political spectrum. Writing in 1954, historian Richard Hofstadter, borrowing a term from the social theorist Theodore Adorno, dubbed these people “pseudo-conservatives.” In his essay “The Pseudo-Conservative Revolt,” which Hofstadter wrote in response to the rise of far-right demagogues like Joe McCarthy and groups like the John Birch Society, he defined the type:

“Although they believe themselves to be conservatives and usually employ the rhetoric of conservatives, [pseudo-conservatives] show signs of a serious and restless dissatisfaction with American life, its institutions and traditions.” They may call themselves conservatives, Hofstadter noted, but they do so mainly for the veneer of political legitimacy the term confers. In reality, they are more a mix of ultraconservative, isolationist and, occasionally, radical. “They have little in common with the temperate and compromising spirit of true conservatism in the classical sense of the word.”

The pseudo-conservative, Hofstadter continued, “is likely to be antagonistic to most of the operations of our federal government except congressional investigations.” He is preoccupied with his loyalty and the perceived disloyalty of others and prone to constant patriotic “self-advertisement.” He “sees his own country as being so weak that it is constantly about to fall victim to subversion; and yet he feels it is so all-powerful that any failure it may experience in getting its way in the world … cannot possibly be due to its own limitations but must be attributed to its having been betrayed.” He believes that “those who place greater stress on negotiation and accommodation are engaged in treasonable conspiracy or are guilty of well-nigh criminal failings in moral and intellectual fiber.”

All these years later, Hofstadter’s essay reads like the whiteboard from a breakout session at CPAC. While the author blamed the confluence of uncertain times and the advent of mass media—which keeps people “in an almost constant state of political mobilization”—he also argued that the animating spirit of pseudo-conservatism was tied to the “rootlessness and heterogeneity” at the center of the American experiment:

“Because we no longer have the relative ethnic homogeneity we had up to about eighty years ago,” he wrote, “our sense of belonging has long had about it a high degree of uncertainty. We boast of ‘the melting pot,’ but we are not quite sure what it is that will remain when we are melted down.”

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Bush vs. Gore, Almost Two Decades Later Shows How Bad We Screwed Up Electing The Wrong Guy

Democratic presidential candidate and Vice President Al Gore (L) makes a point while debating Republican presidential candidate and Texas Governor George W. Bush during the last of three U.S. presidential debates at Washington University in St. Louis, October 17, 2000. This is the last time the two candidates face-off before the November 7 national election.

Democratic presidential candidate and Vice President Al Gore (L) makes a point while debating Republican presidential candidate and Texas Governor George W. Bush during the last of three U.S. presidential debates at Washington University in St. Louis, October 17, 2000. This is the last time the two candidates face-off before the November 7 national election.

The U.S. presidential election of 2000 went down in history as one of the most curious in the modern history of the nation. The legal dispute that landed in the hands of the Supreme Court of the United States involved the matter of how votes had been counted and whether “harm” had been incurred by one of the presidential candidates by the recount efforts initiated by a case before the Florida court.

The Supreme Court handed down the decision on Bush v. Gore based on questions of how the Florida Supreme Court had decided to allow the recount, and the final determination, which gave the election win to George W. Bush on the basis of a mere 547 additional votes. A Messy Election In many ways the outcome of the 2000 election took many people by surprise. Few expected the actual vote count would be razor thin, especially in Florida, which held 25 electoral votes that could put either candidate over the needed amount of 537. The media, which had historically played a part in announcing the winner via its exit polling, declared Gore the winner based on exit polling numbers, then had to retract its announcement.

chadsThe candidates themselves seemed unprepared to deal with an election whose votes came this close. Al Gore quickly made a concession call to George W, and then made a second call retracting the concession based on the uncertainty of the election outcome. Bush became both puzzled and angry about the retraction of the concession. For few moments, American citizens stood, holding their breath, uncertain about who would be their next leader.

The Bush V. Gore Case The close election results triggered a recount in the state of Florida that exposed some of the shortcomings of the recount process. Meanwhile, the public ate their Thanksgiving dinners and began their Christmas shopping, waiting for a decision on the outcome of the election. Media cameras showed people deciphering punched ballots that may or may not be determined for one or the other of the candidates.

These individuals often had to hold the ballot up to the light to determine whether a “pregnant chad,” one that was pushed out, but not perforated, was intended as a vote or not. The arbitrary nature of the process triggered the Bush v. Gore suit that questioned whether the state had any standards in place for determining the validity of these votes. The Court decided for George Bush having been “harmed” by the arbitrariness of the ballot examination process, in a 5 to 4 vote.

chadOther Questions on the Vote Count But the pregnant chads were not the only questions about the 2000 election. The “butterfly ballot” in Palm Beach County in Florida was another matter in dispute. This ballot had been designed across two pages, aligning names and places to puncture the vote in a confusing manner. Questions about the ballot arose when candidate Pat Buchanan, an ultra-conservative Republican, received a large percentage of votes in a largely Democratic leaning county. Another questions involved the Florida Supreme Court’s actions in the electoral dispute. Yet another question was about the propriety of the Supreme Court becoming involved in the presidential electoral process.

These questions remain unresolved to this day. Ultimately, these questions were disregarded once the Supreme Court made its decision. George W. Bush became the 43rd president of the United States and went on to win a second term in 2004. In all, the 2000 election became one of the most chaotic in recent memory, and both the Supreme Court decision and questions about the actual conduct of the voting process came into question in some areas. However, George W. Bush went on to win a second term in office, presiding over an administration that still provokes a number of both questions and complaints.

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Democrats embrace modern America as Republicans reject it

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Which political party loves America? Not the United States that once existed, but the flesh-and-blood nation that we live in now.

The debates we have witnessed — too few and far between for the Democrats, frequent enough for the Republicans to constitute a new reality TV show — have provided an incontestable answer to that question.

The Democrats embrace the United States of Now in all of its raucous diversity.

Democrats are not free of nostalgia. They long for the more economically equal America of decades ago and celebrate liberalism’s heydays during the New Deal and civil rights years.

But Hillary Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Martin O’Malley all stand up for the rights of a younger America — today’s country — that is less white, more Latino and more Asian (and, yes, more Muslim) than was the U.S. of the past. The cultural changes that have reshaped us are welcomed as part of our historical trajectory toward justice and inclusion.

The Republicans, particularly Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.), don’t like our country right now. They yearn for the United States of Then. The current version is cast as a fallen nation.

True, the party shut out of the White House always assails the incumbent. But a deeper unease and even rage characterize the response of many in the GOP ranks to what the country has become. This can cross into a loathing that Trump exploits by promising to deport 11 million undocumented immigrantsand block Muslims from entering the country while dismissing dissent from his program of demographic reconstruction as nothing more than “political correctness.”

I am certain that in their hearts, every candidate in both parties still likes to see us as a “shining city upon a hill” and “the last best hope of Earth.” Within the GOP, Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Jeb Bush have been especially careful not to abandon the virtue of hope and any confidence in the present. But this makes them stronger as general-election candidates than within their own party.

The stark cross-party contrast complicates any assessment of Saturday’s Democratic debate. As Clinton, Sanders and O’Malley all made clear, each believes their own disputes are minor in light of the chasm that has opened between themselves and the Republicans.

“On our worst day, I think we have a lot more to offer the American people than the right-wing extremists,” Sanders declared at the debate’s end. O’Malley concluded similarly: “When you listened to the Republican debate the other night, you heard a lot of anger and a lot of fear. Well, they can have their anger and they can have their fear, but anger and fear never built America.”

Democratic solidarity was Clinton’s friend. She emerged stronger simply because neither of her foes made a clear case for upending the campaign’s existing order. Her own solid performance will reinforce those who already support her.

But two big quarrels between Clinton and Sanders are important to the Democrats’ future. By pledging to avoid any hike in taxes on those earning less than $250,000 a year, Clinton strengthened herself for her likely fall encounter with the other side. But Sanders deserves credit for speaking a truth progressives will need to face up to (and that social democrats in other countries have already confronted): that the programs liberals support are, in the long run, likely to require more broadly based tax increases.

On foreign policy, Clinton continued to be the more openly interventionist candidate. Here again, Clinton likely positioned herself well for the long run. But Sanders may yet capitalize on his comparative dovishness with the generally peace-minded Democratic caucus electorate in Iowa.

Each also offered revealing one-liners as to whether “corporate America” would love them. Clinton nicely deflected the question by saying, “Everybody should.” But Sanders was unequivocal. “No, they won’t,” he replied with starchy conviction.

Above all, this debate should embarrass the Democratic National Committee for scheduling so few of them, and for shoving some into absurdly inconvenient time slots that confined their audiences to political hobbyists.

Debates are a form of propaganda in the neutral sense of the word: They are occasions for parties to make their respective arguments. Given that the divide between the parties this year is so fundamental, it’s shameful that Democrats did not try to make their case to as many Americans as possible.

If you have faith in your response to anger and fear, you should be ready to bear witness before the largest congregation you can assemble.

 

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After Donald Trump demanded an apology from Hillary Clinton

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IRONY!

After Donald Trump demanded an apology from Hillary Clinton, who recently accused him of helping ISIS recruit members due to his anti-Muslim rhetoric, the Democratic front runner responded, and it wasn’t what the billionaire real estate mogul wanted to hear.

“HELL NO!”

Let’s be honest, Trump should first apologize to blacks, Latinos, Muslims, refugees, women, and the poor for his hate-filled rhetoric, which has been used as an excuse to harm individuals at his rallies, and offending millions.

Six GOP candidates just pledged to make anti-gay discrimination the law

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Ever since the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, anti-gay crusaders have been touting a somewhat obscure piece of legislation called the First Amendment Defense Act, which would prohibit the federal government from “taking discriminatory action against a person on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that: (1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or (2) sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.”

In other words, The First Amendment Act would let both individuals and businesses discriminate against gay people and others under the banner of “religious liberty.”

As Right Wing Watch reports, anti-gay groups have been eager to show their support for the legislation.

As it so happens, a handful of these groups – namely, the American Principles Project, Heritage Action for America, and Family Research Council Action — just made the announcement that a total of six GOPpresidential hopefuls have signed a pledge promising to push for the passage of the FADA within their first 100 days in office should they be elected:

American Principles Project has joined together with Heritage Action for America, the action arm of the Heritage Foundation, and FRC Action, the legislative affiliate of the Family Research Council, to invite each of the candidates running for President to sign the following pledge:

“If elected, I pledge to push for the passage of the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) and sign it into law during the first 100 days of my term as President.”

So far, six candidates have signed the pledge:

• Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas)

• Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida)

• Dr. Ben Carson

• Carly Fiorina

• Former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania)

• Former Governor Mike Huckabee (R-Arkansas)

Maggie Gallagher, Senior Fellow at American Principles Project, released the following statement:

“It has become clear that the First Amendment Defense Act is rapidly becoming a signature issue that unifies the GOP. Three out of the four top contenders for the nomination — Carson, Cruz, and Rubio — have pledged to prioritize passing FADA in their first 100 days of office. Additionally, Bush, Graham, Paul, and now for the first time, Donald Trump, have publicly expressed support for FADA. Real, concrete protections for gay marriage dissenters appear to be just one election victory away.”