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Belief That America’s on the ‘Wrong Track’ Doesn’t Necessarily Help Trump

Earlier this week, Karl Rove was in the mood to gloat. Enjoying the Bernie or Bust tensions on the first day of the Democratic National Convention, the Boy Genius said it didn't really matter whether Democrats got their act together in Philadelphia, because they are largely doomed by the negative feelings of the electorate about the direction of the country:

Mrs. Clinton’s [big] problem is that she personifies the status quo in a year when the dynamic is strongly tilted toward change.

Gallup reported last week that only 17% of Americans are satisfied with the country’s condition, the same figure as at this point in 2008.

A July 13 NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that a mere 18% of registered voters believe the country is “headed in the right direction,” while 73% said things are “off on the wrong track.”


Mike Pence Says Roe v. Wade Will Be Overturned If Trump Is Elected

Mike Pence has never exactly been at the forefront of women's health. Before he was Donald Trump's vice-presidential nominee, he passed a law in Indiana requiring fetal remains to be cremated or buried, likely at the cost of the patient, whether they were from an abortion or a miscarriage. He's also blocked funds from Planned Parenthood, tried to shut down abortion clinics, and banned private-insurance coverage of abortion ... and he doesn't exactly get how condoms work, either.


Hillary Clinton Wants You to Know She Has a Plan

In one of the passages of her acceptance speech contrasting her point of view with Donald Trump's, Hillary Clinton made an interesting boast:

[Trump] offered zero solutions. But we already know he doesn’t believe these things.

No wonder he doesn’t like talking about his plans.

You might have noticed I love talking about mine.


It’s Okay Not to Like Hillary Clinton’s Speaking Style

In 1944, Harry S. Truman was introduced to the nation as the new vice-president. Radio being the dominant medium of that time, his voice received disproportionate attention, and the reviews were miserable — it was tinny, irritating, un-presidential. Truman was so dismayed by the reviews of his performance, he hired a specialist to coach up his speaking voice, to little apparent effect.


Hillary Clinton (Mostly) Hit Her Marks in Her Acceptance Speech

Earlier today, I laid out five things I thought Hillary Clinton needed to do in her nomination-acceptance speech tonight: Don't get overshadowed; deal with the email "scandal;" embrace Bernie Sanders and his young supporters; identify with "safe change;" and frame the election as a choice of "two futures."

I'd say she accomplished four of those five objectives, and added a bit more.

Nobody seems to rank Hillary Clinton's convention speech with the president's or the First Lady's earlier this week. But, it didn't clash with, or especially overlap with them, either, and thus did not lend itself to accusations that it diminished her or left her in their shadows. 

She not only offered grace notes to Bernie Sanders and suggested the two campaigns' co-operation on the platform could easily continue into the general election ("Your cause is our cause"), but in the agenda portion of the speech, she directly borrowed Sanders-style rhetoric, particularly on college tuition, Citizens United, and income inequality.


The Democratic Convention Showed Clinton Is Sane, Competent, and Likable Enough

The Democratic National Convention came off perfectly, even brilliantly, with the exception of two things. The first was the limitations of its presidential nominee as a public speaker. Hillary Clinton’s shortcomings as an orator are not worth dwelling on at length, because, by this point in her public career, it is a fixed part of the equation. Her speech accepting the Democratic nomination was, in part, an attempt to work around that problem. In the film preceding the speech, a friend described her as a “workhorse, not a show horse.” And as she admitted, “Through all these years of public service, the 'service' part has always come easier to me than the 'public' part.”


Jill Stein Explains Her Plan to Stop Trump by Electing Him President

The other day, WGBH interviewed Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate for president, who is recruiting disaffected supporters of Bernie Sanders. Given the current closeness of the race, and the dire consequences of a Donald Trump victory, the interviewer naturally wanted to know how she feels about potentially throwing the election to Trump. Her answer is the sort of jargon-laced evasion that, if previous Green Party nominee Ralph Nader is any example, we can expect to hear between now and the election:


Obama’s DNC Speech Was His Final Album — Until the Comeback

The buzz in Philadelphia on Wednesday felt less like the excitement that surrounds a big convention speech, and more like someone’s final concert.

The modern premise of a final show is that an era is ending — until the person gets the itch again and decides to come back. Barack Obama still has months to go in office, and will be giving speeches on the road for Hillary Clinton up until November, but the Democratic National Convention could be the final major speech of his presidency. So, Wednesday night was a farewell — a victory lap.


Video of the day

Hillary Clinton Talks Binge-Watching, Halloween Costumes on Colbert

Charlie Rangel Opens Debate With Fake Phone Call

Congressman Joe Garcia Picks Ear, Eats It on Live TV


In The Mag

Back on the Trail

When Mark Sanford decided to run for office again, he asked his ex-wife, Jenny, for her blessing. Whether he has her vote is another matter.

By Jason Zengerle

Reading List

Wonkblog Jan. 21, 2013

The Case for Deficit Optimism

For all the sound and fury, Washington’s actually making real progress on debt.

By Ezra Klein
Salon Jan. 15, 2012

The NRA's Democratic Helpers

Harry Reid and other pro-gun Democrats leave Obama in need of unlikely allies.

By Steve Kornacki

From the Archives

New York Magazine / Nov. 5, 2010

Boehner's Army

After November's glitch, Boehner, McConnell and Congress strike familiar poses.

By John Heilemann
New York Magazine / Jan. 25, 2009

With Friends Like These

Obama drew progressive ire from day one.

By John Heilemann
New York Magazine / Nov. 30, 2008

Hiding In Plain Sight

How one undocumented family lives in our sanctuary city.

By Jeff Coplon