Victoria Ryan Archive

Trump Supporter Tells CBS: He Will Make America Great Again Like It Was Before ‘The Homosexuals’

A Donald Trump supporter told CBS News this week that she hopes the Republican candidate will take America back to a time before abortions and “the homosexuals.”

Following the third presidential debate, Face the Nation host John Dickerson spoke to a group of voters in Nevada about why they supported either Trump or Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

A voter named Barbara explained that she was motivated to support Trump because “morality and values” were important to her.

“Based on what the country was based on,” she said. “I think that the laws that Obama has passed, the way the country has — I call it down turning. Some of the other people are proud of it and happy for it. I personally am against it, the homosexuals, the abortions. All the stuff, I am against.”

“When Donald Trump says ‘Make American Great Again,’ is that what you hear?” Dickerson wondered. “That it’s going to go back to before the time that you’re now describing?”

“That’s part of it,” Barbara agreed.

Confronted with the possibility that Clinton could win the election, Barbara replied with two words: “Oh no.”

“She needs prayer,” the Trump supporter said. “The country always needs prayer.”

Watch the video below from CBS’ Face the Nation, broadcast Oct. 23, 2016.

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A Huge Waste Of Money? Trump’s Border Wall Falling Flat In Arizona

Florida is another closely-fought state that has seen large levels of illegal immigration, though by sea rather than by land. Some 41 percent of voters there said they believed Trump’s wall would be a “waste of money”, while 36 percent thought it would be an “effective barrier”.

Progressive activist groups in both Florida and Arizona have been using Trump’s hard line on immigration against him to mobilize Latinos for Clinton, who advocates a path to citizenship for some undocumented immigrants. Mi Familia Vota, for example, says they registered more than 15,000 people in Arizona this year.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online in English and Spanish in Arizona and Florida. The Arizona poll ran from Oct. 5 to Oct. 19 and gathered responses from 2,600 people. The Florida poll ran from Oct. 5 to Oct. 12 and gathered responses from 2,610 people. Both polls have a credibility interval, a measure of accuracy, of 2 percentage points for the total group and 3 percentage points for likely voters.

Polls show Arizona, a state that has voted Democrat only once in a presidential election since 1952, has become competitive. The Real Clear Politics average of polls showed Clinton ahead there by 1.3 percentage points. Reuters/Ipsos polling shows Trump ahead there by 4 points.

Clinton’s campaign said last week it would spend $2 million more campaigning in Arizona before the election.

DRIVING LATINOS TO THE POLLS

Arizona’s border with Mexico is 370 miles long, covering an isolated desert terrain that has drawn millions seeking to cross illegally. The state’s number of undocumented immigrants has fallen 35 percent from a 2007 peak to 325,000, according to the Pew Research Center, as Arizona cracked down on that population. Nationwide, the number has dropped 9 percent from a high in 2007 to 11.1 million undocumented immigrants.

Wendy Cornacchio, a 45 year-old Trump supporter from Phoenix, said she believes illegal immigration is still a problem – but she would rather see technologies like drone surveillance than Trump’s wall to address it. “I don’t think that necessarily building a wall will work, but the concept of closing the borders I agree with,” she said.

Donald Trump rode to the top of the Republican ticket promising a “big, beautiful, powerful” border wall with Mexico to stop the flow of undocumented immigrants. Along that border, however, Americans are more likely to call the wall a “waste of money”, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll.

The results show that while the New York businessman may have expected his tough stance on immigration to fire up support nationally, it seems to be falling short in a state heavily affected by illegal immigration, and where he is now facing a surprising challenge from his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

Asked if a wall would be “an effective barrier or a waste of money,” 47 percent of Arizona residents picked “waste of money” and 34 percent picked “effective barrier”, with the rest picking neither, according to the poll. Among Republicans, 21 percent picked “waste of money” and 57 percent picked “effective barrier.”

Most Arizonans also believed it is not realistic to expect Mexico to pay for the wall, something Trump has vowed would happen if he’s elected president on Nov. 8, according to the poll.

The results lined up closely with nationwide opinions of Trump’s immigration policy: 49 percent of American adults say the wall would be a “waste of money” and 31 percent say it would be an “effective barrier.”

“As big and powerful, as rich as this nation is, we cannot just leave the door open,” said Tony Estrada, Santa Cruz County Sheriff, who has served in law enforcement in the border county for 49 years. “But, we need a realistic and humane process. Donald Trump is … catering to people’s fear.”

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Here’s What I Learned About Julian Assange While Working Alongside Him

Assange’s approach has taken WikiLeaks from the most powerful and connected force of a new journalistic era to a back-bedroom operation run at the tolerance (or otherwise) of Ecuador’s government. This is his shot at reclaiming the world stage, and settling a score with Hillary Clinton as he does so.

Assange is a gifted public speaker, with a talent for playing the media, struggling with an inability to scale up and professionalise his operation, to take advice; a man whose mission was often left on a backburner in his efforts to demonise his opponents.

These are traits often ascribed to Donald Trump, the main beneficiary of WikiLeaks’ activities through the reaction, and its modern-day champion during presidential debates. Those traits have left Assange a four-year resident of a Harrods hamper–laden single room in a London embassy.

It remains to be seen what they’ll do for Donald Trump.

How it ends

All of this is the cocktail of ingredients that produces 2016’s incarnation of WikiLeaks. Julian Assange mistrusts the US government, dislikes Hillary Clinton, and has spent years trapped in a small embassy flat in west London, in declining physical and psychological health, monitored minute-by-minute in reports filed by his wary Ecuadorian hosts.

Assange would not, in my view, ever knowingly be a willing tool of the Russian state: If Putin came and gave him a set of orders, they’d be ignored. But if an anonymous or pseudonymous group came offering anti-Clinton leaks, they’d have found a host happy not to ask too many awkward questions: He’s set up almost perfectly to post them and to push for them to have the biggest impact they can.

The poet Humbert Wolfe wrote, “You cannot hope to bribe or twist / (thank God!) the British journalist. / But, seeing what the man will do / unbribed, there’s no occasion to.” Such is Russia’s good fortune with Assange. If it is indeed Russia behind the leaks, as US intelligence has reported, he will need no underhanded deals or motives to do roughly as they’d hope. He would do that of his own free will.

The question is whether Assange will end up disappointed. Assange believes WikiLeaks was a primary driver of the Arab Spring, which led to major uprisings in around a dozen countries. This is the stage on which Assange believes he plays — the equal of a world leader, still the biggest story in the world.

For a time, he was. While the extent of WikiLeaks’ role in the Arab Spring remains a matter for debate, Assange was at the forefront of an information revelation. His attempts to regain the spotlight in the meantime have largely failed.

WikiLeaks has republished public information as if a leak, published hacks obtained by Anonymous and Lulzsec for only moderate impact, and released email caches of private intelligence companies of much less significance than what went before. Even Assange’s attempt to aid Edward Snowden was largely botched, leaving the whistleblower stranded in a Moscow airport for weeks. In recent weeks, Snowden has publicly clashed with Assange over the latter’s handling of the Democratic National Committee leaks.

A certain resemblance

Assange is routinely either so lionised by supporters or demonised by detractors that his real character is lost entirely.

Far from the laptop-obsessed autist he’s often seen as, he’s a charismatic speaker with an easy ability to dominate a room or a conversation. He may have little interest in listening to those around, but he can tell whether or not he has your attention and change his manner to capture it. He has, time and again, proven to be a savvy media manipulator, marching the mainstream media up the hill and down again to often damp-squib press conferences. His technical skills are not in doubt.

What’s often underestimated is his gift for bullshit. Assange can, and does, routinely tell obvious lies: WikiLeaks has deep and involved procedures; WikiLeaks was founded by a group of 12 activists, primarily from China; Israel Shamir never had cables; we have received information that [insert name of WikiLeaks critic] has ties to US intelligence.

At times, these lies are harmless and brilliant. When, on the day the state cables launched, WikiLeaks’ site wasn’t ready (we hadn’t even written the introductory text), the site was kept offline after a short DDoS attack, so Assange took the opportunity to tweet that the site was under an unprecedentedly huge attack to give us time to get the site together.

Six hours later, when we were done, all eyes were looking: What was so bad in the cables that someone was working so hard to keep the site offline? The dramatic flourish worked, but other lies were dumb and damaging – and quickly eroded any kind of trust for those trying to work closely with him.

Redaction – possibly one of the clearest apparent changes between 2010 and 2016 WikiLeaks – became one of these trust issues. For Assange, redacting releases was essentially an issue of expediency: It would remove an attack line from the Pentagon and state, and keep media partners onside. For media outlets, it was the only responsible way to release such sensitive information.

These days, WikiLeaks routinely publishes information without redaction, and seemingly with only minimal pre-vetting. This is merely a change in expediency: There are no longer newspaper partners to keep onside. The results are a partial vindication for both sides – while it’s hard to dispute that some of WikiLeaks’ publication of private data has been needlessly reckless and invasive, there remains no evidence of any direct harm coming to someone as a result of a WikiLeaks release.

Conversely, Assange often trusts strangers more than those he knows well: He dislikes taking advice, he dislikes anyone else having a power base, and he dislikes being challenged – especially by women. He runs his own show his own way, and won’t delegate. He’s happy to play on the conspiratorial urges of others, with little sign as to whether or not he believes them himself.

There are few limits to how far Assange will go to try to control those around him. Those working at WikiLeaks – a radical transparency organisation based on the idea that all power must be accountable – were asked to sign a sweeping nondisclosure agreement covering all conversations, conduct, and material, with Assange having sole power over disclosure. The penalty for noncompliance was £12 million.

I refused to sign the document, which was sprung on me on what was supposed to be a short trip to a country house used by WikiLeaks. The others present – all of whom had signed without reading – then alternately pressured, cajoled, persuaded, charmed, and pestered me to sign it, alone and in groups, until well past 4am.

Given how remote the house was, there was no prospect of leaving. I stayed the night, only to be woken very early by Assange, sitting on my bed, prodding me in the face with a stuffed giraffe, immediately once again pressuring me to sign. It was two hours later before I could get Assange off the bed so I could (finally) get some pants on, and many hours more until I managed to leave the house without signing the ridiculous contract. An apologetic staffer present for the farce later admitted they’d been under orders to “psychologically pressure” me until I signed.

And once you have fallen foul of Assange — challenged him too openly, criticised him in public, not toed the line loyally enough — you are done. There is no such thing as honest disagreement, no such thing as a loyal opposition differing on a policy or political stance.

To criticise Assange is to be a careerist, to sell your soul for power or advantage, to be a spy or an informer. To save readers a Google search or two, he would tell you I was in WikiLeaks as an “intern” for a period of “weeks”, and during that time acted as a mole for The Guardian, stole documents, and had potential ties to MI5. Compared to some who’ve criticised Assange, I got off fairly lightly.

Those who have faced the greatest torments are, of course, the two women who accused Assange of sexual offences in Sweden in the summer of 2010. The details of what happened over those few days remain a matter for the Swedish justice system, not speculation, but having seen and heard Assange and those around him discuss the case, having read out the court documents, and having followed the extradition case in the UK all the way to the supreme court, I know it is a real, complicated sexual assault and rape case. It is no CIA smear, and it relates to Assange’s role at WikiLeaks only in that his work there is how they met.

Assange’s decision – and it was a decision – to elide his Swedish case with any possible US prosecution was a cynical one. It led many to support his cause alongside those of Chelsea Manning or Edward Snowden. And yet it is more difficult, not easier, to extradite Assange to the US from Sweden than from the UK, should Washington even wish to do so.

Assange coming to believe his own spin may be what’s been behind six years of effective imprisonment for him. No one is keeping him in the Ecuadorian embassy – where he has fallen out with his hosts – but himself, and a fear of losing face. But the women who began the case have lost at least as much, becoming for months and years two of the most hated figures on the internet, smeared as “whores”, “CIA spies”, and more. They will never get their time back.

In the room

It’s unfair, or at least an oversimplification, to say Assange is anti-American. He would say he supports the American people but believes its government, its politics, and its corporations are corrupt.

A result of this is that he doesn’t see the world in the way many Americans do, and has no intrinsic aversion to Putin or other strongmen with questionable democratic credentials on the world stage.

This shows in some of his supporters. A few days after Assange arrived with me and a few others at Ellingham Hall, an older man, introduced to us as “Adam”, turned up. Assange had invited independent freelance journalists from around the world to the country house to see cables relating to their country – usually no more than a few thousand at a time.

“Adam” was different: He immediately asked for everything relating to Russia, eastern Europe, and Israel – and got it, more than 100,000 documents in all. A few stray comments of his about “Jews” prompted a few concerns on my part, dismissed quickly by another WikiLeaker – “don’t be silly… He’s Jewish himself, isn’t he?”

A short while later, I learned “Adam”’s real identity, or at least the name he most often uses: He was Israel Shamir, a known pro-Kremlin and anti-Semitic writer. He had been photographed leaving the internal ministry of Belarus, and a free speech charity was concerned this meant the country’s dictator had access to the cables and their information on opposition groups in the country.

Assange showed no concern at these allegations, dismissing and ignoring them until the media required a response. Assange simply denied Shamir had ever had access to any documents.

This was untrue, Assange knew it was untrue, and I knew it was untrue — it was me, at Assange’s instructions, who gave them to him. A few days later, a reporter at a Russian publication wrote to WikiLeaks.

“I really can’t understand why Wikileaks is just cooperating with the magazine Russian reporter which never had a record of even slightly critising [sic] the Russian government,” they wrote.

“I contacted the person responsible for contacts with Wikileaks in Russia (Israel Shamir) but he told me we could not look at the cables ourselves and requested money which is not very convenient for us (not because of money but because we would like to go through the files as well).”

Anti-Semitism never seemed a major part of Assange’s agenda – I never heard him say a remark I caught as problematic in this way – but it was something he was happy to conveniently ignore in others. Support for Russia or its strongmen eastern European allies was much the same: tolerable for those who otherwise are allies of WikiLeaks and do as Assange says.

WikiLeaks has never had a problem with Russia: not then, not now.

The cable release

Clinton’s condemnation of WikiLeaks and its partners’ release of classified cables was a simple requirement of her job. Even had she privately been an ardent admirer of the site – which seems unlikely – doing anything other than strongly condemning the leak was nonetheless never an option.

That’s not how it felt to anyone inside WikiLeaks at that moment, though. It was an anxiety-inducing time. WikiLeaks was the subject of every cable TV discussion and every newspaper front page, and press packs swarmed the gates of every address even tenuously connected to it. Commentators called for arrest, deportation, rendition, or even assassination of Assange and his associates.

At the same time, WikiLeaks was having its payment accounts frozen by Visa and Mastercard, Amazon Web Services pulled hosting support, and Assange was jailed for a week in the UK (before being bailed) on unrelated charges relating to alleged sexual offences in Sweden.

Inside WikiLeaks, a tiny organisation with only a few hundred thousand dollars in the bank, such pressure felt immense. Most of the handful of people within came from a left-wing activist background, many were young and inexperienced, and few had much trust of the US government – especially after months of reading cables of US mistakes and overreactions in the Afghan and Iraq war logs, often with tragic consequences.

How might the US react, or overreact, this time? WikiLeaks was afraid of legal or extralegal consequences against Assange or other staff. WikiLeakers were angry at US corporations creating a financial blockade against the organisation with no court ruling or judgments – just a press statement from a US senator.

And the figurehead of this whole response was none other than Hillary Clinton. For Assange, to an extent, this is personal.

On 29 November 2010, then US secretary of state Hillary Clinton stepped out in front of reporters to condemn the release of classified documents by WikiLeaks and five major news organisations the previous day.

WikiLeaks’ release, she said, “puts people’s lives in danger”, “threatens our national security”, and “undermines our efforts to work with other countries”.

“Releasing them poses real risks to real people,” she noted, adding, “We are taking aggressive steps to hold responsible those who stole this information.”

Julian Assange watched that message on a television in the corner of a living room in Ellingham Hall, a stately home in rural Norfolk, around 120 miles away from London.

I was sitting around 8ft away from him as he did so, the room’s antique furniture and rugs strewn with laptops, cables, and the mess of a tiny organisation orchestrating the world’s biggest news story.

Minutes later, the roar of a military jet sounded sharply overhead. I looked around the room and could see everyone thinking the same thing, but no one wanting to say it. Surely not. Surely? Of course, the jet passed harmlessly overhead – Ellingham Hall is not far from a Royal Air Force base – but such was the pressure, the adrenaline, and the paranoia in the room around Assange at that time that nothing felt impossible.

Spending those few months at such close proximity to Assange and his confidants, and experiencing first-hand the pressures exerted on those there, have given me a particular insight into how WikiLeaks has become what it is today.

To an outsider, the WikiLeaks of 2016 looks totally unrelated to the WikiLeaks of 2010. Then it was a darling of many of the liberal left, working with some of the world’s most respected newspapers and exposing the truth behind drone killing, civilian deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq, and surveillance of top UN officials.

Now it is the darling of the alt-right, revealing hacked emails seemingly to influence a presidential contest, claiming the US election is “rigged”, and descending into conspiracy. Just this week on Twitter, it described the deaths by natural causes of two of its supporters as a “bloody year for WikiLeaks”, and warned of media outlets “controlled by” members of the Rothschild family – a common anti-Semitic trope.

The questions asked about the organisation and its leader are often the wrong ones: How has WikiLeaks changed so much? Is Julian Assange the catspaw of Vladimir Putin? Is WikiLeaks endorsing a president candidate who has been described as racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, and more?

These questions miss a broader truth: Neither Assange nor WikiLeaks (and the two are virtually one and the same thing) have changed – the world they operate in has. WikiLeaks is in many ways the same bold, reckless, paranoid creation that once it was, but how that manifests, and who cheers it on, has changed.

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Beating Trump is personal, not just political, for Nevada unions

But none of Clinton’s supporters is feeling overconfident, despite this seeming disparity in grassroots activism. While 39 percent of Nevada’s voters are Democrats compared with 33 percent who are Republicans, Trump’s supporters are out there. Cariaga found them while canvassing last week in a middle-class neighborhood in northwest Las Vegas.

“There’s no way I’m voting for her,” a white-haired man said to Cariaga after she knocked on his door. “I had to go back to work because Obamacare was so expensive — and she’s more liberal than he is.” Then he slammed the door.

A few blocks away, 24-year-old Jacob Williams told Cariaga he didn’t know whom he would be casting his first ballot for president for because “I hate them both. My dad has been talking about how much he doesn’t like Hillary ever since I was a little kid.” He doesn’t think he could ever vote for the former secretary of state.

Clinton supporters know Nevada is going to be won door-to-door. Donna West, a retired state employee, has turned her garage on the city’s heavily Latino east side into a field office, filled with voter lists and card tables. Over the next few weeks, she expects volunteers to talk twice to each of the roughly 5,000 voters in her turf.

“Nevada is still a very small state,” West said. “People are more likely to vote for someone who comes to their door.”

But the Trump campaign is not relying on grassroots campaigning. The only item listed on the Clark County GOP online calendar Saturday was an all-day call for volunteers to come to Rodeo Park in suburban Henderson on behalf of a state Legislature candidate. But the only political people at the park late in the morning were three union sheet metal workers from Los Angeles who came to walk precincts for Clinton.

“This is definitely personal for me because I don’t hear anything from Trump that says he’s for the working man,” said Kristian Hernandez, a 46-year-old sheet metal worker from Azusa (Los Angeles County), one of 200 Los Angeles-area union members in town for a weekend of volunteering. “She does seem like she’s for the working man.”

Downticket Nevada Republicans in tight battles, including Senate candidate Rep. Joe Heck, R-Las Vegas, and Rep. Cresent Hardy, R-Las Vegas, are sensing the tide turning. Both rescinded their endorsements of Trump this month after the release of the “Access Hollywood” recording where Trump crudely boasts that he uses his celebrity to force himself upon women.

After her union gave her a ride to a pop-up polling site near the Strip Saturday, housekeeper Jelessa Morgan cast a vote for Clinton. What makes her opposition to Trump personal “is that he has his business (hotel) in Nevada, we give him our money, and then he says all this stuff about people. It’s just a game with him.”

“I don’t believe it is as close as the numbers say it is,” said Tiffany Howard, a professor of political science at UNLV. “This is a turnout game now. And there’s more of her supporters and those who hate Trump than there are of his supporters and people who hate” Clinton.

While hundreds of Trump supporters in California have traveled to Nevada for their candidate, Howard said, “I’m surprised that there hasn’t been more visible support for Trump. I saw way more support for Mitt Romney” in 2012.

The Trump campaign declined to allow a Chronicle reporter inside its Las Vegas headquarters, which is on the end of a cul-de-sac in a single-story office building in an industrial area near the airport. The window coverings are drawn, and only a couple of small “Trump/Pence” signs differentiate it from any of the other nearby buildings. The campaign also declined to allow The Chronicle to shadow its door-to-door canvassers — as campaigns of all stripes regularly do. Campaign officials declined to comment for this story.

“We’ve got a lot of people here who are for Mr. Trump, don’t you worry,” a volunteer who would give his name only as Charles said as he unloaded cases of bottled water and carried them inside. “They just don’t want to be hassled.”

“He is divisive,” said Monie Cariaga, a 49-year-old cocktail waitress at the Paris Hotel, who has taken a one-month leave from her job to knock on 400 doors a week for union-endorsed Democratic candidates. The single mother who raised three children was upset by comments Trump made in August when asked what his daughter Ivanka should do if she was sexually harassed at work. “I would like to think she would find another career or find another company if that was the case,” Trump told USA Today.

Cariaga knows what it’s like to be hassled at work. Her options weren’t so simple as leaving. “Tell that to my car payment,” she said.

Cariaga is among 100 culinary union members who have taken leave from their jobs to work for the Democratic ticket. Over the past six weeks they and other union members have knocked on 130,000 doors and had 31,000 one-on-one conversations with their fellow members of organized labor, union leaders say. Because 60 percent of Nevada’s voters cast ballots by mail, Clinton supporters want to act now to reinforce the four percentage point lead Clinton has in the RealClearPolitics average of polls.

Door-to-door, person-to-person campaigning is a necessity in a state like Nevada, especially in vote-rich Clark County, home to Las Vegas. The population is transient and hard to track. Many workers in the casinos and service industry don’t work 9-to-5 jobs. Polling is difficult and often unreliable.

The motivation for the unionized hotel workers to cast ballots is as personal — and as succinct — as the white-lettered message on the red shirts organizers were wearing: “Defeat Trump.” Workers say they are paid $3 less an hour at Trump’s Las Vegas hotel, one of the few that don’t have union workers. Even though employees there voted in December to form a union, Trump has refused to negotiate with them.

The second-floor union hall where Gebre delivered his speech is filled with anti-Trump messages, starting with the sign on the door that describes Trump as “Dangerous. Divisive. Anti-Union.” “Es imperdonable” (“Unforgivable”) is written across posters of Trump’s face that workers distribute as they go door to door. Canvassers also hand out a small red booklet featuring workers complaining about conditions at his hotel. Its title: “People Who Work for Donald Trump Are Just Like You.”

When Gebre asked how many people in the room Saturday were immigrants, nearly every hand went up. So is he. In 1983, the native Ethiopian walked 93 miles across the Sudanese desert to escape political persecution. In 1992, he became a U.S. citizen.

“This is the beauty of it: (On Nov. 8) people who look like you, who look like me, are going to tell Mr. Trump he is fired,” Gebre said.

Hotel workers are carrying that sentiment into the streets.

LAS VEGAS — Hillary Clinton has inched ahead in battleground Nevada polls not just because of what she’s done, but because of whom Republican Donald Trump has offended: the people who work at his signature hotel here and others like it on the Vegas Strip.

To many of those union waitresses, housekeepers and bartenders, this campaign is more than another political race. It’s personal. They are fighting the boss.

“We have to defeat this narcissistic, racist, sexist —hole called Donald Trump,” Tefere Gebre, executive vice president of the national AFL-CIO, said in a rousing pep talk to more than 100 union organizers Saturday inside the Culinary Workers Union Hall, with a piñata in Trump’s image wearing devil’s horns hanging nearby.

“Donald Trump is the best organizer for the Democratic Party this cycle,” said Yvanna Cancela, political director for the 57,000-member Culinary Workers Union — 90 percent of whom are the bartenders, housekeepers and cocktail servers who work on Sin City’s famous Strip; 56 percent of them are Latino. “What Clinton has done is taken advantage of the situation.”

Saturday was the first day of early in-person voting in Nevada, and union organizers kicked into high gear to get their members to cast ballots. They picked up busloads of casino workers from their job sites on their breaks, carted them to a polling location near the Strip, then handed them a box lunch to eat on the ride back to work.

While President Obama is scheduled to speak in Las Vegas on Sunday and singer Katy Perry did a photo op Saturday at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas campus, Nevada will be won with political shoe leather, not big names. And few do shoe-leather campaigning better than the Culinary Workers Union’s political operation — known as the core of retiring Sen. Harry Reid’s “Reid Machine” for years. Its formidable turnout operation is so integral to the Democratic Party’s success that “without it, Nevada would be Utah,” Gebre said.

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Clinton for president: Why we need a landslide

Donald Trump boasted in January that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue, and his loyal supporters would stay with him.

On that point, at least, he’s been proven right. He’s going to lose this election, but if the polls are on target roughly 4 in 10 Americans will stand with him to the end.

So ask yourself this: Where will those voters go next? And what if their new champion is someone more skilled in the art of politics?

Be scared. Trump has squandered support with his vulgar personality and his parade of rookie mistakes. America might not be so lucky next time around.

So how do we pull the country back from this brink? How do we ensure that Trump’s ugly brand of politics is pulled out by the roots, that no one picks up his fallen banner to charge at us again?

We need a landslide, not a squeaker. Voters need to roar back at this bigotry and ignorance, to affirm that America is made of better stuff, and to send that same message to the world.


In a normal year, an endorsement for president compares policies and qualifications, point by point. But that exercise, in this campaign, seems absurd. Here’s a sampling:

Trump believes climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese to drag down America. He answers the core challenge to the global environment with an adolescent conspiracy theory. Hillary Clinton respects the scientific consensus, and offers concrete steps to reduce emissions.

Trump says he might not defend Eastern Europe if Russia attacks, a signal that invites aggression and must be horrifying to the ghost of Ronald Reagan. Clinton says she will honor NATO’s core promise, no matter what, just as every American president since Harry Truman has.

Trump brags that sexually assaulting women is a perk that comes with celebrity – then attacks women who credibly claim they were among his victims as unattractive and dishonest. Hillary promises counseling for rape survivors, realistic subsidies for child care, and equal pay.

Trump promises to force Mexico to build his wall, and to round up and deport 11 million undocumented immigrants, breaking millions of working families into pieces and doing violence to the nation’s social fabric. That job would require a massive new federal police force with authoritarian powers, as noted by horrified Republicans like Michael Chertoff, former director of the Department of Homeland Security – and even Chris Christie, in the days before he lost his mind.

How can any real conservative support Big Government like that?

Clinton backs the kind of bipartisan immigration reform that passed in the Senate by a 2-1 margin only three years ago.

Trump talks of barring Muslims from entering the country — which means everyone at our border crossings and airports, including Christians and Jews, would somehow have to prove religious affiliation.

Clinton would impose no religious test, ever.

Trump would offer the largest tax cut in our nation’s history, skewed heavily towards the rich, a move that economists of every stripe warn would explode the national debt. Clinton would require the rich and corporations to pay more, and use the money mostly to help middle-class families cover the cost of college.

This list goes on and on. On every issue, Trump offers angry bumper stickers, and Clinton counters with reasonable plans rooted in the center-left of the political spectrum.

We have learned during this campaign that Trump’s knowledge of policy goes no deeper than his angry 3 a.m. tweets; that his personality, driven by his insatiable ego, is dangerously unstable; that his bigotry knows no bounds, and that his idea of success in business is to cheat your partners, skip town, and then brag about using the bankruptcy laws with moral abandon, as he did over and over in Atlantic City.

What is he hiding in those tax returns? Did he pay nothing? Is he lying about charitable giving, his dealings with Russia, his net worth — all of the above? Given the beating he’s taken on this issue, it is obvious that the truth would be ferociously damaging if revealed.

Trump earned his spot on the national stage with his racist claim that President Obama was born abroad. And just last month, he insisted that the five minority teens wrongly imprisoned in the infamous Central Park jogger case are guilty, despite undisputable DNA evidence that they are not. He misses no chance to inflame racial and ethnic hatreds, as long as he can play the divisions to his advantage.

And now, in the final stretch, he is taking aim at our democracy itself, suggesting he might not honor the results. A landslide is the only answer to that.


In this election, we have learned, too, that Clinton is not a natural politician, that her public manner can come across as fake, that her distrust can verge on paranoia and drive her to make stupid mistakes, like using that personal email server, and stiff-arming the press and public. We have learned that she can be sloppy on ethics, and that some donors to the Clinton Foundation were able to get meetings with her as Secretary of State.

The enormous fees she earned for speeches on Wall Street were gluttonous and undermine faith in her integrity. But she passes the more important test by supporting the tough restrictions on banks and protections for consumers contained in the Dodd-Frank regulation. Even in the den of those lions, she made that clear.

Clinton’s sins are venial, and her flaws, as former Gov. Christie Whitman put it, are within the norm in American politics. She has done nothing remotely illegal, and her paranoia may be largely explained by the baseless charges of her overheated critics. After several investigations into the deaths in Benghazi, Republicans hunting for Hillary’s scalp came away with a whole lot of nothing. Trump’s vow to throw her in prison is an unnerving reminder of his scorn for Constitutional restraint.

In fact, we endorse Hillary Clinton not just because Trump is such a scary alternative, but because she is ready for this job, in experience and temperament. Her flaws are outweighed by her virtues, and it’s not a close call.

Since graduating college she has been a warrior for good causes, starting with support for children and families. During her years in the Senate, she put her head down and worked hard, earning the respect of Republican colleagues as she hammered out solid bipartisan deals on help for September 11 first-responders and worked to expand health care coverage.

Bernie Sanders was tough on Clinton, but he pulled her in the right direction. She vows to never send an occupying force to the Mideast again. She has a vigorous plan to help cut college costs for middle-class families. She can be counted on to fight hard for a higher minimum wage, paid family leave, and a more fair criminal justice system.

Our hope is that Clinton devotes herself as president to the cause of economic justice. The rich have made enormous gains in the last few decades, capturing nearly all the benefits of economic growth. The economy, at least, is indeed rigged — against the middle-class.

That not only slows growth; it breaks the social contract at the heart of the American dream, the core promise that if you work hard, you and your family will be okay. That is no longer true, as the growing army of working poor families among us can attest.

As president, she will of course be restrained by Republicans, who are likely to maintain control of the House, and have enough power to reliably block legislation in the Senate. Her challenge will be to find the sweet spots where progress is possible, as great presidents do.

That brings us back to the need for a landslide win. Republicans will be split into factions after this election, and a decisive win for Clinton could prompt a needed soul-searching.

It is hard believe now, but in 2008 the Republican platform endorsed a cap-and-trade program to fight climate change, and immigration reform with a path to citizenship. After the September 11 attacks, President George W. Bush made a point of defending Muslim Americans against precisely the sort of slander Trump peddles today.

The party veered seriously off course in 2010, with the ascent of the Tea Party faction. Compromise is now considered a sign of weakness. The rejection of science and expert opinion has become a reflex. The wink-and-nod bigotry that helped the party win the South is now explicit, and has expanded to include demonization of Latinos and Muslims.

If the nation is to make progress, the Republican Party needs to spend its 40 days in the desert. And that’s more likely to happen if Clinton’s victory is crushing.

Those who would cast their votes for third party candidates need to think again. If they want their votes to have political impact, they need to strengthen the prospects of a landslide by voting for Clinton. They need to vote strategically, given the enormous stakes.

So yes, this endorsement of Clinton is full-throated and without reservation. Trump’s popularity has revealed a sickness in our body politic that is flat-out dangerous. A crushing win by Clinton offers the best hope for a cure.

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Yes, there’s a “rigged election”: The one that ensures a Republican House majority

Democrats appear headed for their biggest presidential election in years. Nate Silver has Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton as an 86 percent favorite to move back to the White House. Some polls have given her leads in reliably red states like Arizona and Georgia. Iowa and Nevada are slipping away from Republican nominee Donald Trump; Texas is tightening; Virginia is gone.

Polling averages by Silver and RealClearPolitics suggest that the Republican nominee’s fight is fading in the key battleground states of Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

It takes quite a Democratic wave to tilt this many states even powder blue. But most nonpartisan analysts suggest this will not be enough to tilt the House of Representatives. The GOP holds a 30-seat majority in the House. The University of Virginia’s respected Crystal Ball says that as of today, less that three weeks from the election, only 37 competitive districts remain. Of those, 17 are toss-ups, 10 favor the Democrats and 10 lean Republican.

That means Democrats could win all the close races leaning their way and sweep all 17 toss-ups and the Republicans would still keep control of the House. In those key five battleground states? Republicans currently hold 49 of 69 congressional seats and Crystal Ball believes that only one of those Republican incumbents is even vulnerable.

Why is this? The reason is clear: In those five states and many others, Republicans had veto-proof control over the drawing of new congressional districts after the 2010 census. Republican strategists executed a savvy plan in 2010 to flip control of the state legislatures that control redistricting, then took advantage of high-tech mapping tools and draw themselves a decade of control at the state and national level.

Republicans drew 193 House districts by themselves after 2010, Democrats just 44.

In 2012, the first election that was run using these new maps, Democratic House candidates earned 1.4 million more votes than Republicans, but Republicans kept the majority nevertheless. Michigan gave 240,000 more votes to Democratic House candidates, but sent nine Republicans and five Democrats to Washington. Pennsylvania favored the Democrats by nearly 100,000 votes, but the sophisticated new lines returned a delegation that somehow broke 13 to 5 for the GOP.

Americans rightly shivered on Wednesday night when Trump refused to say he would follow tradition and concede the race for president should Clinton defeat him on Nov. 8. Trump’s talk of a “rigged” election and dark intimations about the integrity of our democratic institutions had already come under increasing fire from sober voices in both parties.

“Look, to say that elections are rigged,” said Ohio’s Republican governor, John Kasich, “that’s like saying we never landed on the moon, frankly. That’s how silly it is. I don’t think it’s good for our country, for our democracy. . . . That is a big, fat joke.”

Kasich, however, signed into law maps that built an invulnerable 12-to-4 Republican advantage for Ohio’s congressional delegation and created a GOP supermajority in the statehouse that has endured despite more votes for the Democrats. A veto-proof majority for the side with fewer votes is not good for our country or democracy either.

President Barak Obama, meanwhile, pointed out that elections are run by state and local officials. A majority of governors and secretaries of state are Republican. “There are places like Florida,” Obama said, “where you’ve got a Republican governor whose Republican appointees are going to be running and monitoring . . . election sites. The notion that somehow if Mr. Trump loses Florida it’s because of those people,” he went on, is “irresponsible.”

In Florida, however, two constitutional amendments overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2010 that forbid any partisan intent in redistricting were not enough to stop Republicans from interfering and rigging the maps. Strategists and mapmakers ran a shadow redistricting process and funneled GOP maps into the public arena through friends, spouses and phony email addresses set up under the names of former interns. A circuit judge who invalidated several of the districts said the Republicans “did in fact conspire to manipulate and influence the redistricting process” and “taint” the maps with “improper partisan intent.”

We’re talking about the wrong problem. Yes, Trump’s critiques that widespread voter fraud could cost him the election, however often he repeats them, have not been substantiated. In the widest recent study, Justin Levitt of Loyola Law School discovered only 31 cases of voter fraud during all election cycles from 2000 through 2014 in more than a billion ballots cast.

Trump’s charges are dangerous and wrong but so is ignoring the very real and serious ways this election is tilted. We need to debunk Trump’s claim without being taken in by the assurances from a bipartisan Beltway chorus that our elections are free and fair. If Democratic House candidates win more votes for the second consecutive presidential cycle, but Paul Ryan retains the speaker’s gavel, it will be an event without precedent and one that makes a mockery of the popular vote.

The most likely outcome in the House, most analysts agree, is that the Democrats capture about 15 seats, with the biggest gains coming in California, New York, a handful of moderate suburban areas and in Florida and Virginia districts where gerrymandered lines were ordered redrawn. That means Clinton will face a GOP majority that’s smaller but also more conservative and even harder for Ryan to control.

It is a recipe for a broken and divisive government. It insulates from the ballot box the very chamber of Congress that is supposed to be most responsive to the people. It will be the opposite of what the majority of Americans have voted for. That’s the very definition of a rigged election.

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Woman Fools Eric Trump With Shirt That Says ‘AGAINST Trump’ In Spanish

“I’m just really glad that I got the chance to remind his supporters that his language has been really unsettling with a large group of people in America,” Cardelle added. “We’re really hurt and offended.”

“As Hispanic women, we see how Trump’s hate speech has emboldened people to be racist towards Latinos and people of color in general,” she said. “What Donald Trump has been doing is making people think that it’s alright to treat us as if we’re worse than they are.”

Annie Cardelle said she felt proud of her fashion-forward Trump protest.

Ceci Cardelle said she’s been repulsed by Trump’s frequent attacks on Hispanics.

To the sisters’ surprise, the Trumps’ minders seemed oblivious to the handmade shirt.

“There was a good three people around them looking everyone up and down,” Annie Cardelle said.

“I don’t know if they were in a daze or completely oblivious to what my shirt said.”

Both sisters managed to worm their way to the front of the line of people waiting for pictures with Eric Trump and his wife Lara.

“We thought someone was going to say, ‘Get out of here. Leave,’” Annie Cardelle told the Daily News.

“No one asked about it. No one noticed.”

Cardelle and her sister Ceci, 17, waded into enemy territory at the Friday night rally in Salisbury to protest Trump’s hate-filled language.

None of the 200 Trump cheerleaders packed into Thelma’s Down Home Country Cooking seemed to notice the not-so-subtly dressed demonstrator in their midst.

Looks like Eric Trump has a muy mal understanding of Spanish.

The Donald’s middle son was played for a fool at a North Carolina rally when he posed for a photo with a young woman wearing a “Latinas Contra Trump” shirt.

“No one at the rally realized my shirt said AGAINST tr*mp,” a giddy Annie Cardelle, 23, tweeted along with the photo.

“Congrats, y’all played yourselves.”

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BREAKING: Early Votes Are In – NOVEMBER WON’T EVEN BE CLOSE!!!

There is amazing news for Hillary Clinton in the key battleground states, as millions of Americans have voted early.

More than 3.3 million Americans have already voted. And among that group, Democrats have improved their position in North Carolina, Nevada, Arizona and even Utah compared to this point in 2012. All FOUR of those states are battleground states that Hillary Clinton is either tied in, or winning.

From CNN:

There’s more likely good news for Clinton in Virginia and Wisconsin, where she’s maintained a steady advantage in the polls. Early voting has picked up in both blue-leaning states compared to this time in 2012.

In Wisconsin, the number of early voters to date more than tripled, jumping from 46,389 to 142,190. In-person early voting started in late October four years ago. But after a federal court struck down Wisconsin’s strict voting laws, early voting began several weeks earlier in the Badger State this year.

Virginia saw a smaller increase of 18,079 voters, compared to 2012. The state doesn’t allow unrestricted early voting, but residents can still vote early by providing an excuse and receiving an absentee ballot.

And in Republican-leaning Georgia, early voting is up by about 25% this year compared to 2012. That was clear Wednesday in Lawrenceville, where about 200 people lined up to vote in the county’s only early voting location. Waiting times were two hours, officials said, and dragged longer in the afternoon.

For Clinton to upset Trump in the Peach State, she’ll need strong turnout from non-white voters. So far, the African-American share of the early vote is slightly lower than it was at this point in 2012. But Hispanic and Asian voters have slightly boosted their share of the early electorate this year.

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Oprah: ’You Don’t Have to Like’ Hillary Clinton to Vote for Her

And she had a stinging answer for those who have an issue with Clinton’s likeability:
“She’s not coming over to your house! You don’t have to like her. You don’t have to like her. Do you like this country? Do you like this country? You better get out there and vote. Do you like the country? Do you like freedom and liberty? Do you like this country? Okay. Do you like democracy or do you want a demagogue?”

Bloop! Oprah has made her point!

Oprah Winfrey has been quiet this election cycle. But don’t take her silence to mean she won’t show up on Election Day, because Hillary Clinton has her vote.

In a T.D. Jakes interview set to air next week, she explains that the tumult of the campaign has kept her from stepping in.

“The reason why I haven’t been vocal, other than saying I’m with her, is because I didn’t know what to say that could actually pierce through all the noise and the chaos and the disgusting vitriol that’s going on and actually be heard,” she says. “But there really is no choice, people.”

Winfrey officially endorsed Clinton for the presidency back in June: “Regardless of your politics, it’s a seminal moment for women,” she told Entertainment Tonight. “What this says is, there is no ceiling, that ceiling just went boom! It says anything is possible when you can be leader of the free world.”

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Shocker: 5 Antigay Right Wingers Who Dumped Trump

Andy Crouch, executive editor, Christianity Today

“Enthusiasm for a candidate like Trump gives our neighbors ample reason to doubt that we believe Jesus is Lord. They see that some of us are so self-interested, and so self-protective, that we will ally ourselves with someone who violates all that is sacred to us—in hope, almost certainly a vain hope given his mendacity and record of betrayal, that his rule will save us.”

Julie Roys, radio talk show host

“I never thought I’d see the day when leading evangelicals would publicly espouse that character doesn’t matter — and that promoting sexual assault is simply ‘bad boy talk.’…I honestly don’t know what makes me more sick. Listening to Trump brag about groping women or listening to my fellow evangelicals defend him.”

Beth Moore, founder, Living Proof Ministries

“I’m one among many women sexually abused, misused, stared down, heckled, talked naughty to. Like we liked it. We didn’t. We’re tired of it. Try to absorb how acceptable the disesteem and objectifying of women has been when some Christian leaders don’t think it’s that big a deal.”

Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission at the Southern Baptist Convention

“These evangelical leaders have said that, for the sake of the ‘lesser of two evils,’ one should stand with someone who not only characterizes sexual decadence and misogyny, brokers in cruelty and nativism, and displays a crazed public and private temperament — but who glories in these things. Some of the very people who warned us about moral relativism and situational ethics now ask us to become moral relativists for the sake of an election.”

Steve Schmidt, campaign manager for John McCain’s 2008 presidential bid.

“It exposes at such a massive scale and at such magnitude the hypocrisy of the Tony Perkinses and the Jerry Falwell Jrs. and the Pat Robertsons. These people are literally the modern-day Pharisees, they are the money changers in the temple, and they will forever be destroyed from a credibility perspective. There are millions of decent, faithful, committed evangelicals in this country who have every right to participate in the political process. But this country doesn’t ever need to hear a lecture from any one of these people [Perkins, Falwell, etc.] again on a values issue, or their denigration of good and decent gay people in this country.”

Many Republicans continue to stand by Donald Trump (largely with gritted teeth), and religious right leaders in particular are full-throated in their support of his election. But not everyone is lining up like a good soldier. From a few surprising quarters, you can hear the dissent.

And, boy, it’s pretty pointed.

The dissenters aren’t just complaining about Trump and his pervy behavior. They are pointedly taking on his supporters, and in particular the family values Christians who are willing to overlook Trump’s behavior as long as he appoints another Scalia to the Supreme Court. With the exception of Steve Schmidt, who has been supportive of gay causes, none of the dissenters are remotely allies. But they are people of principle.

Here are five examples of unexpected opponents who are willing to call out Trump’s Christian supporters for the bald-faced hypocrites they are.

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