The Morning Jolt

Why Is Trump’s Son-in-Law Discussing Creating a Trump Television Network?

If you point out the obvious — that Donald Trump is losing this presidential race, and he’s on track to lose it by a wide margin, and that most of the damage his effort has sustained since early September is self-inflicted — Trump fans, both high and low, go apoplectic. You’re accused of rooting for Hillary. You’re accused of gloating. You’re accused of playing a role in helping “rig” the election — because all the polls are rigged, except the ones showing him ahead. You’re accused of counting your chickens before they hatch. You foolishly ignore a crowd of 18,000 to 20,000 at a Trump rally in Panama Beach, Florida — surely, that crowd indicates how the nearly 8.5 million likely voters in the state will decide in November.

If, as these Trump fans insist, his victory is likely, if not completely assured, and Hillary Clinton’s only chance is a vast conspiracy encompassing every pollster and media outlet, why is Trump looking at setting up a television network?

The Financial Times reports:

Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has informally approached one of the media industry’s top dealmakers about the prospect of setting up a Trump television network after the presidential election in November.

Mr Kushner — an increasingly influential figure in the billionaire’s presidential campaign — contacted Aryeh Bourkoff, the founder and chief executive of LionTree, a boutique investment bank, within the past couple of months, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.

Their conversation was brief and has not progressed since, the people said. Mr Bourkoff and Mr Kushner both declined to comment.

Wouldn’t President Trump be busy . . . you know . . . being president to set up a new television network?

Oh, that’s right, Trump can do both. He can do all things.

By the way, if you think that Fox News was friendlier to Trump than other cable networks . . . an argument that looks stronger if you look at Sean Hannity, weaker if you look at Megyn Kelly — how do you think the network feels about their early coverage of a man who may set up a rival network, that will compete for a significant portion of their current viewership? Maybe this turns out well for Roger Ailes and anyone else who jumps with him to this Trump television network, but that outcome turn outs pretty badly for Fox News as an institution, doesn’t it?

‘Political Terrorism’ in North Carolina. An Outlier or a Harbinger?

Thankfully, no one was hurt.

Republican county offices across North Carolina are being warned after a headquarters in Orange County near Durham was torched by a flammable device and someone spray-painted an anti-GOP slogan referring to “Nazi Republicans” on a nearby wall, authorities said Sunday.

A bottle filled with flammable liquid was thrown through the window of the Orange County Republican Party headquarters overnight, according to a news release from the town of Hillsborough. The substance ignited and damaged the interior before burning out. No one was injured.

On Sunday afternoon, the walls of the multi-room office were covered in black char, and a couch against one wall had been burned down to its springs. Shattered glass covered the floor, and melted campaign yard signs showed warped lettering.

 “This highly disturbing act goes far beyond vandalizing property; it willfully threatens our community’s safety via fire, and its hateful message undermines decency, respect and integrity in civic participation,” Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens said.

“Let me be clear, the Orange County Republican Party, and all of the North Carolina  Republican Party will be open for business tomorrow morning,” executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party Dallas Woodhouse said.

In these final days leading up to the election, a bus will serve as the Orange County GOP headquarters in Hillsborough.

Another business owner discovered the damage Sunday morning. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is working with local investigators.

Calling it an act of “political terrorism,” the North Carolina GOP party ordered all county Republican offices to increase security.

Let’s all take a moment to pause at the irony and/or historical illiteracy required to call someone a Nazi and then threaten them by burning their books and offices.

Sadly, this seems like a foreseeable and perhaps inevitable outcome of a political environment where the opposition is painted as not merely wrong but evil, a force whose malevolence justifies any method or tactic used against them.

The presidential candidates reacted:

While Democrats condemned the bombing, Trump tweeted: “Animals representing Hillary Clinton and Dems in North Carolina just firebombed our office in Orange County because we are winning @NCGOP.”

But Clinton’s campaign tweeted, “The attack on the Orange County HQ @NCGOP office is horrific and unacceptable. Very grateful that everyone is safe.”

The North Carolina Republican Party responded, “Thank you for your thoughts & prayers, Sec. @HillaryClinton.” Later, the party responded to Trump, “Thank you Mr. @realDonaldTrump. We will not be silenced nor suppressed by this evil act. We will pray for those who seek to harm us.”

Give credit where it is due: Some North Carolina Democrats acted quickly and decisively to demonstrate this attack didn’t represent them or their values, and they put their money where their mouth was.

An online campaign reportedly set up by a group of Democrats to help rebuild the firebombed Republican party headquarters in Orange County, N.C, met and surpassed its $10,000 goal only 40 minutes.

The GoFundMe account had raised $13,117 as of Monday morning.

It was set up by a group of Democrats who said they hoped to make a statement against such tactics, which the state’s GOP leaders have called “political terrorism.”

We Need an Economic Boom. We Probably Won’t Get One.

Matthew Continetti’s right; the single most effective tool for toning down America’s atmosphere of rage is a big, bold, broadly-shared, broadly-felt economic boom.

The recovery, while sustained, is by no means perfect. Indeed, we are living through the weakest expansion of the postwar era. President Obama has yet to preside over a single year in which the economy grew by 3 percent. Incomes may be up and poverty down, but the average American remains poorer than he was before the Great Recession began in 2007. Seven million men of working age do not even bother to participate in the labor force. And because the unemployment rate measures only those looking for work, government statistics understate the true number of jobless in the United States.

Second, growth has not been torrid enough to affect all groups positively. Most of the gains have gone to the already prosperous. Extraordinary monetary policies have boosted the worth of owners of assets. Those not invested in the stock market, those who have fallen behind, envy others whose lifestyles can be described only as decadent. Public policy has exacerbated inequality and intensified feelings of unfairness. Discontent and instability persist. Only now is the job market becoming tight enough to benefit the marginal worker. Amazing technology creates and reshapes industries but requires few employees. A boom time would heal all. But this is not a boom.

Who knows if any given economist can peg the start of a recession correctly . . .

By looking at current macroeconomic trends, Savita Subramanian at Bank of America Merrill Lynch extrapolated the timing of the next recession.

“But in examining some of some of our favorite indicators’ recent trends, we did find evidence for an imminent recession,” the BAML equity strategist wrote in a note to clients on Wednesday. “While the range of signals is wide, in aggregate they do suggest that, if data were to continue to weaken in line with the recent pace, history would point to a recession in the second half of 2017.”

. . . the bottom line is that technically the U.S. hasn’t been in recession since June 2009. (Of course, for most Americans, it lasted well into the Obama years, and as noted above, many feel like it never really ended.) Measuring by the U.S. gross domestic product, the longest stretch between recessions was from March 1991 to March 2001. (Funny how we heard so much about economic hard times throughout the 1992 election, huh?) Either we’re going to break the record for the amount of time between recessions, or we’re going to have one before June 2019.

So picture President Hillary Clinton taking the oath of office, deeply personally disliked and distrusted by the electorate, largely elected on her key quality of not being Donald Trump, and a recession hits sometime in 2017. Imagine her blaming her predecessor for the bad economic situation she inherited, and Obama, still in Washington, pointing out what she’s doing wrong. We may look back upon this as the good old days.

ADDENDA: I keep hearing that the old Republican party and conservative philosophy is remarkably unpopular, and that Trump’s populism represents the future. It’s a shame no one bothered to tell the voters that:

“While Trump trails Clinton on every issue tested on the issue handling series, the Republican Party has the advantage over the Democrats on a variety of issues, including the economy by an 18-point margin, taxes by an 11-point margin, jobs by a 6-point margin and foreign affairs by an 8-point margin,” said pollster Ed Goeas, president and CEO of The Tarrance Group. “Republican candidates across the country will be able to run with the advantage in the minds of voters on the key kitchen table issues and on one of the signature issues of the Clinton campaign, foreign affairs. With or without the active assistance of Trump, Republican candidates will be able to run as their own independent entities, whose electoral fortunes will not be tied to the sinking presidential candidate of their party.”

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