Florida man wins primary

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Florida man wins primary

Andrew Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee, scored an upset victory in Tuesday’s Democratic primary to be Florida’s next governor. Gillum trailed in every poll -- the last poll conducted before the primary showed him in fourth place, trailing the leader by double digits -- and was badly outspent by two of his opponents. (Remember: Ignore the polls.)

Gillum defied easy categorization and was able to assemble a winning coalition. During his campaign, he unapologetically embraced progressive policies including Medicare for all, a $15 minimum wage and raising corporate taxes. His campaign gained momentum after he was endorsed by Bernie Sanders in early August.

But Gillum was also an early supporter of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and was a delegate for Clinton at the Democratic Convention.

In this sense, Gillum’s victory presents something of a road map for Democrats looking to November 2018 and 2020. He was able to stitch together all the critical Democratic constituencies: the traditional mainline Democrats, the progressive populist wing and the Democratic core of minority voters.

These groups are frequently placed at odds with one other by the political media. Gillum’s success illustrated a different reality: It’s not that hard for voters from all three groups to rally around a single candidate.   

Gillum v. Trump

One issue where Gillum parts company from Sanders and the Democratic establishment: Impeachment.

While Sanders and Democratic leaders have urged caution on the issue, Gillum called for Trump’s impeachment in December 2017.

“The President said he knew that his National Security Adviser lied to the FBI, so he ordered the FBI director to drop the investigation and then he fired him after he refused to do so. This is an alarming and clear-cut case of obstruction of justice,” Gillum said in a Facebook video, adding “Donald Trump should be impeached now.”

Gillum’s advocacy impressed billionaire Tom Steyer, who is running his own impeachment campaign. Steyer, who does not typically get involved in Democratic primaries, donated about $800,000 to support Gillum’s run.

Donald Trump was somewhat less impressed.

Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump

Not only did Congressman Ron DeSantis easily win the Republican Primary, but his opponent in November is his biggest dream....a failed Socialist Mayor named Andrew Gillum who has allowed crime & many other problems to flourish in his city. This is not what Florida wants or needs!

August 29, 2018

“Call this what it is: RACIST”

Gillum’s opponent is Ron DeSantis, a Trump-adoring Republican Congressman whose campaign ads featured him building a border wall with his daughter and outfitting his infant son in a “Make America Great Again” onesie.

Trump was so enthusiastic about DeSantis that he endorsed him even before he announced his candidacy.

But DeSantis took an ugly turn before the general election campaign could even get started. Appearing on Fox News Wednesday morning, DeSantis called Gillum “articulate” and urged Florida voters not to “monkey it up.”

Incoming Florida House Minority Leader Kionne McGhee (D), who is also African American, said in a statement,“Shame on you Ron DeSantis. But even more, shame on those who remain quiet and refuse to call this what it is: RACIST.”

DeSantis’ campaign defended his remarks, saying it was “absurd” for anyone to take offense.

But it was too much even for Fox News. In an unusual on-air statement, Fox News host Sandra Smith said the network did not “condone” DeSantis’ remarks.

DeSantis’ ugly history

Does DeSantis deserve the benefit of the doubt? Let’s review his history.

At a campaign event in May, a member of the audience yelled out that Florida should “bring back the hanging tree.” Another audience member offered “a tree and a rope in my backyard.” (The discussion was about a man convicted of raping and murdering an 11-year-old.)

Asked by media about the outburst, DeSantis defended the audience members who suggested a return to lynching, supporting their right to “strong and not at all politically correct feelings.”

A member of DeSantis’ national finance committee, David Bossie, was suspended by Fox News in June for using a racial slur on national television. The DeSantis campaign declined to comment.

After Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won her Democratic primary on June 26, DeSantis “jab[bed] at the racial and ethnic identity of the candidate.”

In 2017, DeSantis spoke at an event hosted by Islamophobe David Horowitz called “Restoration Weekend.” Horowitz, coincidentally, recently downplayed the problem of anti-black lynchings in the Old South in an odd series of tweets.

Among the speakers appearing at “Restoration Weekend” with DeSantis was Milo Yiannopoulos, who was forced out of Breitbart after he was exposed laundering white nationalist propaganda in his articles. DeSantis’ speech to the group became a hit on Gab, a social network that caters to white nationalists and neo-Nazis because he discussed the urgency of preserving “Western Civilization.”  

Former RNC chair Michael Steele has heard enough.

NBC News@NBCNews

Former RNC Chair Michael Steele says he doesn't give Ron DeSantis the benefit of the doubt on his "monkey" comment toward Andrew Gillum: "It's how white folks talk about black men who are successful." via @MSNBC https://t.co/LnVsRDpknI

August 29, 2018

Gillum’s biggest threat

The biggest obstacle to Gillum’s candidacy might not be DeSantis but a wide-ranging FBI investigation of the Tallahassee government, where he’s served as mayor since 2014.

The FBI is investigating public corruption in the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency. The most specific allegations, made public in a search warrant, concern “longtime City Commissioner and former Mayor Scott Maddox in an alleged pay-for-play scheme involving his close friend Paige Carter-Smith, their lobbying firm and companies doing business with the city.”

There was no allegation that Gillum has been involved in any wrongdoing and Gillum says the FBI told him that he is “not the focus of an investigation.” He has pledged to cooperate.

Still, the issue was mostly in the background of the Democratic primary as Gillum trailed in the polls. It’s likely to receive more scrutiny in the general election.

America’s dysfunctional economy, in one chart

What was the impact of Trump’s tax cut?

Real wages for workers are declining. But corporate profits, according to new Commerce Department data released Wednesday, are booming.

In the second quarter of 2018, “after-tax profits across the U.S. rose 16.1%” compared to last year. Tax payments, largely as a result of the new tax bill, “were down 33%.”

Here is how corporate profits look compared to wages during the Trump presidency in one chart.

Ballooning corporate profits and stagnant wages were cheered by the administration’s economic leadership. “The economy is strong…[inflation] is near our 2% objective, and most people who want a job are finding one,” Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said last week.

Trump, however, did not campaign as a champion of corporations but of the “forgotten man and woman.”

“We’ll get your salaries and your wages up, up, up,” Trump said at a September 2016 rally.

But under his leadership, “[o]nce the impact of inflation is included, ordinary Americans’ hourly earnings are lower than they were a year ago.”

It’s hard to fool Americans, who get a reality check from their paychecks each week. “A majority of voters believes their personal financial situation has remained the same or gotten worse over the past two years,” according to a recent poll from Quinnipiac.

In recent speeches, Trump has “falsely claimed that wages are going up for the first time in 18 years, 19 years, 20 years, 21 years and 22 years.”

Trump’s new bogus attack on Google

On Wednesday morning, I detailed Trump’s baseless claims that Google and other tech companies discriminate against conservatives.

Trump continued his attacks on Wednesday afternoon, posting a video which alleges that, unlike its practice with Obama, Google did not promote Trump’s 2018 State of the Union address.

As of this writing, the claim has been shared 23,000 times on Twitter. It is completely false.

Google did promote Trump’s 2018 State of the Union address. A screenshot was posted to a pro-Trump Reddit community, r/The_Donald.

Google did not promote Trump’s 2017 State of the Union because, like most newly inaugurated presidents, Trump did not deliver one.

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Doug Hill@DougHill25

Excellent explanation by #popularinfo of where @realDonaldTrump's out-of-the-blue attack on #Google's supposed liberal bias came from (and why it is -- big surprise -- total bullshit). https://t.co/QV1cOaiMwH

August 29, 2018
Don Hart@hartmus

Great newsletter today from @JuddLegum: "...The real scandal is not that technology companies are censoring right-wing news. It’s that right-wing media gets enormous distribution on tech platforms, even if their content is inaccurate or misleading..." https://t.co/wSNEku2BXp

August 29, 2018
Josh Kendrick@mr_joshkendrick

Im subscribed to this and it's great every single dayhttps://t.co/lwHpOaE7QV

August 29, 2018