Debate 3: Why be surprised by Trump’s unsurprising election-results remark?

REUTERS/Mike Blake
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton shown at the end of their third and final presidential campaign debate at UNLV in Las Vegas, Nevada.

I understand why people are bothered that Donald Trump was unwilling to say whether he will abide by the results of the election, I just don’t really understand how they can be so surprised. He’s been saying for quite a while that the election is being rigged against him. His running mate and his campaign manager and a lot of other people have been saying it’s not rigged and urging him for some time to cut out saying it is, and he wouldn’t. He’s not very good at backing down from regrettable things he says. So why act shocked when he wouldn’t cut it out just because moderator Chris Wallace asked him to?

OK, so I take it from the talking heads after the debate that that was the big headline, that Trump said he would leave us in “suspense” about whether he would accept the result. And when the history is written, it will go down as the big “gaffe” of the night. I said in a previous post that almost all the famous “gaffes” were stupid accidental misspeaks or, often, not even misspeaks but body language mistakes. But when Trump said the election was rigged he said something he’s been saying for weeks, so, to repeat myself, I don’t get why it’s either surprising or a “gaffe.”

In the aftermath, the Trump-sympathetic cleanup crew that was on the post-debate shows immediately suggested a much better answer he could have and should have given. When asked by Wallace whether he would abide by the results, he could and should have said something like: “Let’s see what the results are. If the outcome is very close and I narrowly lost in a key state or two in which there appear to have been improprieties, I would reserve the right to contest the result, just like Al Gore did in 2000, in a peaceful, legal challenge.”

Something different from fraud

But there’s two problems with that suggestion. First of all, Trump has shown little interest to date in coming across as sane, reasonable, or, God knows, measured on such matters. But secondly — and this seems like the bigger problem to me — while some of Trump’s followers, including Rudy Giuliani, have talked about actual voting improprieties to defend Trump’s talk of a rigged election, when Trump plays the “rigged” card, he apparently means something completely different from voter fraud.

He cites three big reasons the election is rigged, and only one of them has to do with voter fraud. He did it again last night. He said the election is rigged because Hillary Clinton is a felon who should not be allowed to run against him. And he says it is rigged because the media coverage of him has been unfair.

Seriously, I’ll attach that portion of the debate transcript at the bottom of this post. Leave aside, for the moment, the widely accepted understanding that voter fraud in U.S. elections is quite rare and unlikely to rise to the level of flipping a presidential election result. (People keep talking about the 1960 Kennedy victory, which probably was aided by fraud, but election administration has advance enormously in the last 50 years).

Trump is actually more insistent about the other two causes – the media rigging and the Clinton-is-a-criminal causes. And, can you really go to court to peacefully contest the election on the ground that the news media treated you unfairly?


I’ll also attach at the bottom the transcript of Trump’s discussion of the situation in Aleppo, Syria. I’m nominating it for the least coherent remarks ever made in a presidential debate. See if you can top it.

A few other thoughts from last night:

How about just one microphone?

Chris Wallace is getting raves in general for his performance as moderator. I think he did well. But this debate nonetheless strengthened my argument that stronger measures are needed to prevent the candidates interrupting each other or even, especially last night, talking over each other. A rather obvious, low-tech solution, would be to have a podium and only one microphone, on that podium, and have the candidates take turns speaking. If that sounds crazy, it was done in the famed Kennedy-Nixon debates in 1960. They were seated until it was their turn to talk, then walked up to the podium, where the mike was.

Or, at least, cut off the mike of the candidate whose turn it is to be quiet.

The interrupting problem last night was better for the first few minutes. In fact, Trump was on what my favorite second-grade teacher used to call “best behavior” for much of the first portion. We’ve grown so used to his rude tactics that he seemed almost like a normal candidate. Clinton actually seemed to be taunting him, maybe even hoping to set him off. And I think she succeeded, perhaps during segment three, which was supposed to be about the candidates’ relative fitness for the presidency. Clinton brought up the parade of women who have claimed to be groped by Trump, which led to three ludicrous claims by Trump that a) those women ‘s accounts have “been largely debunked”; that b) Clinton’s campaign was behind the women’s claims; and that c) “Nobody has more respect for women than I do. Nobody.” (That last one had Clinton laughing audibly.)

Trump retaliated by classifying the Clinton Foundation as a “criminal enterprise” and, later, by arguing that the only reason for the assault on Mosul is that the Obama administration wants to make Clinton look good before the election.

Old norms replaced

The opening segment, which was about Supreme Court appointments, reinforced the arguments I made recently that the old norms of deferring to the justices on matters of constitutional interpretation have been replaced by candidates who publicly announce that they will nominate justices who will rule a specific way on specific matters. The Second Amendment right to bear arms, and the Roe v. Wade ruling on abortions were the main two on which both candidates promised nominees who would vote the party line.

Thankfully, last night ends the debate season. Here, as promised, the portion in which Trump explains that, among the reasons he might not accept the election results are that the media has treated him unfairly and that Clinton should not have been allowed to run against him:

WALLACE: Mr. Trump, I want to ask you about one last question in this topic. You have been warning at rallies recently that this election is rigged and that Hillary Clinton is in the process of trying to steal it from you.

Your running mate, Governor Pence, pledged on Sunday that he and you — his words — “will absolutely accept the result of this election.” Today your daughter, Ivanka, said the same thing. I want to ask you here on the stage tonight: Do you make the same commitment that you will absolutely — sir, that you will absolutely accept the result of this election?

TRUMP: I will look at it at the time. I’m not looking at anything now. I’ll look at it at the time.

What I’ve seen — what I’ve seen is so bad. First of all, the media is so dishonest and so corrupt, and the pile-on is so amazing. The New York Times actually wrote an article about it, but they don’t even care. It’s so dishonest. And they’ve poisoned the mind of the voters.

But unfortunately for them, I think the voters are seeing through it. I think they’re going to see through it. We’ll find out on November 8th. But I think they’re going to see through it.

WALLACE: But, sir, there’s …

TRUMP: If you look — excuse me, Chris — if you look at your voter rolls, you will see millions of people that are registered to vote — millions, this isn’t coming from me — this is coming from Pew Report and other places — millions of people that are registered to vote that shouldn’t be registered to vote.

So let me just give you one other thing. So I talk about the corrupt media. I talk about the millions of people — tell you one other thing. She shouldn’t be allowed to run. It’s crooked — she’s — she’s guilty of a very, very serious crime. She should not be allowed to run.

And just in that respect, I say it’s rigged, because she should never …


TRUMP: Chris, she should never have been allowed to run for the presidency based on what she did with e-mails and so many other things.

WALLACE: But, sir, there is a tradition in this country — in fact, one of the prides of this country — is the peaceful transition of power and that no matter how hard-fought a campaign is, that at the end of the campaign that the loser concedes to the winner. Not saying that you’re necessarily going to be the loser or the winner, but that the loser concedes to the winner and that the country comes together in part for the good of the country. Are you saying you’re not prepared now to commit to that principle?

TRUMP: What I’m saying is that I will tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense. OK?

CLINTON: Well, Chris, let me respond to that, because that’s horrifying. You know, every time Donald thinks things are not going in his direction, he claims whatever it is, is rigged against him.

The FBI conducted a year-long investigation into my e-mails. They concluded there was no case; he said the FBI was rigged. He lost the Iowa caucus. He lost the Wisconsin primary. He said the Republican primary was rigged against him. Then Trump University gets sued for fraud and racketeering; he claims the court system and the federal judge is rigged against him. There was even a time when he didn’t get an Emmy for his TV program three years in a row and he started tweeting that the Emmys were rigged against him.

TRUMP: Should have gotten it. (LAUGHTER)

CLINTON: This is — this is a mindset. This is how Donald thinks. And it’s funny, but it’s also really troubling.


CLINTON: So that is not the way our democracy works. We’ve been around for 240 years. We’ve had free and fair elections. We’ve accepted the outcomes when we may not have liked them. And that is what must be expected of anyone standing on a debate stage during a general election. You know, President Obama said the other day when you’re whining before the game is even finished …

Most incoherent ramble in debate history

And here is the other excerpted I promised above, which I nominated for most incoherent ramble in debate history. Wallace tried to give Trump a chance to clean up a small mess from the previous debate, when Trump said that Aleppo has “fallen.” In fact, it hasn’t “fallen” because it’s still being fought over. Trump responded:

 TRUMP: Well, Aleppo is a disaster. It’s a humanitarian nightmare. But it has ‘fallen’ from the — from any standpoint. I mean, what do you need, a signed document? Take a look at Aleppo. It is so sad when you see what’s happened.

And a lot of this is because of Hillary Clinton, because what’s happened is, by fighting Assad, who turned out to be a lot tougher than she thought, and now she’s going to say, ‘oh, he loves Assad,’ she’s — he’s just much tougher and much smarter than her and Obama. And everyone thought he was gone two years ago, three years ago. He — he aligned with Russia.

He now also aligned with Iran, who we made very powerful. We gave them $150 billion back. We give them $1.7 billion in cash. I mean, cash. Bundles of cash as big as this stage. We gave them $1.7 billion.

Now they have — he has aligned with Russia and with Iran. They don’t want ISIS, but they have other things, because we’re backing — we’re backing rebels. We don’t know who the rebels are. We’re giving them lots of money, lots of everything. We don’t know who the rebels are. And when and if — and it’s not going to happen, because you have Russia and you have Iran now. But if they ever did overthrow Assad, you might end up with — as bad as Assad is, and he’s a bad guy, but you may very well end up with worse than Assad.

If she did nothing, we’d be in much better shape. And this is what’s caused the great migration, where she’s taking in tens of thousands of Syrian refugees, who probably in many cases — not probably, who are definitely …

WALLACE: Let me …

TRUMP: … in many cases, ISIS-aligned, and we now have them in our country, and wait until you see — this is going to be the great Trojan horse. And wait until you see what happens in the coming years. Lots of luck, Hillary. Thanks a lot for doing a great job.

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Comments (48)

  1. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 10/20/2016 - 09:45 am.

    Only Four Words are required


  2. Submitted by Jim Million on 10/20/2016 - 09:52 am.

    Summary Conclusion:

    Platform planks may become water skis or diving boards…

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 10/20/2016 - 11:09 am.


      I find your comment interesting, since these two have incredibly different stated platforms. And the commenters here are fascinated with behaviors.

      I find Hillary’s plan to increase taxes greatly, grow government intrusion / spending, nominate Liberal activist justices, etc very concerning. I hope the GOP stays in control of the House and Senate…

      Of course then we will need to listen to continuing comments from the Left regarding how the GOP is stalling the proper functioning of the government…

      • Submitted by Sean Olsen on 10/20/2016 - 02:59 pm.

        “Increase taxes greatly”

        Hillary Clinton’s tax increase proposal is about $50 billion a year, about 1.3% of the federal budget.

        What ought to be concerning to someone who loves to debt scold is the fact that the Republican candidate is proposing to slash taxes by over 10 times that amount with no meaningful corresponding spending cuts.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 10/23/2016 - 11:21 am.


          I find it very difficult that Hillary is going to pay for her wish list with $50 Billion…

          Let’s name them…

          Free or reduced Higher Education for many
          College loan reductions for many
          Increased infrastructure spending
          Stabilize social security and medicare
          Stabilize ACA / Universal Healthcare
          Additional investment in training and clean energies
          Addiction and Mental Health treatment investments
          Increase welfare spending (ie no child in poverty)
          Especially when the additional taxes, regulations, mandated benefits / wages, etc will pressure companies to automate or off shore more jobs…

          Now I whole heartedly dislike Trumps plan however it would reduce the cost of doing business in the USA, so more companies may stay, locate or expand here. The big question is what will finally convince companies like Toyota to move their Prius manufacturing here? Please remember that the consumer has decided that foreign made product is fine and they happily send their money over seas instead of into the pockets of American workers.

  3. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 10/20/2016 - 10:01 am.

    Donald Trump is that latest station on the track of Republican attempts to deny the legitimacy of Democratic politicians. Begun in the first Clinton administration, through the Obama administration, and now into the probable second Clinton administration.

    It is entirely predictable from the Republican treatment of Obama that the next Democratic president would have to be even “worser” and less legitimate. Recall that the last “successful” Republican president was 30 years ago, and that “success” depends on the current crop of Republicans actually ignoring what that 3 decades past President actually did.

    And it is true, these actions by the Republicans from the first Clinton administration have been a fundamental rebuttal to the nature of a democracy, where power peacefully passes from hand-to-hand, compromise is necessary, and perhaps the other guy has some good ideas also.

    But hey, complain about media bias—pretend that what you said two days, two weeks or 2 years ago in another place will never surface. You say or do dumb, hateful things, and surprise–they are recorded and regurgitated later. That’s unfair !!

  4. Submitted by John Evans on 10/20/2016 - 10:04 am.

    On Social Security

    Clinton promised that she will not agree to any cut in Social Security benefits. Trump evaded the question.

  5. Submitted by Sean O'Brien on 10/20/2016 - 11:04 am.

    “Most incoherent ramble in debate history”

    Great header and my exact thoughts while watching last night. To use his own words, the man is truly “a disaster.”

    I was impressed with Clinton on the topic of abortion, one of the most sensitive and divisive issues in America for decades. She expressed more passion and thoughtfulness in that segment than we usually see from her. It was one of the few times I thought she was truly genuine and speaking as herself. As a Catholic liberal, also male, I have some very conflicted feelings on abortion myself, but I thought she made a forceful argument for why the choice should remain with a woman and her family members and acknowledged the difficulty of this personal decision for any woman considering it.

    That said, I’m not impressed with (and sadly did not expect to be) the total disregard for the intended apolitical nature of the Supreme Court by both candidates…

  6. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 10/20/2016 - 11:16 am.

    Why be surprised?

    Why be surprised about any of Mr. Trump’s assertions in the final debate? He’s shown himself, proved himself, to be an insufferable boor – the physically-adult embodiment of that 5th-grade bully who made elementary school so unpleasant for so many, boys and girls alike – since early in the campaign, so saying he’ll wait and see whether he’ll contest the election results is just one more in a long string of (mostly) veiled threats and innuendoes against other candidates, our institutions, and the election process itself.

    The fact that he won the Republican nomination in as fair and square a manner as one might hope for not only makes his “the election is rigged” claim laughably dishonest, it reflects… um… shall we say, “poorly” on the Republican electorate. Ms. Clinton may have gone too far in calling them “a basket of deplorables,” but that doesn’t make her assertion inaccurate, just politically tone-deaf. Trump has consistently and repeatedly shown us that he very nearly revels in the character flaws that most of his more-civilized fellow-citizens find so appalling, whether he’s talking about sexual assault or foreign policy. His many supporters are simply admitting, or in some cases, boasting, that they share the same bigoted views as their candidate. Calling them “deplorables” does nothing to advance the cause of civilization, but trying to pretend that the party that nominated Mr. Trump doesn’t share a basket of prejudices similar to his is an exercise in falsehood. I’m much less surprised and disappointed by those Republican figures who have said they can’t support Trump than I am by similar public figures (e.g., Paul Ryan) who continue to assert that they DO support this cowardly excuse for a reputable candidate in a campaign for the presidency.

    At least as well as any of the others whose online presence makes life a little less pleasant, Mr. Trump fits quite well into the category of “troll,” and richly deserves the less-than-admiring opinion he has worked so diligently to cultivate.

    • Submitted by Mark Countryman on 10/23/2016 - 05:23 pm.

      About those “basket of deplorables”:

      Agreed, Ms. Clinton crossed a line when she called half of Donald Trump’s supporters “deplorable”, but she has owned up to that and admitted it was a mistake. That being said, let me share a little story.

      Our home is on a Minneapolis Parkway, along the Twin Cities Marathon route. We have no political signs in front of our house. However, my next-door-neighbor does. He has a large, home-made Clinton-Kaine sign in his yard that he put up a few weeks before the TCM. Nothing obnoxious or over-the-top; just “Vote for Hillary 2016”.

      On Wednesday afternoon, October 19th, the afternoon before the the debate, my son was sitting outside on our front stoop. A car drove past, noticed my neighbor’s sign, then looked at my son, gave him a “stink eye”, and tossed out of his window a Mountain Dew bottle, threw it in the boulevard right in front of our house, then drove off. My son was stunned by the audacity of this behavior, but he picked it up and threw it in our recycling, because he knew that it would upset me to see trash from a vehicle in my front yard. Then, a short while later, yet another vehicle drove past, and taking notice of my neighbor’s sign, the driver gave my son the middle finger.

      When he recounted this incident to his mother and me, I asked him if he recognized either of those vehicles, or their occupants. He says that he did not; he’d never seen either one. Again, the sign isn’t in our yard; it isn’t even close to the property line.

      Draw your own conclusions from this, but the only apparent accounting for this behavior was the sign in my neighbor’s yard. They must have assumed that we put it up, or we supported its being there, and they hate both it and Hillary Clinton, and for that reason one person gave my son the middle finger, and another threw trash in front of my yard.

  7. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 10/20/2016 - 11:18 am.

    The final Dr. Google diagnosis:

    “Self Awareness is having a clear perception of your personality, including strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation, and emotions. Self Awareness allows you to understand other people, how they perceive you, your attitude and your responses to them in the moment.”

    Donald Trump is the least self aware person ever to run for President, no scratch that, to run for any elected office, no scratch that, to draw a breath.

  8. Submitted by Greg Gaut on 10/20/2016 - 11:48 am.

    The Days After

    It is hard not to focus on how Trump’s comment will impact the voting, but I am increasingly worried about what will happen in the days after the election. I hope there are no close votes in battleground states. The atmosphere Trump has created, and the millions of people who buy into his myths, could lead to serious instability and violence. It almost seems as if Trump is consciously creating a “stab in the back” myth upon which to build a lasting movement. Note not only the talk of rigged elections, but also the constant charge, however incoherent, that Obama, Clinton and the generals have allegedly allowed ISIS, Iran and whoever to have their way.

  9. Submitted by Robert Owen on 10/20/2016 - 11:51 am.

    Or why care that he said it?

    So what if Trump won’t declare that he’ll support the election results? He’s not going to park his car in front of the White House next January honking the horn hoping someone lets him in.

    Both parties have examples of their people not accepting election results as legitimate. This time, because it’s the hated Donald Trump, it’s just an excuse to complain about him one more time.

    • Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 10/20/2016 - 01:34 pm.

      Robert, apparently you don’t watch the news

      He has been inciting his followers to violence since the beginning. We regularly hear sound bites now from his followers that they will take up arms in his favor. He is playing with fire to try to force his way into office. I believe that Trump is a coward but I don’t believe his many followers are. He is willing to risk the downfall of our country, of our democracy, to get his way. That is so what.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/23/2016 - 03:10 pm.

      Both Sides Do It!

      “Both parties have examples of their people not accepting election results as legitimate” When has it ever been the party-endorsed nominee for President, announcing in advance the only result he will accept is one that goes in his favor?

      You might also explain to me what both parties having examples has to do with whether something is right or wrong.

      “This time, because it’s the hated Donald Trump, it’s just an excuse to complain about him one more time.” Is it really “complaining” to recite accurately what he has said in public?

  10. Submitted by joe smith on 10/20/2016 - 01:28 pm.

    Trump is a rambling guy who can’t

    stay on message for 2 minutes. He says many things I don’t understand or doesn’t set up his argument very well. When Hillary talked about violence at his rallies he didn’t take 30 seconds to set up his argument about how an arm of the DNC took money from Hillary campaign to pay agitators to go to Trump rallies and cause fights. The head of the Community Organization, who set up these violent protests, is married to a Chicago politician and has been to the White House 300+ times, 40 with the President….. I’m sure most folks didn’t even know of the tape that shows folks in their own words bragging about causing violence at Trump rallies. They both were fired from Hillary campaign and DNC yesterday when the tape came out. No brainer for most politicians to corner Hillary into defending those actions….

    I see where Hillary hammered away on the poll tested tax the rich mantra for the whole evening. Can someone please tell me how taxing the wealthy and corporations more is going to grow the middle class? Please no Paul Krugman theory based hope, just hard facts to show taxing one group makes the middle class grow. I know a wealthy guy who starts a company giving folks a job creates wealth just not sure how trying to take money from one group grows middle class? Didn’t we just have 8 years of this theory with Obama?

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 10/20/2016 - 03:18 pm.

      Violence and Jobs

      I find it amazing that folks commenting here are still commenting on Trump “inciting violence” given that apparently Clinton and crew paid people to do it.

      I think the theory is that if you tax wealthy people more and use it to lower college costs for the poor, give welfare to the poor and give tax credits to the poor, somehow they will get into the middle class. It makes sense, however the failed war on poverty and the terrible failures within our public school system show that it does not work… There are apparently confounding human psychology factors in play. (ie why work to buy the cow if you can get the milk for free)

      My interest as always is that the Clinton plan increases the cost of doing business and investing in the USA. More taxes, more regulation, higher minimum wages, higher minimum benefits, etc. And makes it easier for illegal low end wage earners to stay here.

      How exactly is this going to reduce the cost, increase the quality, increase the functionality, increase the cool factor, etc so that American consumers will be willing to spend more for American made products and services??? Will it encourage to buy a Michigan made Ford over the Japanese made Subaru? If it doesn’t, it just means more US companies will move or go bankrupt.

      • Submitted by Bruce Johnson on 10/20/2016 - 07:20 pm.

        James O’Keefe

        Joe & John, surely you know the guy who produced the “agitating violence” videos is the Project Veritas scam artist James O’Keefe? Consider also reading about his latest work at Wonkette. Warning for rough language and factual information.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 10/20/2016 - 10:37 pm.


          Were the personnel terminations in those Democratic sponsored groups also made up? Sometimes there is fire where there is smoke…

          • Submitted by Bruce Johnson on 10/21/2016 - 04:38 pm.

            No, as stated in both articles, those people were gone immediately, probably because they had done wrong and certainly because they were an embarrassment. Are you embarrassed for repeating the lie in the first paragraph of the comment to which I replied?

            • Submitted by John Appelen on 10/22/2016 - 08:24 am.


              For better or worse the Managers of employees are responsible for the actions of their employees. And at this point we have no idea if the Democratic Leaders just fired them as scape goats, or if they just found out about their behavior.

              I don’t think either side can say for sure who in that organization knew that this was happening. So we do not know the truth / lie, only opinion.

              • Submitted by Jim Million on 10/24/2016 - 09:36 am.

                Fair Point

                When many branches grow so many small budding twigs, it’s pretty difficult for the tree trunk to keep track of the action…unless, of course, it has knowingly pushed more sap that way.

                • Submitted by John Appelen on 10/24/2016 - 05:23 pm.

                  Often it seems that many people want to hold the CEO accountable for what is happening in those twigs. I mean look at what happened at VW. Is this different?

                  • Submitted by Jim Million on 10/24/2016 - 08:05 pm.

                    Somewhat different, sure

                    VW is a corporate structure of pretty exacting segment responsibilites and accountability, of course. I’m not so sure either DNC or RNC could approach that level of organization and control. I agree that CEOs are often called to account for those twigs; however, we do understand the military-style delegation of duties.

                    I believe the CEO should know some twig details of various branches, but the focus should be on the branches, as it usually is. Some CEOs have the capacity to be pretty familiar with twigs, even a few of their buds. Some CEOs have certainly also been shown to be both trunk and root of the problems, eventually killing the entire tree [ENRON]. In any case, it’s pretty unreasonable to expect American political parties to run as effectively as most any German manufacturing company. Their own national government does not, as Merkel’s power gradually weakens through new coalitions required by recent public election realities.
                    [Ah, but now I’ve steered you into looking at the bark.]

      • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 10/21/2016 - 10:25 am.

        A happy medium…

        Can be seen in the comparison of the TPAW and Dayton regimes. Tax cutting and tax relief was the holy grail of TPAW: anything, budget shifts, fees, accounting gymnastics all focused on tax minimizing. This resulted in always being one step away from financial calamity.

        Dayton rights the ship, the taxes do not lead to immediate financial ruin as we were told during the election and, all in all, things pick up and our state’s outlook brightens.

        Now, I know you will find all kinds of fault with this analysis; but, it is undeniable that:

        1. TPAW skinnyed everything up.
        2. Dayton raised taxes to undue the skinnying
        3. We were told all manner of disaster would follow the tax increase.
        4. Disater did not follow and things have worked out pretty well since

        Which gets to my general point:

        Your general business concept that every tax cut is good and every tax increase is bad is simply not true: there is a happy and functional middle ground.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 10/22/2016 - 08:29 am.

          Personally I am for leaving taxes where they are and cutting spending / increasing government effectiveness to live within them.

          The total government spend is $6+ Trillion or 37% of the country’s GDP… I think they should be able to do more better with that HUGE budget.

          • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 10/25/2016 - 03:38 pm.

            Of course…

            That HUGE budget is #22 out of the 25 most industrialized nations as a % of GDP.

            Government spending as a % of GDP does represent re-investing in the selected countries needs and prospects.

            My Minnesota sensibilities say we likely do need to match our Scandinavian brothers and sisters in the top 5, but, maybe a nice dead center #13 out of 22 at 44% (just behind Span & Germany and a little ahead of GB) solves all of our Social Security woes, brings our infra-structure to world class standards and goes a long ways to a sustainable healthcare solution.

            Fix those 3 items and next thing you know everybody’s feeling pretty good on the right track/wrong track continuum and, since perception is reality, thinking we’re great is a condition on the way to being great.

            Try selling that to Paul Ryan on making America great again…..

            • Submitted by John Appelen on 10/26/2016 - 11:04 am.

              Best Practices

              You live in the most influential and wealthy country in the world…

              And you think we should adopt practices of country’s who have been struggling to compete globally / grow economically?

              Now I do support learning from the best practices of others, however I prefer that they are truly more effective / efficient.

        • Submitted by Jim Million on 10/22/2016 - 01:32 pm.


          That is core economic admission. Thank you for noting. I’m not so sure about the middle ground being “happy,” but maybe more content. Most people likely yearn for longterm equalibrium more than anything else.

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 10/21/2016 - 07:09 am.

      Short memories = convenient memories

      In 1993 Bill Clinton and every D and no Rs passed a 20% plus tax increase.

      In 2001 and 2003 GW Bush passed tax cuts of a similar combined magnitude.

      I’ll let you tell me how the economy improved or declined in the years following each of those events for the middle class.




  11. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 10/20/2016 - 03:04 pm.

    The Frontline (PBS) dual biographies of Clinton and Trump (“The Choice”), which came out a few weeks ago, has a segment on how Donald Trump’s obsession with being “a killer” who always wins has led him to invent excuses for the many times he doesn’t win one of his enormous risk-taking ventures. He blames someone else, if he can’t get away with outright calling a loss a win (he tried that with the housing discrimination case he lost, early in his real estate career, the way last night he tried to portray paying one of his legal settlements with Trump Foundation money as a “charitable contribution,” because to pay with Foundation money is illegal). So for a bit more than the last month of a campaign even he realizes he’s going to lose big, Trump has begun the whining–the precise verb, so well-used by Obama Tuesday–that is meant to preemptively explain that everyone else but he himself is responsible for his electoral loss.

    [“Mooooommmmm! Everybody’s picking on me!”]

    He will do everything his tormented mind can imagine, to contest the validity of the outcome of this national contest where he–contrary to his father’s characterization of him as “a killer” who beats everybody who opposes him–is a loser.

    What most people seem to expect is that Trump will file suit against the vote count in states where he loses closely. Like Al Gore in 2000 challenging Florida’s count. But, does anyone believe that Donald Trump will “leave it at that,” the peaceful way Gore did, when a Supreme Court rigging stopped the ballot count and threw the Florida electoral votes to Bush? Gore stepped back, in the face of a Constitutional crisis on the validity of ballots cast and state-sponsored balloting chicanery, and let the matter stand as decided by the court. Despite the fact that Gore had won a national plurality of more than half a million ballots over Bush.

    When you combine a possibly endless Trump legal challenge of a Clinton win with his incitement of his supporters to physical violence, you have a nightmare scenario.

    • Submitted by Sean Olsen on 10/21/2016 - 12:14 pm.

      It should also be pointed out that the Florida recount in 2000 wasn’t triggered by a Gore challenge; it was triggered by Florida state law which mandates a recount when election results are within 0.5%. (Just as the 2008 Senate and 2010 Governor recounts were triggered here.) Both sides of the Florida recount initiated lawsuits regarding their interpretations of Florida state law that governed the recount — and recall that the final case decided in the Supreme Court (Bush v. Gore) had Bush as the plaintiff.

  12. Submitted by Carrie Preston on 10/20/2016 - 03:13 pm.

    Trump Wins?

    In order to save myself from having a stroke, I am done trying to figure out this guy.

    If Trump says he won the debate, then in his mind, he won. If he thinks he is winning all those polls, then in his mind, he wins..

    You could not convince him otherwise if you tied him to a chair and used a megaphone to deliver the real results.

    It’s a Trump world and we’re all just living in it.

  13. Submitted by Jim Million on 10/20/2016 - 06:45 pm.

    Why does Trump hysteria continue to build?

    Did this last debate somehow not seem to seal the HRC deal? Haven’t seen any new (seemingly irrelevant for many here) polls to indicate shifting numbers since last night. Is it possible that all this continuing Trump trauma is a psychological device to somehow create greater conviction–where lackng– in a vote for her? If one continues to obsess over Trump and bash all things Donald, is one made less queezy about voting for HRC? I really don’t get it. If the high-powered corporate DNC machine can’t finish this, well, then I guess most people should absolutely doubt the state of our nation. Maybe it is time to face that possibility of two dysfunctional parties of old now vulnerable to 21st Century realities. Maybe, but don’t really know if that’s likely.

    Anyone have some rational insight to this seemingly misplaced fear? I’m not hearing much of this in the world beyond MinnPost comments to Eric’s pieces. [wag, wag ??]

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 10/21/2016 - 09:19 pm.

      The remaining mystery…

      Would seem to be that many Trump voters are simply to ashamed to tell anyone that they support him. I get that the MINNPOST readership is left leaning; but, find anyone in the comments section all in on Trump and standing proud in his defense.

      Listen to the crickets here.

      Yet, I would be wiling to bet that once in the safety and security of the voting booth there will be plenty of Trump votes from even MINNPOST readers and commenters.

      Of course they all will deny it.

      I am betting that Trump will over perform his final poll numbers…

      • Submitted by Pat Berg on 10/22/2016 - 07:03 am.

        Which is exactly why . . .

        Clinton supporters (or Trump deniers, depending on which side of the coin one prefers) cannot afford to get complacent about the probability of her win/his loss.

        No, the drumbeat absolutely needs to continue right up until election day to make sure EVERY voter gets out there and actually votes rather than assuming the polls, trends, and other voters will do it for them.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 10/22/2016 - 08:18 am.

          In the Bag

          Now I find many reasons to disapprove of Trump, however I will likely vote for him. I guess I am one of those “Clinton Deniers”. As I noted above: her path leads to a dark place.

          To the Democratic voters, “I am sure it will be a slam dunk for Clinton so you can stay home on election day.” 🙂

      • Submitted by Jim Million on 10/22/2016 - 01:11 pm.


        It does seem the Trumpists have gone quiet. Is that a possible cause for queeziness among HRC supporters–the persistent fear of hidden possibilities?. Maybe. I don’t know about under/over performing polls, simply because I really don’t believe the 2016 polling is close to reliable.

  14. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 10/22/2016 - 09:57 am.

    I second Pat’s recommendation: Don’t believe polls, but go out and vote!

    The first election of which I was aware, as a small child, was the gigantic surprise there was in 1948 when the polls that had predicted a Dewey win over Truman were wrong–newspapers had headlines on the day after the ballot, announcing President-elect Dewey when Truman had actually won.

    There may, I agree, lots of embarrassed Trump supporters who will only make their preference noted in the actual ballot and keep that secret from their families and friends and co-workers. But sensible voters can outnumber them.

  15. Submitted by Jim Million on 10/22/2016 - 01:23 pm.

    Clinton supporters/Trump evaders:

    That’s got to be one of the most intellectually stressed alliances in political history. I guess we’ll get a good view of that when we compare Congressional results with the two ticket topper numbers. This coming election night TV coverage may be the most watched in [how long??].

    Do you suppose 2016 will become the origin of long-term party fractures and revised coalitions that may form eventual new party structures and names?

    Can anyone put this all back together again?

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 10/24/2016 - 09:28 am.

      I Hope Not

      I really wish a party would form that is financially conservative and socially flexible… (ie true small gov’t)

      It is always ironic that the GOP preaches small government while trying to pass more “behavior laws”…

      And of course the Democratic party is for big government in all aspects… (ie wealth transfer, regulatory, gov’t run entities, etc)

      Maybe a big enough shake up will empower the middle to stop letting the tails of the normal distribution curve wag them.

      • Submitted by Jim Million on 10/25/2016 - 11:15 am.

        What “middle”?

        I’m wondering if we will have a definable “middle” after this trauma. I suppose that depends largely on the policy maintenance and new initiatives of the HRC government. Whatever it is, the “middle” likely will be much smaller than many believe it is/was.

        Today I feel concerned for the future political relationships of women and men, given the stark shift of many women to HRC for negative (anti-Trump) reasons perhaps more than for philosophical reasons. If the majority of analysts are correct in believing the Trump vote is mostly male, these men will likely feel more alientated/threatened than in the past. Hard to know, but not so hard to speculate. In any case, not good.

        However the new HRC female coalition holds together will depend greatly on how policies and rhetoric of that administration progress in the minds of these “light blue” voters. Will their hue deepen, or become a permantly new centrist color (not purple, I think), say 60/40 blue/red (whatever color that implies)?

        And, I do not believe there ever will be a return to what is remembered as “small government.” I don’t know when we last had such perspective on a national scale, at least. Many states continue to strive for less bureaucracy in maintaining focus and nimbleness. That’s just very very difficult to do as the national government becomes more pervasive for many reasons…some not so good and others pretty good.

        Again, we’re really talking about management, aren’t we? We cannot manage cultures built by large-scale personal pioneering (U.S. & Canada) in the manner the EU tries to manage what really now are sub-cultures resulting from centuries of repeated conquests and varying degrees of subjugation. I think too many people (especially Europeans) simply do not truly understand our particular North American trait of personal independence and autonomy.

        I know I’d like to spend my remaining years in a nation of less “in your face” government and more “improvement in your place” government. Somehow, I’d like to think this is a true majority view. One hopes this becomes a very good time to be young. As for me, at least, 2016 seems a good time to be old.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 10/25/2016 - 12:01 pm.

          Bi Modal

          I proposed here that we have a Bi-Modal distribution.

          And I pray the pendulum will continue to shift back and forth.

          • Submitted by Jim Million on 10/25/2016 - 02:27 pm.

            Probably it will.

            Bi-Modal, no doubt. I do, however, wonder if a shrinking moderate middle might result in more frequent and excessive swings in modal mood.

            • Submitted by John Appelen on 10/25/2016 - 10:37 pm.


              I am not sure… Personally I think people vote with their wallets.

              If more people become aware how much extra they are being taxed because of Liberal big government policies… They will shift to the Right.

              If more people become desperate and hopeless, they will shift to the Left in hopes that government will help them by “stealing from the rich, and giving to the poor”.

              Unfortunately, after a century of moving significantly Left in the USA… (ie cost of govt was ~7% of GDP and now it is ~37%) There is a very real possibility that the desperate masses may submerge the life raft they are demanding. Then we will all be in the water…

              • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/26/2016 - 09:19 am.

                If They Only Knew . . .

                “If more people become aware how much extra they are being taxed because of Liberal big government policies… They will shift to the Right.” Do you think the voters are so ignorant that they don’t know that bigger government costs them more in taxes?

                • Submitted by John Appelen on 10/26/2016 - 10:59 am.


                  I think that it is an issue of perceived value. ACA is a good example.

                  Most rational people understood that ACA would increase costs / taxes for everyone, however they saw some upsides. (ie value) Helped people with pre-existing conditions, covered kids longer, made insurance more affordable for the poor, helped the self employed, etc…

                  However, now people are beginning to understand and be impacted by a higher cost than they expected. So they are re-evaluating the cost / value equation. And the pendulum starts to quiver.

                  Some of my self employed friends dropped health insurance that they had carried for decades because of the cost that ACA caused.

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