Trump's Lies and Everyone Else's Spin

Jonathan Bernstein's morning links.

1. Julia Azari at FiveThirtyEight on the history of party splits.

2. Dan Drezner has some fun with Benjamin Netanyahu’s lamest spin ever.

3. David Marion in the Richmond Times-Dispatch on James Madison and the 2016 campaign. My admittedly idiosyncratic reading of Madison is that he would have been more open to most of the current campaign than Marion thinks -- but it’s pretty safe to say that Madison and every other democratic theorist I can think of would be appalled by Donald Trump and his campaign.

4. Chris Galdieri at WGBH writes about the Republican Party and its deficit of senior statesmen who might be able to call out Trump to some effect. Good piece. Some of this is just how history plays out, of course; Democrats didn’t really have anyone like that in 1991. But I do think George W. Bush could have played that role; sure, his presidency was a miserable failure, but most Republicans still like him a lot. Why hasn’t he spoken up? My guess: He doesn’t really care much about the Republican Party.

5. The terrific HuffPollster team on what might have happened on the Democratic side in Michigan, where the polls were way off.

6. At Brookings, Jonathan Rauch on new research (with Ray La Raja) on how the formal state party organizations are doing.

7. Interesting Amber Phillips reporting at the Fix on what Republican senators are thinking now about a Trump nomination.

8. Ross Douthat (writing before Tuesday night’s election returns) sticks with his argument that Trump won’t win in the end. That’s still where I am, but Republicans do seem to be trying as hard as possible to mess themselves up.

9. Ezra Klein is especially good on the question of Trump’s lies: “Politicians have a reputation for lying, but that's a bit unfair -- most of them try to stick to mere spin and misdirection, when possible. Trump, however, will happily tell you the sky is brown even as he waves a photograph showing it's blue. The scope and brazenness of his lies are genuinely unusual.” We’ve seen this before; Trump is quite similar in this regard to Ross Perot, the businessman who ran for president twice in the 1990s. Klein says Trump’s success, in part, is about “how weakened the gatekeepers really are,” but I think some of it is that the news media, at least, is just set up to deal with a whole different type of dishonesty.

10. And I didn’t realize someone was keeping a stopwatch on Trump’s promise to announce his foreign-policy team “soon.” Gonna need a bigger stopwatch.

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