Extremist militias recruiting in fear of Clinton winning election, activists say

The Guardian reports: In the past 12 months, Jessica Campbell has had her car’s fuel line cut and its wheel nuts loosened. Late last year, she had a GPS tracker surreptitiously attached to her vehicle. She is now accustomed to being tailed by unfamiliar vehicles on Interstate 5 near her home in Cottage Grove, just outside Eugene, Oregon. Strangers have regularly come uninvited onto her property; someone even stripped the barbed wire on her fence “just to send a message”. Online, she has repeatedly been threatened with rape and death.

And last week, when she showed up at the Canyon City community hall in Grant County, she told me that someone shot at her and her entourage. They misread their GPS, took a wrong turn and stopped to get their bearings when a crack rang out with what Campbell thought was a .22 bullet whizzing by their vehicle.

Such threats are part of the pushback her work has sparked in rural Oregon.

Campbell co-directs the Rural Organizing Project, a not-for-profit group that sets out to confront the rightwing insurgency that has been bubbling away in parts of rural Oregon and throughout the west. A political organizer since high school, she now coordinates groups attempting to respond to divisive tactics from rightwing activists on immigration, race and public land ownership.

This extremist surge received national media attention during the occupation of the Malheur national wildlife refuge by the Bundy group, but it has continued to rise alongside Trump, with his legitimization of white nationalist politics and his apparent inspiration of insurrectionists across the country. [Continue reading…]

The SPLC identified 998 active extreme antigovernment groups in 2015: The antigovernment movement has experienced a resurgence, growing quickly since 2008, when President Obama was elected to office. Factors fueling the antigovernment movement in recent years include changing demographics driven by immigration, the struggling economy and the election of the first African-American president. [Continue reading…]


Donald Trump reveals evangelical rifts that could shape politics for years

The New York Times reports: When Jen Hatmaker speaks to stadiums full of Christian women, she regales them with stories about her five children and her garden back in Austin, Tex. — and stays away from politics. But recently she took to Facebook and Instagram to blast Donald J. Trump as a “national disgrace,” and remind her legions of followers that there are other names on the ballot in November.

“Trump has consistently normalized violence, sexual deviance, bigotry and hate speech,” she said in an email interview. “I wouldn’t accept this from my seventh-grade son, much less from a potential leader of the free world.”

In the nearly four decades since Jerry Falwell Sr. founded a group called the Moral Majority, evangelical Christians have been the Republican Party’s most unified and reliable voting bloc in November presidential elections. The leaders of what came to be known as the religious right were kingmakers and household names, like Pat Robertson, James C. Dobson, Ralph Reed.

But this year, Ms. Hatmaker’s outraged post was one small sign of the splintering of the evangelical bloc and a possible portent of the changes ahead. While most of the religious right’s aging old guard has chosen to stand by Mr. Trump, its judgment and authority are being challenged by an increasingly assertive crop of younger leaders, minorities and women such as Ms. Hatmaker.

“Those men have never spoken for me or, frankly, anyone I know,” said Ms. Hatmaker, the author of popular inspirational Christian books. “The fracture within our own Christian family may be irreparable.”

The fault lines among evangelicals that the election of 2016 has exposed — among generations, ethnic groups and sexes — are likely to reshape national politics for years to come, conservative Christian leaders and analysts said last week in interviews. Arguments that were once private are now public, and agendas are no longer clear. [Continue reading…]


This Arabic billboard in Michigan is massively trolling Donald Trump

Mashable reports: A black billboard has appeared alongside a highway in Michigan carrying white Arabic lettering that ridicules Donald Trump and his anti-Muslim rhetoric.

The sign, situated along I-94 in Dearborn, says: “Donald Trump doesn’t know what this means, but he’s scared of it anyway.” The only words in English are the Republican candidate’s name and a website, trumpisscared.org.

Behind the advert is the Nuisance Committee super PAC, a group started by the creator of the popular Cards Against Humanity card game.

“We intentionally did not put the translation on the board because I like the idea of people who do not speak Arabic have to ask their friends who do speak Arabic for them to translate the board for them,” Melissa Harris, spokeswoman for the group, told WWJ Newsradio 950.

“And I personally hope this also will generate some dialogue between Arabic speaking people and non-Arabic speaking people in Detroit and across the country.” [Continue reading…]


Poll: 41 percent of voters say election could be ‘stolen’ from Trump

Politico reports: The American electorate has turned deeply skeptical about the integrity of the nation’s election apparatus, with 41 percent of voters saying November’s election could be “stolen” from Donald Trump due to widespread voter fraud.

The new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll — conducted among 1,999 registered voters Oct. 13 through Oct. 15 — shows that Trump’s repeated warnings about a “rigged” election are having effect: 73 percent of Republicans think the election could be swiped from him. Just 17 percent of Democrats agree with the prospect of massive fraud at the ballot box.

The public sentiment is beginning to reflect Trump’s campaign message. Over the last week, the GOP nominee has intensified his criticism of the U.S. electoral system, much to the chagrin of elected Republicans, who think it threatens the peaceful transfer of power. Trump calls the process rigged, and has said the media is colluding with Hillary Clinton to throw the presidential race in her favor.

Trump’s comments casting doubt upon the process have drawn a gentle rebuke from House Speaker Paul Ryan, whose spokesperson put out what would ordinarily be an unremarkable statement on Saturday: “Our democracy relies on confidence in election results, and the speaker is fully confident the states will carry out this election with integrity.” [Continue reading…]


Trump son-in-law makes approach on post-election TV start-up

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.

However, the approach suggests Mr Kushner and the Republican candidate himself are thinking about how to capitalise on the populist movement that has sprung up around their campaign in the event of an election defeat to Democrat Hillary Clinton next month. Mr Trump has in recent days ramped up his criticism of the “dishonest and distorted” mainstream media, which he accuses of being biased against him in collusion with the Clinton campaign. [Continue reading…]


Inside Donald Trump’s echo chamber of conspiracies, grievances and vitriol

The Washington Post reports: He is preaching to the converted. He is lashing out at anyone who is not completely loyal. He is detaching himself from and delegitimizing the institutions of American political life. And he is proclaiming conspiracies everywhere — in polls (rigged), in debate moderators (biased) and in the election itself (soon to be stolen).

In the presidential campaign’s home stretch, Donald Trump is fully inhabiting his own echo chamber. The Republican nominee has turned inward, increasingly isolated from the country’s mainstream and leaders of his own party, and determined to rouse his most fervent supporters with dire warnings that their populist movement could fall prey to dark and collusive forces.

This is a campaign right out of Breitbart, the incendiary conservative website run until recently by Stephen K. Bannon, now the Trump campaign’s chief executive — and it is an act of retaliation. [Continue reading…]

CNN reports: Top Donald Trump adviser Rudy Giuliani claimed Sunday that Democrats could steal a close election by having dead people vote in inner cities, while vice presidential candidate Mike Pence said the ticket will “absolutely accept the result of the election.”

“I’m sorry, dead people generally vote for Democrats rather than Republicans,” the former New York City mayor told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.” “You want me to (say) that I think the election in Philadelphia and Chicago is going to be fair? I would have to be a moron to say that.”

But he did say the amount of cheating would only impact extremely close races — noting, for example, if either Trump or Hillary Clinton won Pennsylvania by “5 points,” the cheating he alleges would occur would be negligible and not change the outcome. [Continue reading…]


Fears mount on Trump’s ‘rigged election’ rhetoric

Poitico reports: No one knows how to handle what might be about to hit on Nov. 9.

Donald Trump is laying the groundwork to lose on Nov. 8, refuse to concede the election, and teeter the country into an unprecedented crisis of faith in government. Republicans and Democrats, in Washington and beyond, fear that the aftermath of the 2016 election will create a festering infection in the already deep and lasting wound that the campaign is leaving on America.

And, they say, only Republican leaders who speak up will have any chance of stopping it.

“Polls close, but can you believe I lost large numbers of women voters based on made up events THAT NEVER HAPPENED. Media rigging election!” Trump tweeted Sunday morning in response to the latest round of numbers showing him behind.

President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and their top aides, along with leaders on Capitol Hill, worry about the preview Trump is providing in this final month, part kamikaze mission to take down Clinton, part temper tantrum by a man who has never been embarrassed on either this scale or spotlight.

They worry about how his egged-on followers might respond, and the violence – perhaps against Muslims, Latinos or any of the many other groups he has targeted in his campaign rhetoric — that might follow. [Continue reading…]


Putin’s hope to ignite a Eurasia-style protest in the United States

Jackson Diehl writes: In the fall of 2004 Vladi­mir Putin suffered a blow he has never forgotten. The fraudulent election of a pro-Kremlin Ukrainian president, which Putin had directly and brazenly engineered, was overturned by a massive popular uprising. What came to be known as the “Orange Revolution” created a model for resistance to rigged elections in autocracies across Eurasia — in Kyrgyzstan, Belarus, Azerbaijan and, in 2012, Russia itself.

Most of the rebellions didn’t succeed. But Putin developed an obsession with “color revolutions,” which he is convinced are neither spontaneous nor locally organized, but orchestrated by the United States — and in the case of the Moscow protests four years ago, by Hillary Clinton herself.

That’s the context in which Russia’s intervention in the 2016 U.S. presidential election must be understood. Putin is trying to deliver to the American political elite what he believes is a dose of its own medicine. He is attempting to ignite — with the help, unwitting or otherwise, of Donald Trump — a U.S. color revolution.

Let’s look at the way those revolts unfolded. In every case, they pitted an outsider political movement against an entrenched elite willing to employ fraud and force to remain in power. The outsiders mobilized their followers to collect evidence of rigging on election day and, when they could, conducted exit polls and “quick counts” to obtain vote totals they could contrast with official results. They disseminated their findings through satellite channels and other foreign media. When the inevitable victory of the ruling party was announced, they called their followers to the streets for mass protests they hoped would cause the regime to crumble — or at least discredit its phony election triumph.

Of course, Trump’s populist campaign is no more comparable to the pro-democracy insurgencies in formerly Soviet lands such as Ukraine and Belarus than Clinton’s administration-in-waiting is to the Putin regime. But Putin’s audacious goal is to create the illusion that they are. “He’s trying to establish that our system is just as bad, just as corrupt, as his,” says Brian Whitmore, a senior editor of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. [Continue reading…]


What did Trump know, and when did he know it?

Glen Caplin, Senior National Spokesperson for the Hillary Clinton campaign, writes: Intelligence officials say that Donald Trump was reportedly briefed in mid-August about Russia’s efforts to meddle in our election. So, at the first presidential debate, when Donald Trump blamed a 400-lb. hacker…


…and at the second debate, when he said this:


In each case, Trump had reportedly already received intelligence briefings about Russia’s role in the hacks, but he apparently chose to ignore the evidence and defend Vladimir Putin.

Security experts have evidence that the so-called “Guccifer 2.0” is actually a front for Russian hackers. The hacked emails have been made public by WikiLeaks, run by Julian Assange, who has well-documented ties to the Kremlin and released the Russian-hacked DNC documents in June. In fact, we are starting to see Guccifer 2.0 and WikiLeaks separately release the same materials that purport to come from John Podesta’s email account.

On August 13, Trump’s close friend and longtime political adviser Roger Stone appeared on Alex Jones’ show and confirmed that he was in communication with Assange. [Continue reading…]

Reuters reports: Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence said evidence implicates Russia in recent email hacks tied to the U.S. election, contradicting his running mate, Donald Trump, who cast doubt on Russia’s involvement.

Pence said in an interview aired on “Fox News Sunday” that Russia or any other country involved in hacking should face “severe consequences.” The disagreement with Trump, the Republican nominee for the Nov. 8 election, came after the pair also publicly disagreed about U.S. policy toward Russia in Syria. [Continue reading…]


Julian Assange’s intervention in the U.S. election

The Hill reports: Julian Assange’s grudge against Hillary Clinton is playing out on the grandest stage possible.

Between now and Election Day on Nov. 8, WikiLeaks is expected to release more than 40,000 more emails about Clinton that are meant to damage her run for the White House — possibly in batches on a near-daily basis.

The emails, from hacks of the Democratic National Committee and Clinton confidante John Podesta’s email account, may be the best chance Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has of knocking off Clinton, the Democratic nominee and heavy favorite to win the White House.
That makes WikiLeaks founder Assange one of 2016’s biggest wild cards.

Assange appears to relish the role.

“He has become which is what I think he always wanted to be: an alternative statesman,” said Daniel Domscheit-Berg, a former spokesperson from the organization’s early days.

“He’s not officially elected, but he’s involved in the highest level of political debate. He can have an influence on the U.S. election. It doesn’t really get much bigger than this.”

Assange has repeatedly vowed to release information expected to be damaging to Clinton, and on Thursday made public the sixth installment of material allegedly stolen from Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman.

The WikiLeaks Twitter account, believed to be manned by Assange, vacillates daily between defending the organization against detractors and promoting damaging stories about Clinton — some of which border on conspiracy theory.

It rarely touches on Trump, and Assange in interviews has been cagey about his support of the business mogul. Trump confidante Roger Stone has repeatedly claimed contact with Assange, telling CBS Miami Wednesday that he has “a back channel communication” with Assange via a mutual friend with whom he dined as recently as last week. [Continue reading…]


Most Trump supporters lack faith in democracy

Nathaniel Persily and Jon Cohen write: If there had been any doubt, it has now become clear that this election campaign is about more than the selection of a president: The values that support American democracy are deteriorating. Large numbers of Americans across party lines have lost faith in their democracy, and many will not accept the legitimacy of this election.

Those were the stark findings from a survey we performed from Oct. 6 through Oct. 8 of more than 3,000 registered voters, fully 40 percent of whom say: “I have lost faith in American democracy.” Six percent indicate they’ve never had faith in the system. Overall, barely more than half — just 52 percent — say, “I have faith in American democracy.” (Most respondents completed the survey before the Oct. 7 release of the video in which Donald Trump bragged about groping women, but the responses of those surveyed afterward were indistinguishable from those who answered the day before.)

This cynicism is widely shared across the electorate, but significant partisan differences emerge on this question, as on so many others. More than 6 in 10 voters backing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton express faith in U.S. democracy, compared with just over 4 in 10 of those backing her Republican rival. Most of Trump’s supporters say they’ve lost confidence in the basic mechanism of governance in the United States.

One of the hallmarks of faith in democracy is a willingness of the defeated to accept the results of elections. Democracy, after all, is not about the selection of particular leaders, but the notion that citizens have the power to select them at all. It relies on the assumption that today’s electoral losers will live to fight another day, so that their faith in the system of democratic selection weathers temporary setbacks. But in this election, we find that a surprising share of the electorate is unwilling to accept the legitimacy of the election of their non-preferred candidate. [Continue reading…]


Women who hate Trump, but aren’t with her

Emma Green reports: Depending on your perspective, it’s either Hillary Clinton’s great misfortune or incredible luck to be matched with an opponent who believes men like him can simply grab women “by the pussy,” who has been accused of making unwanted sexual advances against colleagues, and who made a sport of sizing up all the beauty queens in the pageant he owned. Because Donald Trump represents the worst version of how powerful men treat women, the symbolism of Clinton can seem uncomplicated: Her White House victory, if it comes, will be a win for women.

What that means, though, is that women have been twice silenced in this election: Once by Donald Trump and his allies, who have dismissed his demeaning behavior toward women as “locker-room talk,” and the other by Clinton and her supporters, who have pushed a narrative that she is both the symbol and champion of women’s progress. The second is subtler, and in no way equivalent to Donald Trump’s comments on women. But for some women who don’t feel represented by Clinton — specifically those on the left, along with women of color — this experience has been alienating. Just as it’s important for women and feminists to resist the downward suck of Trump’s vulgarity, so it’s important to entertain the limits of what Clinton’s presidency might mean for women’s advancement.

“If you criticize HRC, it looks like you’re endorsing fascism,” said Catherine Liu, a professor of film and media studies at University of California, Irvine.

And “the tone of some of this has been: If you are anti-Hillary, you are anti-woman,” said Naomi Christine Leapheart, a non-profit worker in Philadelphia who is seeking her ordination in the United Church of Christ. “I have, as they would say, receipts in that department.”

At the beginning of October, Clinton held a 20-percentage-point lead over her opponent among women surveyed in a Quinnipiac poll. But even women who intend to vote for Clinton don’t necessarily see themselves in her. Lots of women in the U.S., like Leapheart and others from around the country whom I spoke with in phone interviews, are not enthusiastic about Clinton, even if they’re horrified by the possibility of a President Trump. As the language used to refer to women has somehow become even more ugly and sexist during these final days of the election, a strong majority of women voters have signaled their intention to vote for Clinton. But the real divisions among them have largely been overlooked as a result. [Continue reading…]