Jul 18, 2017

Go inside Trumpworld with "Devil's Bargain" book

Courtesy of Bloomberg Businessweek PR

First look at a hot passage from a book out today by Josh Green of Bloomberg Businessweek, "Devil's Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency":

"[B]oth campaigns battled for a group of voters who would ultimately decide the race. ... Trump's data analysts gave them a nickname: 'double haters.' These were people who disliked both candidates but traditionally showed up at the polls to vote. They were a sizable bloc: 3 to 5 percent of the 15 million voters across seventeen battleground states that Trump's staff believed were persuadable.

"Early on, many indicated support for third‐party candidate Gary Johnson. But after a series of televised flubs, ... they largely abandoned him. ... Many refused to answer pollsters' questions ... These were the voters Clinton had hoped to shear off from Trump with her 'alt-right' speech in August. ... Comey's letter had the effect of convincing the double haters to finally choose."

How the "double haters" voted: The national exit poll found 18% of voters had an unfavorable opinion of both Trump and Clinton. Those voters went 47% for Trump, 30% for Clinton.

Other nuggets from Josh Green's book:

  • Trump thought governing was going to be easy: "I deal with people that are very extraordinarily talented people," he told Green, just after wrapping up nomination. "I deal with Steve Wynn. I deal with Carl Icahn. I deal with killers that blow these [politicians] away. It's not even the same category. This" — he meant politics— "is a category that's like nineteen levels lower. You understand what I'm saying? Brilliant killers."
  • "Bannon was prepared to sic the alt-right on Paul Ryan if he tried to steal the GOP nomination from Trump at a brokered convention: 'Pepe's gonna stomp their ass,' [Bannon] said, referring to the racist frog."
  • Early on, Chuck Schumer was deeply worried that Bannon's nationalism might fracture the Democratic coalition: "I know what you're doing, and I'm not going to let it happen," the Senate Dem leader told Bannon in the early days of the administration.
  • Schumer feared Trump would begin by pursuing a $1 trillion infrastructure bill that would neatly align with Trump's "builder" image, produce tangible benefits, win over union voters Democrats rely on, and stand as a testament to what "America first nationalism" could mean.
  • Trump blew up at Paul Manafort over a N.Y Times story saying the campaign chairman received $12.7 million in cash from a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine: "How can anybody allow an article that says your campaign is all fucked up?"

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