We begin today’s roundup with The New York Times and its rebuttal of Donald Trump’s lie that the election is being “rigged” against him:
It may be too late for the Republican Party to save itself from the rolling disaster of Donald Trump, but the party’s top leaders still have the duty to speak out and help save the country from his reckless rhetoric. The most frightening example is Mr. Trump’s frenzied claim that the presidential election is being “rigged” against him — a claim he has ramped up as his chances of winning the presidency have gone down.
Instead of disavowing this absurdity outright, Republican leaders sit by in spineless silence. [...] This is like standing back while an arsonist pours gasoline all over your house, then expressing confidence that the fire department will get there in time.
Ari Berman at The Nation explains how Republican voter suppression efforts should be the cause of concern:
The true danger to American democracy stems from Republican-led efforts to make it harder to vote. This is the first presidential election in 50 years without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act, and 14 states—nearly all controlled by the GOP—have new voting restrictions in place for the first presidential cycle in 2016. There are far more people turned away from the polls by restrictions like voter-ID laws, cuts to early voting, and felon-disenfranchisement efforts—which disproportionately impact people of color, young voters and low-income voters—than cases of voter fraud.
Paul Waldman at The Washington Post:
How is it possible that the Republican nominee for president would be able to convince so many people that the voting will be rigged? Maybe it’s because conservative media figures and Republican politicians have for years been saying that ACORN, an organization that was focused in part on registering poor people to vote, was in the business of stealing elections. Indeed, even though ACORN went out of business in 2010, for years afterward Republicans continued to insert provisions into spending bills banning the group from receiving federal money. A group that no longer existed. After the 2012 election, half of Republicans said in one poll that they believed this non-existent organization stole the election for Obama.
Melania Trump was interviewed by CNN’s Anderson Cooper yesterday and defended her husband’s actions by claiming he was like a “teenage boy” who gave in when Billy Bush “egged” him on. Matt Wilstein at The Daily Beast analyzes the interview:
In her first major interview since the release of a 2005 tape in which her husband brags about sexually assaulting women, Melania Trump sat down with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Monday and blamed the whole thing on Billy Bush. Donald Trump, who she described as a “teenage boy,” was nothing but a victim of peer pressure and the “left-wing media.”
In addition to laying blame on Billy Bush, who just this afternoon lost his job at the Today show as a result of the tape, Melania Trump suggested that a media conspiracy was responsible for the timing of its release. “It’s many people from the opposite side and they want to damage the campaign,” she said. “And why now? Why after so many years? Why three weeks before the election?” She blamed NBC, Access Hollywood, and the rest of the “left-wing media” for essentially sabotaging her husband’s campaign.
Frank Scheck at The Hollywood Reporter:
So now we know. It was all Billy Bush's fault ... and the Clintons' ... and the liberal media's.
That, at least, was Melania Trump's explanation for her husband Donald Trump's horrible, misogynistic comments heard in the leaked Access Hollywood tape. As well as the accusations since then by multiple women about how Trump sexually assaulted them. [...]
She decried the public "name calling" of her and her family, which is a pretty ironic position to take for someone named Trump. Asked about her husband's disparagement of his accusers' looks, she said simply, "That's him. He's raw." (Just a suggestion, but perhaps he should have been cooked a little more before running for president).
Susan Bevan, Co-Chairwoman, Republican Majority for Choice, explains why she’s a Republican voting for Hillary Clinton:
Like so many Republicans, I can no longer stand silent while my Party’s Presidential nominee continues his deplorable, and frankly dangerous, outbursts. There can be no more question: Mr. Trump does not embody the values that have made me a lifelong Republican. A Trump Presidency will mean a loss of civility, tolerance and equanimity and will be an assault on the dignity and rights of women and families across our nation.
For the first time in my life, I plan to vote for a Democrat for President.
Margaret Hartmann explains why there’s no smoking gun, as Trump says, in the latest Clinton email story:
The new FBI documents, which were released in response to public records requests, are a summary of interview notes related to the FBI’s investigation into whether Clinton properly handled classified information while at the State Department. It’s common for agencies to squabble over classification; what’s at issue here is the discussion of a potential exchange between the State Department and the FBI to settle a disagreement regarding the Benghazi email. [...]
During the exchange between Kennedy and FBI official, someone allegedly offered a “quid pro quo,” but the accounts differ on that crucial point. The FBI official said he suggested the exchange, telling Kennedy “he would look into the email matter if Kennedy would provide authority concerning the FBI’s request to increase its personnel in Iraq.” [...]
On Monday officials from both the FBI and the State Department insisted that no “quid pro quo” ever took place, nor was a deal even offered. State Department deputy spokesperson Mark Toner said the second FBI official was “expressing a personal opinion about what happened,” and suggested they might have misunderstood the exchange.
Eugene Robinson express what we all feel:
Make it stop. Won’t somebody, please, make it stop?
I realize my plea is in vain. We have three more weeks of this appalling spectacle in which a ridiculous comic-book villain — a cross between the Joker and the Penguin — is trying his best to destroy American democracy. Yes, Donald Trump, I’m talking about you.
Three weeks. That’s normally the blink of an eye, but the time between now and Election Day yawns like an eternity.