Donald Trump Starts Re-Election Bid in a Predictable Way

President Trump addresses a re-election campaign rally in Montoursville, Pa. May 20, 2019. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

Making the click-through worthwhile: President Trump kicked off his reelection campaign with a raucous rally last night in Florida, the Me Too movement hits Hollywood yet again, and a Medicare for All poll reminds us how unreliable public-opinion surveys often are.

Donald Trump Is Ready for a Fight in 2020

In Orlando yesterday evening, President Trump took the stage in front of a crowd of thousands, starting his reelection bid with a characteristically pugnacious rally performance that focused more on the foibles of his opponents than on the achievements of his administration.

From Politico’s reporting on last night’s event: 

Trump’s eldest son, Don Jr., riled up the crowd with a series of attacks against Joe Biden, a telling sign that his father views the former vice president as his likeliest opponent. Vice President Mike Pence promised the crowd that four more years “means more jobs, more judges … and at least four more years to drain the swamp.”

Trump picked up where his vice president left off as he took the mic, ticking through the items he can accomplish if granted another term and highlighting what he’s done so far. He talked about passing a criminal justice bill and healthcare reforms for veterans, doubling the child tax credit for American families and confronting the opioid crisis . . .

But the president couldn’t help but focus on the trials of his first White House bid, too — time he might have otherwise spent targeting his current Democratic opponents . . .

Trump cited many of the same political enemies Tuesday night that he ran against last time, grumbling about “Washington insiders” and “career politicians.” But he identified new foils, as well: Democratic congressional investigators, special counsel Robert Mueller, and the “radical socialism” he claims his political opponents have enthusiastically embraced.

Trump’s choice to direct many of his comments at the rally against Hillary Clinton is a telling sign that he hopes the memory of his victory over the unpopular 2016 Democrat will be a large part of motivating his base again in 2020, even when a different Democratic politician stands at the top of the ticket.

According to New York Times reporting, Trump mentioned Clinton more than six times before he once mentioned this cycle’s two Democratic frontrunners — former vice president Joe Biden and Vermont senator Bernie Sanders. Here’s more from the Times:

Mr. Trump has been telling aides he wants to run against Mr. Biden because it is a race he recognizes. He views Mr. Biden as a male version of Mrs. Clinton — a centrist candidate who will allow him to run again as an outsider. But if his opponent is Mr. Sanders or Senator Elizabeth Warren, the president’s aides expect the race to play out along ideological lines, with Mr. Trump railing against socialism.

But without a clear opponent, Mr. Trump seemed content on Tuesday to hold up the specter of Mrs. Clinton. He talked about her deleted emails from the private server she used while she was the secretary of state. He suggested he would have been sent to the “electric chair” had he done the same thing. And he recalled how she denigrated his supporters as “deplorables.”

Supporters of the president insist that the strong showing at his rally stands in sharp contrast to the turnout Biden has received thus far on the campaign trail. Interestingly, Biden was one of the only Democratic presidential hopefuls who declined to participate in a recent Times profile that posed 18 questions to each of the candidates.

The Me Too Movement Strikes Hollywood Once More

Eight women have accused filmmaker Max Landis — known primarily for his work as a screenwriter on Chronicle and Bright — of subjecting them to physical, sexual, and emotional abuse over the last ten years. It’s just the latest in a long string of sexual-abuse allegations against Hollywood producers and leading lights.

Landis was described by his accusers as “cruel,” an “abuser, body shamer, serial rapist, gaslighter and psychological abuser.” The report landed yesterday in the Daily Beast:

Back in 2017, a number of entertainment-industry insiders wrote about Landis on social media—the posts ranged from not-so-subtle subtweets to overt call-outs. In response to a Netflix tweet promoting Bright, an upcoming Landis project, the actress Anna Akana responded, “Written by a psychopath who sexually abused and assaults women, right? Cool.” (Max Landis did not respond to multiple requests for comment through his representative.)

“I can’t imagine who is more scared in a post-Weinstein world than a famous director’s son,” musician and writer Allie Goertz posted. Landis’ father, John Landis, is best known for directing films like National Lampoon’s Animal HouseAn American Werewolf in London, and Coming to America.

Akana, who has continued to speak out publicly about Landis, told The Daily Beast that she first started hearing “terrible things” about the screenwriter when they were still friends, years ago. “And then after I went public there were more people who came to me.” She estimated that she had heard “a little less than a dozen, maybe like 10 or so” firsthand allegations of sexual misconduct in total. As for secondhand allegations, there were too many to count. . . .

Many of the ex-friends, colleagues, and girlfriends that spoke to The Daily Beast for this piece stressed the role that Landis’ careful cultivation of acquaintances played in his alleged pattern of predation. Landis’ wealth and family connections were certainly tools in his arsenal, but so was the friend group he kept around him as both a lure and a shield.

The allegations become more lurid and disturbing as the article goes on. Since Ronan Farrow’s initial New Yorker exposé on producer and mogul Harvey Weinstein, published in the fall of 2017, stories like it having been pouring out of Hollywood. The rapid pace of revelations has slowed since then, but this new report suggests there’s still plenty more behind the scenes waiting to come out.

Americans Cheer Medicare for All . . . But Don’t Know What It Is

Two new polls of voters indicate that a majority of Americans like the sound of Medicare for All, even as they believe it would raise their taxes while still requiring them to pay their premiums, co-pays, and deductibles. New York magazine’s Eric Levitz has the details on this odd situation:

A pair of new surveys confirm that the single-payer movement’s signature rallying cry is both broadly popular and widely misunderstood. In polls conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Navigator Research, majorities of the public endorse the concept of “Medicare for All,” but evince ignorance about what such a policy would actually entail.

In Kaiser’s polling, most voters said that in a Medicare for All system, Americans would retain the option of keeping their current private insurance plans, and the obligation to pay premiums, co-pays, and deductibles . . .

In other words: When the median voter hears Medicare for All, she ostensibly pictures a health-care system similar to our current one, except that Americans of all ages would gain the opportunity to buy into a Medicare-like public health-insurance program (i.e., one that would require beneficiaries to make various cost-sharing payments, just as the already-existing Medicare does).

Interestingly, it appears from polling data that Republican respondents have a clearer conception of what Medicare for All would do than Democratic or Independent respondents indicated. This makes sense, since GOP politicians have been working hard to emphasize that the Democratic proposal isn’t simply a public option. And the distinction matters: The Navigator poll found that support for Medicare for All drops from 73 percent to 47 percent when respondents are told that it aims to eventually eliminate private health insurance rather than allow people to choose which they prefer.

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