Donald Trump is holding his lead or even gaining in Republican primary polls, in part because the War on Women isn’t just a Democratic talking point. (More)

“I’m having a good time”

So declared Donald Trump, to George Stephanapoulos on ABC’s This Week:

Trump, the ultimate believer that all publicity is good publicity, is in heaven right now. And, he’s not shy (is he ever?) about making clear how much fun he’s having. “We’re doing fantastically well with the campaign,” he told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Sunday. “The numbers are incredible. And you know that better than anybody, because you report them. And no, it’s full speed ahead. I’m having a good time. I really love it.”

And well he might. Several national polls including an NBC News poll and a Reuters/Ipsos Poll show him still leading the GOP WHannabes after the Fox News debate. Indeed a Morning Consult poll shows Trump’s lead rising despite his ugly comments about debate moderator Megyn Kelly.

That doesn’t surprise Republican pollster Christine Matthews:

Some think Trump’s latest attack on highly regarded Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly spells the end. Most likely it does not. Trump’s supporters don’t want his run to end. His loud, angry voice amplifies feelings they have, but don’t feel are heard. That is NOT to say they are in complete agreement with what he says. He is the middle finger. He is the fist on the table. And that is what his supporters want to express to politicians right now. If he’s not there, it’s back to politics as usual which they hate. Of course he isn’t a statesman. He’s not presidential material. However, his supporters and many others have long since stopped viewing politicians as statesmen.

Indeed The Federalist’s Mytheos Holt argues that Trump’s rise was inevitable in today’s GOP. His column is a case study in Aggrieved Entitlement, but he’s right that Trump’s message resonates with many GOP voters, and especially with conservative men.

Hillary Clinton explained that Trump is merely yelling what many GOP leaders whisper:

Donald Trump’s remarks about Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly are offensive, but the rest of the Republican field is equally offensive, Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday.

“What Donald Trump said about Megyn Kelly is outrageous, but what the rest of the Republicans are saying about all women is also outrageous,” Clinton said. “They brag about slashing health-care funding, they say they would force women who have been raped to carry their rapist’s child,” and fail to put forward proposals that would help women earn equal pay.
[…]
“I think the guy went way overboard. Offensive, outrageous, pick your adjective,” Clinton told reporters following a campaign event here focused on making college more affordable.

“But what Marco Rubio said has as much of an impact in terms of where the Republican Party is today as anybody else on that stage, and it is deeply troubling.”

Salon’s Joan Walsh agrees:

Poor dumb Jeb. Bush also tried to portray himself as on the side of women, denouncing Trump for his attack on Kelly – but he did it in the most ham-handed and opportunistic way, attacking not the decency of Trump’s insults but the way they were hurting GOP electability.

“Come on, give me a break. Do we want to win? Do we want to insult 53 percent of all voters? What Donald Trump said is wrong.”

It’s apparently not wrong because it’s sexist and ugly; it’s wrong because it hurt Republicans.

Another profile in courage, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, repeatedly refused to denounce Trump on Meet the Press Sunday. “I’ve made a decision here with Donald Trump,” he told Chuck Todd. “If I comment on everything he says, my whole campaign will be consumed by it. That’s all I’ll do all day. ”

Of course Rubio criticized Trump for calling undocumented Mexican immigrants “rapists and criminals” and said his comments about Sen. John McCain “disqualified him as commander in chief.” But he won’t attack Trump’s misogyny. Makes sense: Rubio’s apparently decided to surrender the women’s vote by coming out against exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother in abortion bans.

Trump reminded Megyn Kelly, and all of us, of the primitive fear of women at the heart of the conservative backlash, when he smeared her with one of the oldest reasons women can’t be trusted to play a role in public life. For days now, we’ve been marinating in ancient primal male prejudices against women. It’s progress, of a sort, that most of the world recoiled in horror at Trump’s insult. But the fact that Trump would suggest it at all shows we’ve got a lot more progress to make.

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“Since when are protest tactics designed to make the people whom they are targeting feel more comfortable and less annoyed?”

Late Sunday night, Bernie Sanders posted a policy statement on racial justice:

We must pursue policies that transform this country into a nation that affirms the value of its people of color. That starts with addressing the four central types of violence waged against black and brown Americans: physical, political, legal and economic.

Sanders mentions both physical violence perpetrated by extremists (such as the Charleston Massacre) and also by the state: police beatings and killings, and the disproportionate arrest and imprisonment of people of color. By political violence, he means attempts to disenfranchise voters of color. The section on legal violence expands on arrest and imprisonment, including Sanders’ objection to the War on Drugs and for-profit prisons. The section on economic violence largely reprises Sanders’ familiar platform on income inequality, although he at least acknowledges that the problem is more severe for people of color, and especially for women of color.

At The New Republic, Jamil Smith explains why conservatives and even some white liberals leave people of color feeling angry and unheard:

The common mistake made by both Carson and certain Sanders supporters is that in the midst of people dying at the hands of police and a still-largely racist justice system, their reaction is to blame the victim. Carson implies that the real problem lies with the people complaining about being killed and abused and denied opportunities, not the white supremacy that tilts the game against them on a daily, nay, hourly basis. Forget the White House for a moment; Sanders acolytes insist upon nominating their candidate first as an ally for black people. They act insulted that they are not trusted to recommend their candidate as the top advocate for black liberation in the presidential race. Yet, they and the campaign spend time devising tone-deaf chants (“We Stand Together”) to drown out any future protesters, as Ms. Sanders announced during a Sunday night event in Portland. I’m not against criticizing activist tactics, but the idea that #BlackLivesMatter protesters are hurting their cause by challenging candidates, even those considered allies, is based in the notion that the burden of making change is on them. It isn’t. Too many Sanders supporters appear to be caught up in their feelings when a protester rubs them the wrong way. They ask, why are the protesters so rude, or annoying, or targeting the “wrong guy”?

In response, I ask simply: Since when are protest tactics designed to make the people whom they are targeting feel more comfortable and less annoyed? And since when is Sanders, or Carson, or any candidate exempt from being pushed? Just since Friday, we’ve passed the anniversary of Michael Brown’s death, having seen both another young man killed by a cop and more violence in Ferguson. Yet we still have black conservatives like Carson letting the world believe that black activists trying to fix this are the true racial problem, and some white liberals telling them to ask for help more politely.

Constantly discussing how activists ‘should’ protest white supremacy … is merely a way to not discuss white supremacy itself. Black Lives Matter activists recognize that, and it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the activists have little patience for political courtesy lectures while young men and women of color die almost weekly at the hands of police.

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Photo Credit: Alabama Today (AP)

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Good day and good nuts