Joe Biden, on vacation in the Lake Tahoe area, shared his thoughts on Donald Trump’s mug shot released yesterday:
In case you haven’t seen it:
An underappreciated actor in American politics is the Federal Reserve, not because it is itself politicized, but because its decisions on interest rates and other monetary policies have great influence on voters’ finances and, by extension, who they support in elections. Thus, it’s worth paying attention to the words of the independent central bank’s chair Jerome Powell, who today signaled they could continue raising interest rates to bring inflation back under control, even though higher borrowing costs could inadvertently cause a recession. The Guardian’s Dominic Rushe breaks it down:
The Federal Reserve chair, Jerome Powell, used a closely watched speech on Friday to warn that the fight against inflation in the US is not over.
Speaking at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s annual gathering of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Powell said inflation was still too high and that interest rates might have to rise further to tamp it down.
The central bank will “keep at it until the job is done”, said Powell.
The Fed raised rates to a 22-year high in July – its 11th rate rise in 17 months. The annual rate of inflation has declined sharply, down from a 40-year high of 9% last June to close to 3%.
But as the US has rebounded from the pandemic and its aftermath, the economic picture has remained complicated for Powell. Consumer spending and the US jobs market remains robust despite the sharp rise in rates. And while the headline rate of inflation has fallen, prices of food, housing, gas and other essentials remain far higher than they were before the pandemic.
Powell has said that the Fed is aiming to achieve a “soft landing” for the economy, bringing down inflation without causing a sharp spike in job losses. But Powell has also acknowledged that the historically sharp increase in rates may not yet be reflected in the wider economy. “We are navigating by the stars under cloudy skies,” said Powell.
Harrison Floyd, the sole co-defendant of Donald Trump in the Georgia election subversion case who did not bond out of jail after being arrested earlier this week, will remain behind bars for now, NBC News reports, citing a judge’s decision:
Floyd, who is part of the group Black Voices for Trump, was indicted by Fulton county district attorney Fani Willis for allegedly attempting to coerce false testimony from Ruby Freeman, an election worker who became a target of rightwing conspiracies alleging vote rigging in the state.
Listen closely to that video of Joe Biden commenting on Donald Trump’s mug shot and you will hear passersby boo. It’s not an uncommon sentiment.
For now more than two years – since 22 August 2021, to be precise – the Democratic president’s approval rating has been below 50%, according to poll aggregator FiveThirtyEight. His approval peaked at more than 56% in February 2021, a few weeks into his term, but public opinion took a turn for the worse in August of that year, amid the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, resurgent Covid-19 cases and rising prices.
It has stagnated ever since, even as the rate of inflation moderated, the Afghanistan debacle receded from the headlines and the pandemic became less of a public concern. And while it has recovered from the lows it reached in July 2022 – when key parts of Biden’s legislative agenda seemed close to dying at the hands of congressional gridlock, only to be saved by last-minute dealmaking that resulted in the Inflation Reduction Act – it is far from recovered. Consider, for instance, this Gallup survey released today:
With Biden running for a second term in the White House, his low approval is likely to be a major source of concern for his campaign, and you can expect he is going to spend the next 15 months looking for ways to prove to voters he’s the right man for the job.
Earlier this year, the Guardian’s David Smith tried to figure out why the president’s unpopularity has remained so consistent, even when things appear to be breaking in his direction. You can read what he found out here:
Joe Biden, on vacation in the Lake Tahoe area, shared his thoughts on Donald Trump’s mug shot released yesterday:
In case you haven’t seen it:
Sidney Powell, an attorney briefly retained by Donald Trump’s campaign who took part in his attempt to stop the transfer of power to Joe Biden, has asked for a speedy trial in the Georgia election subversion case, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports:
Powell’s filing makes her the second defendant to move to have her case resolved quickly. Kenneth Chesebro, another lawyer Trump retained after his 2020 election loss, made a similar demand, and yesterday a judge ruled that his trial will begin on 23 October.
Fulton county district attorney Fani Willis has asked that Donald Trump and his 18 co-defendants be put on trial by that date, but many are expected to oppose her motion.
Speaking of Wednesday’s Republican primary debate, remember that the event was unusual because Donald Trump, who has an overwhelming lead in most polls, declined to attend.
Instead, he gave an interview to conservative commentator Tucker Carlson that was released just as the eight other candidates who qualified for the debate took the stage.
So which event received more eyeballs? According to Mediaite, the Fox News-hosted debate attracted 12.8 million viewers, less than the average viewership for debates held during the 2016 election cycle, but still pretty good once you take into account the fact that many American households no longer subscribe to cable television.
Trump yesterday claimed he carried the evening, with “231,000,000 Views, and still counting” of his interview, which Carlson posted on Twitter, now known as X. But as Mediaite reports, the social media platform’s metrics for measuring viewers of videos has a record of inaccuracy, and all signs point to the debates being the more popular of the two:
All of these grand claims are based on the Twitter “views” metric. But as we’ve reported here previously, Twitter views are all but meaningless.
After Elon Musk took over Twitter, he hid the “video view” metric, which showed how many people watched a video on Twitter. Even the video view metric was pretty flimsy: according to Twitter: if you watch a video for two seconds, with only half the video player in view, you count as one video view.
The tweet view metric — that’s the 253 million number Trump and his allies are touting — is even less valuable. It merely counts how many people viewed the tweet. So if you scrolled past Carlson’s video on Twitter, you counted as one of the 253 million. “Anyone who is logged into Twitter who views a Tweet counts as a view,” Twitter says. If you scrolled past the tweet multiple times, you counted more than once.
While X does not publicly disclosed video views, Mashable reported that as of Thursday, 14.8 million people had watched at least 2 seconds of the Trump interview. A small fraction of that 14.8 million will have watched any significant amount of the 46-minute video.
Which means the Trump interview was seen by far fewer people than the Fox News debate.
The Fox debate drew 12.8 million viewers, according to Nielsen. But that metric measures the average concurrent viewers of a program. The total viewership of the debate is many millions more.
The moderators at Wednesday evening’s Republican primary debate kicked off with a question to the candidates about Rich Men North of Richmond, a hit single that has been co-opted by the right as a populist anthem against Democrats. But as the Guardian’s Martin Pengelly reports, the artist who wrote and sang the song says that’s not what it’s about:
Oliver Anthony, the writer and singer of the mega-hit Rich Men North of Richmond, hit out at Republican candidates for president who discussed his song in the debate in Milwaukee on Wednesday.
“It was funny seeing my song at that presidential debate. Because I wrote that song about those people, you know, so for them to have to sit there and listen to that, that cracks me up. It was funny kind of seeing the response to it,” the Virginian said in a statement on Friday.
A stark lament over the plight of the working class, Rich Men North of Richmond is top of the Billboard Hot 100, the first song by an artist with no chart history to make No 1.
The song has been championed by many on the political right as a populist anti-big-government hymn and criticized by some on the left for its attacks on welfare recipients.
In Wisconsin on Wednesday, an excerpt was played at the start of the Republican debate. One Fox News host, Martha MacCallum, said Anthony’s “lyrics speak of alienation, of deep frustration with the state of government and of this country. Washington DC is about 100 miles north of Richmond”.
On stage stood seven Republican governors and congressmen and one venture capitalist.
McCallum said: “Governor DeSantis, why is this song striking such a nerve in this country right now?”
Ron DeSantis, the hard-right Florida governor running a distant second to Donald Trump, said: “Our country is in decline. This decline is not inevitable. It’s a choice. We need to send Joe Biden back to his basement and reverse American decline. ”
However, on Friday, Anthony released a 10-minute video, shot in the cab of a truck as heavy rain fell, in which he rejected that answer and denied that he was a conservative figure.
“The one thing that has bothered me is seeing people wrap politics up in this. I’m disappointed to see it. Like, it’s aggravating seeing people on conservative news try to identify with me, like I’m one of them.”
The Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel has announced that Houston will host the Republican National Convention of 2028.
In a statement reported by the Associated Press, McDaniel said: “I am excited to announce Houston as the host city for the 2028 Republican National Convention,” and praised the RNC’s “smart business decision” last spring to allow for selecting the host city “earlier than over.”
“The entire RNC membership is eager to work with Mayor Sylvester Turner, the Houston Host Committee, and Houston First Corporation to follow in Milwaukee’s footsteps by delivering an incredible convention for our party,” McDaniel said.
Texas’s Republican governor Greg Abbott welcomed the decision, calling Houston “one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States, a thriving center of economic development, and a cultural leader of Texas.”
The dates for 2028’s RNC convention have not yet been announced.
Georgia’s right-wing representative and Donald Trump ally Marjorie Taylor Greene said that booking the former president at Fulton county jail “will bond Trump to the very people who live in those neighborhoods.”
The Fulton county jail, also known as the Rice street jail due to its location, is currently being investigated by the justice department over reports of horrendous conditions and rampant violence.
“Processing Pres Trump in the Rice Street jail – where conditions are so inhumane inmates have died eaten alive by bed bugs – will bond Trump to the very people who live in those neighborhoods. The poor people in Atlanta have suffered more under Biden and Democrat policies than ever before,” Greene tweeted.
She added that the indictment and booking of Trump and his allies has “BACKFIRED.”
Following the release of Donald Trump’s landmark mugshot at Fulton county jail, the internet – including those from both ends of the political spectrum – has been quick to commodify the photo and meme-ify it in a variety of ways.
The Trump 2024 campaign was quick to print the president’s hostile glare on to merchandise including mugs, coolers and premium cotton shirts ranging from small to 2XL. Accompanying all the new mugshot merchandise, which also included a 4in x 4in vinyl bumper sticker, were the words: “NEVER SURRENDER!”
The face of the first former American president to sit for a mugshot also found itself on shot glasses being sold by the Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump Republican group.
For the full story, click here:
Florida’s Republican governor and presidential candidate Ron DeSantis announced that he has raised $1 million following Wednesday night’s primary debate, the Associated Press reports.
Speaking to the Associated Press, DeSantis’s campaign manager James Uthmeier said that DeSantis “showed Wednesday night that he is a proven leader who will deliver results as president, and we are thrilled with the flood of support we have received since his debate victory.”
A handful of DeSantis’s donors echoed similar sentiments to the AP after being briefed by the governor’s campaign staffers.
“It’s showing with the contributions that are coming in,” said investor and DeSantis donor Pete Snyder. “We had a huge day,” he added.
DeSantis’s reported $1 million in fundraising comes after his opponent Vivek Ramaswamy’s campaign told the Associated Press that he has raised $450,000 following the debate.
All of Donald Trump’s co-defendants in the Georgia election meddling case have now turned themselves in to authorities in Fulton county, with all but one being released on bond. Five have already asked to have their cases moved to federal court, which will give them more options to defend against allegations they plotted to prevent Joe Biden from getting the swing state’s crucial electoral votes.
Here’s what else has happened today so far:
See the mug shots for five of the defendants who reported to the Fulton county jail today.
Trump’s legal team is resisting Fulton county district attorney Fani Willis’s proposal to start trials in the Georgia case on 23 October.
Republican president candidate Vivek Ramaswamy has described himself as an “outsider”, but in fact has ties to prominent figures in both parties.
Polls of Republican primary voters have generally shown Donald Trump swamping his competitors, and a NBC News/Des Moines Register/Mediacom survey released earlier this week was no different.
It showed 42% of voters in Iowa, the first state to vote in the Republican nomination process, naming Trump as their top choice. Florida governor Ron DeSantis comes in second place with 19% support, and all the other contenders ending up with mere single-digit support.
But, polls in Iowa have sometimes overstated a candidate’s position, such as in 1996, when Republican senator Bob Dole appeared to be leading in the state by a huge margin, only to win it barely when the caucuses were actually held. (He eventually won the GOP presidential nomination, only to lose the general election to incumbent Bill Clinton.)
Could such a dynamic repeat itself on 15 January of next year, when the GOP caucuses will be held? In an analysis, NBC News reports there’s no indication of that happening, at least not yet – the survey’s data shows Trump is in an even better position in the Hawkeye state than Dole was:
But a look one level deeper than the horse-race numbers uncovers some key differences between the two situations.
The first is that Dole’s initial support was clearly soft. In that 1995 Register poll, only 28% of Dole’s supporters said their minds were made up to vote for him; 67% said they were open to backing someone else.
The numbers for Trump in the 2023 poll are exactly reversed: 67% of his current supporters say their minds are made up, and they are not open to the idea of supporting other candidates.
Plus, 72% of respondents overall in that 1995 poll said their minds weren’t yet made up, compared with 52% in 2023. That means the atmosphere was more volatile and the potential for Dole to lose significant ground was apparent from the start. To compare the polls is to recognize that Trump may have already locked down more support than Dole ended up receiving in the actual caucuses.
Donald Trump is in real legal trouble in Georgia, but the spectacle of his arrest and mug shot yesterday was also a boon to his campaign to defeat other Republican challengers and become the party’s presidential nominee next year, the Guardian’s Joan E Greve reports:
Less than 24 hours after the first primary debate of the 2024 election season concluded, viewers of America’s cable news programs could be forgiven if they forgot the event had occurred at all.
Rather than focusing on the post-debate coverage and analysis typically seen during past election cycles, CNN and MSNBC turned their attention on Thursday evening to Donald Trump’s arrest in Fulton county, Georgia, for charges related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. News of Trump’s surrender and the image of the first mugshot ever taken of a former US president also dominated the homepages of the New York Times and the Washington Post.
The wall-to-wall news coverage of Trump’s arrest served as yet another example of the former president’s unique ability to suck up all available media oxygen, making it nearly impossible for his opponents’ message to break through to voters. That dynamic quickly drowned out coverage of the debate and probably mitigated, if not erased, any advantage Republican candidates might have gained from their performances.
Rather than participating in the debate on Wednesday, Trump instead chose to sit down with an interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson. The interview aired on X, formerly known as Twitter, and it had already garnered more than 250m views as of Friday morning.
Even though Trump did not attend the debate, his absence and his looming arrest shaped much of the conversation and sparked its most illuminating moments. After spending the first hour of the debate discussing issues like the climate crisis and the economy, Fox News hosts Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum turned their attention to Trump – or “the elephant not in the room”, as Baier said.