Quick Takes: What Remains of Trump’s Populism?

* I have said all along that I’m not going to waste my time trying to cover Donald Trump’s flip-flopping policy proposals. So I appreciate those like Lawrence Mishel who provided a summary of the nominee’s speech today on his economic policies.

Donald Trump fashions himself a populist, but his economic plan just recycles the failed policies of deregulation and massive tax cuts for the rich and corporations. If such policies were effective, we would remember George W. Bush’s presidency as one of great prosperity, instead of a period of stagnant wages for blue- and white-collar workers. We’ve lowered taxes and curtailed regulations for years and there’s no evidence that growth has improved as a result…

Trump’s economic policies will be welcomed by corporations and the wealthy GOP donors he’s now courting, and the businessmen on his so-called economic policy team. Perhaps these policies will finally earn Trump the love of the GOP establishment. But he remains a dangerous candidate who does not have the interest of workers in mind.

The only remaining “populism” in Trump’s schtick these days are his anti-trade isolationism and his disdain for political correctness (i.e., racism/sexism/nationalism).

* Beyond more warmed-over trickle-down economics, it sounds like The Donald gave us a good dose of what Stephen Colbert called “Trumpiness” in his speech today. In case you’ve forgotten, here is the definition: “If he doesn’t ever have to mean what he says, that means he can say anything.”

* Earlier today, I wrote about Trump’s uphill climb in the crucial state of Florida. Today it just got a bit steeper.

The chief spokesman for the Florida Republican Party, who is Hispanic, is leaving his job and joining a conservative organization due to differences with GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Wadi Gaitan, a former senior House Republican aide who focused on Hispanic affairs, becomes yet another high-profile Latino Republican official to leave his job because he can no longer tolerate defending and explaining Trump.

* It’s beginning to look like Hillary Clinton’s lead in the polls goes beyond the traditional convention bounce.

The post-convention polls are in, and they consistently show Hillary Clinton entering the next phase of the presidential election campaign with the upper hand over Donald Trump.

The CNN Poll of Polls incorporating the results of six major polls — all conducted after the party conventions concluded in late July — finds Clinton with an average of 49% support to Trump’s 39%. When third party candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein are included, the margin remains the same, with both candidates losing the same amount of support to land at 45% for Clinton to 35% for Trump, with Johnson at 9% and Stein at 5%.

* If you’ve ever wondered why your brilliant Facebook posts don’t seem to have any impact on your friends/family who disagree with you, you’ll want to read this.

How did Donald Trump win the Republican nomination, despite clear evidence that he had misrepresented or falsified key issues throughout the campaign? Social scientists have some intriguing explanations for why people persist in misjudgments despite strong contrary evidence.

Trump is a vivid and, to his critics, a frightening present-day illustration of this perception problem. But it has been studied carefully by researchers for more than 30 years. Basically, the studies show that attempts to refute false information often backfire and lead people to hold on to their misperceptions even more strongly.

* Someone needs to keep a list of Republicans who are speaking out against Donald Trump. I know that I can’t keep up. Today, 50 Republican national security experts added their names to this growing group.

Fifty of the nation’s most senior Republican national security officials, many of them former top aides or cabinet members for President George W. Bush, have signed a letter declaring that Donald J. Trump “lacks the character, values and experience” to be president and “would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being.”

Mr. Trump, the officials warn, “would be the most reckless president in American history.”

The letter says Mr. Trump would weaken the United States’ moral authority and questions his knowledge of and belief in the Constitution. It says he has “demonstrated repeatedly that he has little understanding” of the nation’s “vital national interests, its complex diplomatic challenges, its indispensable alliances and the democratic values” on which American policy should be based. And it laments that “Mr. Trump has shown no interest in educating himself.”

“None of us will vote for Donald Trump,” the letter states, though it notes later that many Americans “have doubts about Hillary Clinton, as do many of us.”

* Today this letter to the editor in the Tampa Bay Times is making the rounds. It’s not hard to understand why.

* Finally, thanks to Martin for filling in last week and to all of you for your warm welcome back. I had a wonderful time on vacation while taking Gertrude Stein’s advice on how to become a genius: “It takes a lot of time to be a genius. You have to sit around so much, doing nothing, really doing nothing.” That is a lot easier to do when this is your view of the world (that’s my beautiful niece enjoying the waters of Lake Superior):

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.