Quick Takes: Trump Knows Nothing About Obamacare or Mosul. Surprised?

* Today brought us some shocking (?) headlines about the Republican presidential nominee. Like this one: “Donald Trump has no idea what Obamacare does.”

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s employees are having a “tremendous problem” with health plans they don’t actually have. Trump himself doesn’t make much use of a health plan that he also doesn’t have. And all of this is a “disaster” for the American people.

Confused? Don’t worry. So is Mr. Trump…

Both of these statements suggest that Trump does not understand very basic things about America’s health system — or even how his own companies are run. Neither the overwhelming majority of the employees Trump referred to nor Trump himself receives health insurance through a program created by Obamacare.

* Here is another shocking (?) headline: “Trump misfires on Mosul.”

Donald Trump this weekend called the U.S.-backed offensive in the Iraqi city of Mosul “a total disaster” that is making America look “so dumb.” He’s dismissed U.S. intelligence assessments that Moscow is hacking the 2016 elections, while declaring Russian President Vladimir Putin a better leader than U.S. President Barack Obama. He has even said he knows more than America’s generals about how to defeat the Islamic State, the terrorist group in control of Mosul…

Trump’s comments stand out, observers say, because they come across as almost-willfully ignorant about the U.S. national security apparatus.

* Apparently U.S. Mayors don’t think Trump knows what he’s talking about either.

Donald Trump has some unflattering opinions about American cities. The situation, he assured a crowd in coal-country Pennsylvania last week, is “worse than some of the war zones you’re talking about. There is no education, no jobs, no safety. There is no safety.” And, he intoned, “It’s getting worse and worse and worse.” (In another speech, he likened cities to “hell.”) But Trump’s dystopian stump speech gets heavy pushback from at least one constituency: America’s mayors, who are celebrating a year of positive gains and clutching the stats to back them up. They’ve grown tired of hearing their cities described as toxic hellholes. Actually, they’ve grown tired of listening to Donald Trump, period.

* Jeet Heer says that the right is giving up on democracy.

This suspicious Republican electorate is joined by growing ranks of conservative politicians, pundits, and intellectuals. They’re all increasingly willing to say that the existing American political system is hopelessly flawed and needs to be rolled back to the days before blacks and women could vote. On the most obvious level, this can be seen in moves by Republican governors all over America to make voting more difficult, through stringent voting ID laws, new hurdles to registration, and the curtailment of early-voting options. Equally significant has been the gutting of key provisions of the Voting Rights Act by conservative Supreme Court justices in the 2013 Shelby Country v. Holder ruling.

But these overt forms of voting suppression are merely the most visible manifestations of a larger questioning of democracy on the political right. Trump’s anti-democratic rhetoric—and the eagerness of so many good, white patriotic Americans to cheer it and believe it—is a symptom of the larger trend on the political right toward doubting the legitimacy of the American system. The question we need to be asking isn’t, “Why is Trump being such a jerk?” It’s, “Why is the American Right giving up on democracy?”

I suggest that you go read that whole article and pair it with the review I wrote of Zachary Roth’s book, “The Great Suppression: Voting Rights, Corporate Cash, and the Conservative Assault on Democracy.” These two authors are definitely on to something.

* The Washington Post decided to indulge in a little both-sider-ism with an article titled, “From Clinton and Trump, harshly negative arguments with two weeks to go.”

Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump each launched fresh attacks against the other on Monday, signaling that harshly negative closing arguments may dominate the final two weeks of the campaign.

Clinton’s campaign tried to build on its case that Trump doesn’t respect women, while Trump again questioned the integrity of the election process — this time asserting that polls showing Clinton ahead across the country are “phony” and “rigged.”

Here is Laura Clawson’s take on that:

Translation: Elizabeth Warren, appearing at a Clinton rally, quoted Donald Trump himself on the subject of sexual assault and said “Nasty women are tough, nasty women are smart, and nasty women vote.” Meanwhile, Trump himself continued to encourage his supporters to see the election and an ensuing Clinton presidency as stolen and illegitimate.

Turning your opponent’s words back on him vs. attempting to undermine democracy. Potayto, potahto. It’s all “harshly negative closing arguments,” according to the traditional media.

* Milo Beckman makes the leftist case for Clinton.

I have a confession: I voted for Clinton in the primaries.

To clarify — I consider myself to the left of Sanders on nearly all domestic issues, and I lean heavily towards non-intervention in foreign affairs, particularly in the Middle East.

I voted for Clinton not to preserve the center-left establishment, but because I believe she’s the single person best positioned to co-opt the existing institutional framework and advance my values in the world.

* This seems like a pretty BFD:

* Finally, did you know that President Obama has a group of kid science advisors. It was the brainchild of a 9 year-old named Jacob. You can read his account of how that happened and/or watch this:

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.