Quick Takes: Donald Trump Lies…A Lot

A roundup of news that caught my eye today.

* The Associated Press did a fact-check on some of the lies Trump told during his speech in Pensacola. For example, there was this one:

TRUMP, surveying the crowd: “Look at these guys, ‘blacks for Trump.’ I love you. I love you. By the way, now that you bring it up, black homeownership just hit the highest level it has ever been in the history of our country. Congratulations.”

THE FACTS: Not true or even close.

The U.S. Census finds that the black homeownership rate peaked during 2004, when 49.7 percent of black households owned homes (the rate for all races that year reached 69.2 percent, also a modern record). The black homeownership rate stayed in similar territory until the recession, when it dropped to the mid-40s.

This year: 42.7 percent in the first quarter, 42.3 percent in the second and 42 percent in the third. That’s an uptick from last year but far from a record. Quarterly rates this year for the total U.S. population: 63.6 percent, 63.7 percent and 63.9 percent.

* I chose that lie to highlight because it is an interesting background to the lie Trump told at his next stop: The civil rights museum in Mississippi.

Here’s a pro-tip for the media: Trump lies…a lot.

* Not too long ago I wrote that most working Americans aren’t likely to notice the change in their taxes if the Republican bill passes. Apparently Jared Bernstein agrees.

The 2009 economic-stimulus bill contained a one-year tax break worth $800 for married couples in 95 percent of working households — a little over $15 a week. A February 2010 poll found that just 12 percent said their taxes had been reduced. More than half, 53 percent, said they saw no change. A remarkable 24 percent thought their taxes had increased.

“Virtually nobody believed they got a tax cut,” said Jared Bernstein, an economist who worked in former President Barack Obama’s White House. He called it a source of frustration at the time.

That 2009 tax cut contains warning signs for President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans. Their tax plans would deliver about the same level of initial relief to households with incomes between $40,000 and $100,000 — roughly $800 on average — according to data from Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation…

“The changes are going to be too small for people to recognize,” said Bernstein, now a senior fellow at the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “Most families won’t see anything from the plan until they file their 2018 taxes in April 2019.”

* Frank Lunz interviewed some white people in Alabama about why they support Roy Moore in the Senate race. Their responses could probably fill an entire college course on motivated reasoning.

* Joshua Green writes that, to the extent Roy Moore has regained the lead, it’s thanks to Steve Bannon.

Through his staff at Breitbart News, his talk radio show, and his allies in politics and media — Hannity among them — Bannon has worked harder than perhaps anyone else to sow doubt about the accusations against Moore and to push the claim that his accusers are lying. In doing so, he’s illustrated the growing power of conservative media to shape the perceptions of Republican voters, something that may keep Alabama’s Senate seat in Republican hands when polls open on Tuesday.

No one appreciates Bannon’s efforts more than the candidate only recently left for dead. “He’s the counter to the ‘fake news’ — he’s been a stalwart,” says Roy Moore. “It’s helped us a lot. He’s the master strategist.”

* Nate Silver explains “What The Hell Is Happening With These Alabama Polls.”

What we’re seeing in Alabama goes beyond the usual warnings about minding the margin of error, however. There’s a massive spread in results from poll to poll — with surveys on Monday morning showing everything from a 9-point lead for Moore to a 10-point advantage for Democrat Doug Jones — and they reflect two highly different approaches to polling.

Most polls of the state have been made using automated scripts (these are sometimes also called IVR or “robopolls”). These polls have generally shown Moore ahead and closing strongly toward the end of the campaign…

But when traditional, live-caller polls have weighed in — although these polls have been few and far between — they’ve shown a much different result.

It basically comes down to what I’ve been saying all along. We have no idea who is going to win the Alabama Senate race tomorrow. So we’ll just have to tune in and watch the results.

* Did I mention that Trump lies a lot?

“In the history of our country, no president, during their entire term, has cut more regulations than we’ve cut,” President Donald Trump said last month. His Press Secretary Sarah Sanders puts the total at nearly 1,000, an astounding accomplishment for the notoriously slow-moving federal bureaucracy.

But government records—and in some cases the agencies carrying out Trump’s policies—tell a very different story.

For one thing, only a handful of regulations have actually been taken off the books…

Rather, the claim of victory in the war on regulation is instead based almost entirely on stopping proposed rules that haven’t yet made their way through the machinery of government. The White House says it has killed or stalled 860 pending regulations. It’s done this by withdrawing 469, listing another 109 as inactive and relegating 282 to “long term.”

A Bloomberg News review has found even those claims are exaggerated. Hundreds of the pending regulations had been effectively shelved before Trump took office. Others listed as withdrawn are actually still being developed by federal agencies. Still more were moot because the actions sought in a pending rule were already in effect.

* Rebecca Traister writes that sexual harassment is about more than sex.

… in the midst of our great national calculus, in which we are determining what punishments fit which sexual crimes, it’s possible that we’re missing the bigger picture altogether: that this is not, at its heart, about sex at all — or at least not wholly. What it’s really about is work, and women’s equality in the workplace, and more broadly, about the rot at the core of our power structures that makes it harder for women to do work because the whole thing is tipped toward men…

…the thing that unites these varied revelations isn’t necessarily sexual harm, but professional harm and power abuse. These infractions and abuses are related, sometimes they are combined. But their impact, the reasons that they are sharing conversational and journalistic space during this reckoning, need to be clarified. We must regularly remind everyone paying attention that sexual harassment is a crime not simply on the grounds that it is a sexual violation, but because it is a form of discrimination.

* Finally, this one goes out to all the fighters out there.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60 .