iOS app Android app More

Why Donald Trump Lost the First Debate

David de Sola   |   September 28, 2016    5:24 PM ET

Donald Trump defeated sixteen other candidates in order to win the Republican nomination. Hillary Clinton struggled for months to hold off a Bernie Sanders insurgency. Though she had been convincingly ahead in polls in the weeks after the Democratic National Convention in July, that lead has been slipping into the single digits in most battleground state and national polls. Donald Trump had extremely low expectations to meet before the debate last night and lost. Why? He didn't just lose the debate last night. He lost it in the weeks and months leading up to it.
The first issue was the format. This is the first time he has had to go one-on-one in a debate. In all the Republican primary debates there were always at least two other people onstage with Trump, and sometimes as many as nine. Trump was able to jump in to a conversation when he felt like it, and fade into the background and stay quiet when he didn't.

The other thing to remember is time. In the Republican debates, Trump could answer with a 10 or 30-second soundbite and that would suffice. Here, he might have to talk potentially for as long as two minutes to answer a question. (Former Romney campaign manager Stuart Stevens tweeted, "Trump brought 20 minutes of material to a 90 minute show.")

In the days and weeks leading up to the debate, multiple stories were published about the two candidates' respective debate preps. This one by the New York Times is particularly interesting to re-read with the benefit of hindsight from Monday night's debate. At the time I first read it, I was skeptical of this and other accounts of Trump's slacker approach to debate prep, thinking it was campaign spin to lower expectations. After what we saw, it's now obvious that wasn't spin -- it was the truth.

He didn't prepare, and it showed. Several of his responses were garbled word salads of different ideas -- his response to the question about first use policy of nuclear weapons was a particularly bad example. He thought it would be a good idea to criticize Hillary Clinton for doing debate prep and she effectively turned that argument on its head and made it one of her best lines of the night.
Since his birther public relations stunt almost two weeks ago, Donald Trump has largely retreated to friendly conservative media like Fox News and not subjected himself to a press conference or an interview with a serious journalist. Comedian Bill Maher refers to this as "the Fox News Witness Protection Program." By doing so, he hasn't subjected himself to the kind of rigorous questioning he might expect in the debate, and also deprived himself of an opportunity to try potential responses or lines of attack.
Both candidates had a live camera pointed at them the entire time. It picks up facial expressions, posture, body language, little things which can unintentionally convey a message that speaks volumes.  Two examples: Al Gore's sighs and George H.W. Bush looking at his watch. Remember: the camera is ALWAYS on, and the camera NEVER lies. In the split screen shot, Donald Trump had mannerisms and facial expressions which made him look less than presidential. The side-by-side contrast in demeanor and presentation between him and Clinton was almost as striking as the comparison between who was prepared and who wasn't.
During the debate, Trump was focused and on message during the first 20 or 30 minutes, particularly on the subject of trade. Clinton laid several traps for him, and he walked into pretty much every single one of them. (As conservative writer David French tweeted, "After the first fifteen-twenty minutes, it was like the SS Trump hit the iceberg, then backed up and hit it again just because.") One of the most memorable lines of Clinton's convention speech was "A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons." This is precisely what she set out to prove, through a series of subtle jabs at his business and political record which he couldn't resist and felt compelled to respond to. He took the bait hook, line and sinker almost every time.
Besides all these things, there is the candidate himself. Another memorable line from Clinton's convention speech was, "There is no other Donald Trump. This is it." Donald Trump is a 70-year-old man who has run his business empire as he damn well pleases for most of his adult life and has never run for elected office. What this means is he has never been accountable for anything or to anyone, and he acts accordingly. He is also very petty, and will not let the slightest criticism or attack go unanswered. His ego won't let him not have the last word in an argument -- whether in an interview, a debate, a campaign event, or on Twitter. Having watched him since he declared his candidacy last summer, he is a notoriously undisciplined candidate, with no filter, self-restraint, impulse control, or ability to self-edit.
This is precisely what and who we saw on Monday night. Now the question becomes if he is capable of self-correction and preparing for the next two debates properly.   

Donald Trump: A President From America's Past

Joanna Perry-Folino   |   June 24, 2016    5:09 PM ET

I woke up this morning thinking about Presidential candidate Donald Trump and the way it used to be in America. I was recalling those days when America was still the envy of the world. It seemed we had more of everything then, didn't it? And not just more, but life was somehow richer and shinier. Damn close to perfection really. And so clean and hopeful everywhere with straight White men as Presidents. That wasn't racism; it was just common sense. And tradition. The way the Founding Fathers had wanted it.


As for me Wednesday is my day off. I like to do absolutely nothing on Wednesdays but reminisce. And watch episodes on Netflix of "Mad Men" that show us how it was in the late 1950's and 60's. The wives back then didn't even have to work (lucky gals). They spent hours at the beauty parlor getting their nails polished or hair permed and sometimes even their eyebrows plucked. Then about 2 in the afternoon, they began tossing down highballs with two or three little red pills to "get them in the mood" while their cute horny hubbies with their slicked back Don Draper hair chatted about women with big breasts and chortled among themselves on the front porch.


It makes me sad to think we can't turn back the clock. I mean who says we can't we go back to that time? Donald Trump thinks we can. He's sure never compromised. Seems he's the top dog in his family with that beautiful wife and snow white blonde daughters who he would even date if he could. That just shows how much he loves them and what a true family man he is.

And let's not forget our great American economy forged on the backs of White men working in offices late at night figuring out what numbers to push around and how to hide their taxes from the IRS. They built this country, for god's sake. And they put the Coloreds and the Chinese and the Irish and Italians and all the rest of the non Whites to work out of the goodness of their hearts. And their love of this great land of ours named America. They could have hired robots you know but they didn't.


That says something about their patriotism and their love of humanity. And Donald Trump is just like a Don Draper at his very heart. He knows how to make money and do the deal and sell us all something we don't really need but he does it because he loves this country. He and I and a lot of other regular folks believe if you elect him President he will get America on its feet again and make it all work like the fine ticking non-digital analog timepiece it once was. Like a Rolex or a Bulova or Timex. Which are sadly now made in China or Indonesia or some place over there.


Incidentally, when did everything get made in China? I don't particularly even like fortune cookies and now everything I buy says Made In China. Where the hell is China any way? North? South? West of Dallas? How did this happen any way? Probably a dirty back room deal between those African American governors and senators in the US government and the Yellow Skinned people over there someplace.


My theory is they are secretly conspiring against the great Donald Draper Trump, I mean Trump, just Donald Trump. (Sometimes my mind can't tell the difference between a character on a TV show and a real human being like President Trump. I'm not sure why. Maybe a Vitamin D deficiency? But isn't Donald Trump a character on a TV show too? It's all so confusing).

And while I'm analyzing the American economy, it seems to me that every middle class White household could afford a maid back then and why is that? Obviously they knew their place and took what was handed them as Negro servants and housemaids (HEY! don't interrupt me, damn it with your PC rage. That happens to be what they were called back then and sometimes, they were even called Coloreds, so don't shoot the messenger, okay? It's history for cripes sake.) Any way Coloreds went about their daily chores, never complaining, cleaning up after the White families, sliding a coaster under each cocktail glass and accepting it when men didn't even bother to use a coaster and left those white circles on the wooden coffee table. Is there even one recollection of them ever complaining? They had their jobs, they got their paychecks, didn't they? They were very grateful let me tell you before uppity folks put big ideas in their heads and got them all riled up. Thinking they could be doctors or lawyers? Really? Come on. Isn't that a stretch? Johnny Cochran excluded of course.


It was a picture perfect time to be alive for everyone. Future President Donald Trump believes very strongly we can and will return to that time. I'm counting on Donald because if we were really honest, all of us, we would admit out loud that WE WERE ALL A LOT SAFER BACK THEN from what everyone now calls "The Others." We all know who the Others really are (not you and me if you get my drift.)

Donald will make a great President. We can finally just call a spade a spade once again when he is in office and everyone can finally relax about stupid words and "offending" people. We'll be able to sling every slur at anyone we want wherever we want and no one will be offended because everyone will be laughing so hard. Just like Sammy Davis Jr. and Frank Sinatra used to do on stage at The Sahara. Boy, THOSE were the days.


Thinking back when I was a kid, I still have vivid images that pop into my head. Good solid American images. Like Schwinn bikes and Pez containers and going to the drive-in with mom and dad. That bluish glow of flashing images coming from the giant screen as we navigated into our spot. The barely discernible chatting coming from the speaker boxes. The pesky gnats and mosquitos that left me with little red marks all over my hands and legs. Dad whacking us across the back of the skull to get us to settle down. And picking up my brother Sam's baseball bat just as a warning that Dad could beat our heads in when he needed in order to let us know he was having trouble hearing the words coming from the Elvis Presley film.

Family. Those were good times. Remember them? Today you go into a restaurant for dinner and some screaming kid is ruining it for everyone but no one says anything because it's "politically incorrect" to tell the little shit head to shut up. I think we should be allowed to dump a glass of water over kids' heads. How fun is that? I bet under a Donald Trump Presidency a lot more screaming kids will get the crap beaten out of them and we can finally have some peace and quiet.

One last note: when I see those men and women today 2016 in Congress and on The Supreme Court working so hard to turn back the clock and bring us back to the 1950's and 60's before all the shit hit the fan, it makes me proud once again to be a White American woman. There was nothing wrong with great American traditions like segregation, gays in closets, straight marriages, back alley abortions, police abuse, child and animal punishment and in the case of animals, you could even eat them if you went too far! And global warming. Really? I happen to like a tropical environment. Adjust people! Stop being such wimps! And of course there's the Big One; that which will not be named; the one that gets my tail spinning: nuclear war... because it does get a lot of folks very excited that we Americans can actually wipe everyone off the face of the planet. In this I think both Presidential candidates are clearly leading the way.


In the final analysis as you are making your choice in November, you know deep inside we need a White man back in office and considering Donald Trump had his own very successful reality TV show and it's still on TV (isn't it?) should be enough to convince you that if we want to go back to the way we were, he's the one to do it. President Donald Trump. It has a certain ring to it, no? Is it the Donald part? Or the Trump? It's a killer combination no matter what. And that image he paints: how can we resist it? A beautiful blue sky and a clean and glowing city on a hill standing on top of the millions of dead bodies of everyone else and Donald at the center, like a king or a god. It's certainly within the realm of possibility. And that gives this blogger a high those men in Mad Men got every hour from their bottomless glasses of booze and from their women with their little red pills. That's an America I can believe in. How about you?

6 Ways the Presidential Race Would Be Different if a Mom Blogger Was Running

Lis Luwia   |   March 2, 2016   12:59 AM ET

With the presidential campaign constantly being featured on every media source imaginable, a mom blogger could decide to put her name in the running for presidency. This would be the best way for her to gain exposure on her blog, travel the world, give her homeschooling children a great lesson on the American government, and, with her loyal readers behind her, take the White House. If a mom blogger decided to run for presidency, the Presidential race would look different in more than one way, and in some ways, better.


1. Her Announcement to Become a Candidate would be the Most Unique Ever Seen

She would announce her candidacy between errands, right outside of the grocery store. With a child constantly clinging to her leg and another on her hip, she would give firm, inspiring answers to her interview questions before leaning down to listen to the whispers of her toddler.

"Excuse me," she would explain while rushing her children back into the grocery store, "we're potty-training."

2. The Support She Would Receive would be Generous, but it wouldn't Sway her Opinion

A mom blogger running for president would not be swayed by financial supporters because, as the disclosure clearly states on her blog:

"This blog may contain affiliate links, but all opinions belong to me."

Since announcing her candidacy, she will have received hundreds of offers for advertising space on her blog, sponsored guest posts, and products for review.

"What am I going to do with this?" she would ask one reporter, holding up a gadget that would make the water in her toilet bowl light up. "They say it's supposed to help my husband have better aim when peeing at night."

3. She Talks about How Much Easier her Life would be as President

A mom blogger would look forward to becoming president so someone else could take care of cleaning the house and scrubbing stains out of children's clothing. When a reporter would ask her if she is concerned about her young family's needs when she becomes President, this mom blogger would respond confidently:

"I have 5 kids and you seem to think that I can't juggle it all. Actually, being the President would give me some free time. Someone else would tend to the stains in my children's clothes, do grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning. Without those chores in my life, I would say that gives me about 12 extra hours of time in the day to act as your President."

4. The Other Presidential Candidates would have Something to Say

Trump wouldn't think that a mom blogger running for President would be a good idea. He would say something like: "Mom bloggers have flat hair. They need to spend more time on their appearance and not their kids."

Rubio would be found kissing the mom blogger's baby's head saying, "With babies like this, everyone should be pro-life."

Clinton would be heard supporting the mom blogger turned politician, "This is someone who has worked countless hours for free as a blogger, when she should have been making minimum wage at least."

5. Her Answer Regarding Foreign Policy would Go Viral

When questioned about her knowledge on foreign policies, she would reply,

"Listen, I can give you the answer I rehearsed, or you can understand that I survive church every week with my 5 kids and even though it's rough, my hair has yet to turn grey. Not much is harder than getting your baby and toddlers to stop fidgeting and talking for an hour without throwing Cheerios at the lady in front of you."

6. Her Social Media would be the Most Popular in the Campaign

The mom blogger would trend on Twitter since announcing her campaign, would still post on her blog three times per week, homeschool her children, and keep her house (more or less) put together. Her blog subscriptions would spike tremendously and her posts would get an exponential amount of shares and likes on Facebook and Instagram. When asked how many people she reaches in a single post she would respond:

"I reach about 53.15 million people on each post. That's 1/6th of the population in America," as she smiles humbly, she would add, "Oh, and please join us for our Facebook party next week. We're doing this in lieu of a convention so stay-at-home moms can attend too!"

How else do you think a mom blogger running for president could change the race? Share your comment.

Lis Luwia is a Catholic wife and mother to two little girls. When she isn't playing tickle monster, reading children's books, or reenacting princess fairy tales with her daughters, Lis can be found reading a book or writing at Learn more about Lis here.

Donald Trump, Explained

Bob Deutsch   |   January 20, 2016   10:25 AM ET

Every time I think of Donald Trump a Peanuts cartoon pops into my mind. It has Lucy holding a football for a field goal kick from Charlie Brown. Just as Charlie goes to put toe to pigskin, Lucy pulls the ball away and good ol' Chuck goes flying off his feet. Lucy then walks off the field with her right hand index finger held high: The caption reads: "We're #1." Forget the facts, forget the circumstance, Lucy wants to think of herself as number one. Deep need trumps the truth.

Some say Trump is smart. Others say Trump is crazy. As someone who is trained in cognitive science and anthropology, and studies the fit or mismatch between leaders and the cultural context they exist in, I think it's not informative to think about whether Trump is a brain or not. It's more instructive to view Trump as doing what we all do -- he's being himself. Temperament -- a personal structuring that predates personality -- is something none of us can get away from.

Trump is acting out his own temperament -- being a spectacle, startling people, dominating people...before they do it to him. Trump is all about preemptive strikes. It's a perversion of the Golden rule.

In one sense, there is no difference between Trump and the man in Tiananmen Square who walked out from the sidelines to stand in front of a military tank moving towards him. That wasn't a thought-out strategy by that Chinese young man. It was an instinctual expression of his inner being that he couldn't control. It was an enactment, that if aborted, would be tantamount to psychological suicide.

Fitting Your Context

There is another lesson from Tiananmen. A person, product or idea vying to be the leader becomes popular by fitting into the context of the times, therefore gaining the largest possible followship. That Chinese young man momentarily halting the system was one of the most projected images worldwide that year. I interviewed people in a sampling of cities around the world, asking why this photo was so often in the media. The answers I got back were encapsulated by one particular answer: "I know what that photo stands for. That's betrayal. Everyone has the experience of someone in their life whom they thought was with them, turns out to be against them. We all see a lot of that these days."

The Current Context Is Fear

The American context Donald trump is currently riding is FEAR. Fear of jihadis, fear of terrorists and terrorism, fear of horrific death, fear of randomness and -- because of 911 and 2008 -- fear of seeing one's future receding into the distance.

Much of the media likes to criticize Trump, but his attentional pull is that he's going with the contextual flow. It might seem as if the media likes politicians who swim upstream, but it's the same affection bears hold for migrating salmon. Presidential candidates cannot change the contextual climate. The national agenda is increasingly impervious to campaign stratagems or economic, social or moral crusades. Candidates must swim with the tides.


One can reasonably speculate that Mr. Trump incurred or witnessed some slight in his early years, and the impact was fundamental. So he erects the biggest buildings, flaunts the biggest lifestyle, has the biggest hairdo, and trash talks the loudest. His ethic is BE BIG and steam-roll over others. Trump doesn't care about the details of geopolitical and domestic policy. In the place of policy he inserts a way of behaving, and that way is performance -- condense and exaggerate everything and display it exclusively for communication purposes.

In the age of the internet, voters choose presidents like Hollywood bestows Oscars -- based on a portfolio of performances, past, present and imagined. "Persona" is the real issue. Candidates do not "run" for president, they audition for the part. The ones that exude confidence in debates and vigor on the stump, are usually victorious. Jeb Bush may exhibit empathy with children, but his persona is one of being too weak. He can't win. Marco Rubio's persona, regardless of his thoughtful rhetoric, is blemished by his boyish looks. He lacks the gravitas to win, now. Maybe in eight years he will age into the part.

Donald Trump seems to fit today's bill, perfectly.

The Danger of Fear and Humiliation

Yet, there is a problem. At rock bottom, presidential campaign 2016 is about humiliation -- either the fear of humiliation or the felt humiliation of those who feel modernity has disqualified their ancient civilization. The difficulty with humiliation is its buried deep in the most ancient part of the brain -- the "reptilian" brain.

Do we want our next president to see everything as a reptile, as a high-noon battle? Fear vs s. Hope. That's the choice American voters will soon make. Their task is to fit a square peg into an Oval Office.

Blow_hot_and_cold Brings Individuals and Political Views Together

Brad Hobbs   |   November 9, 2015    9:28 AM ET

Do Something Good, is an incubation collective based out of New York City focusing on interactive experiences for the public.

Their blow_hot_and_cold exhibition features a life size politician mounted to a flagpole surrounded by eight high powered fans each representing a political subject with pro & anti opinions on the subjects of gun laws, climate change, health care and abortion.

The way the exhibit works is by reading tweets on the subjects featured with the power of the fans rising and decreasing when one of the issues are tweeted in real time, as each fan fluctuates the flag changes direction to face the option with the strongest support.



I caught up with the collective at I.M.A.G.E gallery in Brooklyn to find out why and how they came up with this project.


Tell me about Do Something Good and the project.

Do Something Good is an Incubation Collective primarily focused on realizing interactive experiences that arise at the cross section of art and technology; driven with the purpose of creating unique transformative experiences. blow_hot_and_cold is the first piece to manifest itself outside the digital realm and is a collaborative project of Damjan Pita, Derek Harms, Vasco Barbosa and Samar Zaman.

How did you come up with the concept?

We believe that politicians, particularly in the United States, no longer stand for what they truly believe. Their opinion is based on the topics and viewpoints that receive the most attention in media. The strategic teams behind these politicians are increasingly using data analysis like A/B testing to determine what opinion will be the most advantageous to their campaign.

Politicians are now in constant search of being on the leading side of popular opinion, with their beliefs vacillating like a flag in the wind.

How does it work?

Each political issue is represented by two opposing fans, one for and one against. By processing the sentiment of tweets in real-time, the power of each fan rises and falls based on the support that issue receives online. As each issue fluctuates, the politician shifts direction to face the opinion with the strongest support. Visitors are encouraged to interact with the installation by walking between the flag and the fans to disrupt the wind.

Why these topics?

As election day nears, there is a shift in focus of what topics politicians choose to dedicate their time and effort to. The four topics in the work currently have the largest volume of conversation on social media, and therefore likely to be the most influential in shaping the opinions of a potential candidate.

What are your views on these topics?

All members in our group are in support of gun regulation, female reproductive rights, universal healthcare and legislation that encourages the protection of the environment.

What would you like the outcome to be for this?

With blow_hot_and_cold we are calling out the unfortunate truth that politicians no longer stand for what they truly believe. Our hope is that visitors will be more aware of their influence on elected leaders.

What's next for you and this project?

With exactly one year today before the presidential election, we'd like to demonstrate the influence of this on the installation. And as this political phenomenon is not only a U.S. problem, we intend to bring the work to other countries and localise the topics to be relevant in that country.

You can follow Do Something Good at the below links. The exhibition is running until Thursday 12th November 2015 at I.M.A.G.E Gallery in Brooklyn.

I.M.A.G.E Gallery
1501 Broadway,
Brooklyn, NY

Why We Need The PC Police

Gil Kidron   |   October 7, 2015   11:29 AM ET

Though conservatives and liberals have come to inhabit separate universes, with differing views on when life begins, taxes and even on science, it seems there is one thing they can all agree on: political correctness is destroying the country.

Everybody's taking shots at the PC police, from comedians like Bill Maher, Jerry Seinfeld and Donald Trump and all the way to politicians. The reactions are: PC has gone too far, people can't take a joke or look reality straight in the eye.

Well, though it is far from perfect, I'd like to make an outsider's case for political correctness, because the way I see it, while it certainly has its downsides, it is very valuable in ways that are too often overlooked.

I have only traveled in the U.S. but never lived there. I do follow religiously the U.S political process and consume its many cultural exports. I've spent most of my life in Israel (or America's 51st state) as well as some of my formative years in Europe.

Even though Israel is not nearly as politically correct, the same complaints about the PC police are heard here too, and the targets are those same damn feminists, gays, animal rights activists and other groups as well.

True, we would all prefer to speak our minds whenever and wherever we want, but that's not really what's at stake. Excluding Charlie Hebdo-style terrorist attacks that are more related to religious fanaticism, people can still say whatever they want. It's just that there is a price on free speech: other people can use their own first amendment rights to respond that those opinions are not only wrong, but also objectionable.

So when someone speaks their mind and someone else responds - that is, to me, what a conversation looks like. It's not always a very productive one, but a conversation nonetheless.

This would be a good time to draw a line: internet lynching or global shaming of private individuals is one thing, and ridiculing politicians or people that are in the public sphere is another. The first is indeed dangerous, and I would argue that the latter is a virtue that every society should hold dear. The people with power have constantly to be held in check.

PC doesn't always work the right way, as stand-up comedians can attest to. They do have it the hardest and I'm not un-sympathetic to their plight, because they are not afforded the same protection that other types of artists are afforded when they put their work out there. If a movie has outrageous racist characters, no one accuses its writers of being racist, but with stand-up comedians we're basically watching a person saying controversial things into a microphone, and we tend to forget that he or she is in fact in character. This blurs the line between the individual and the material, and I'm not sure there's a quick fix there. But the fact that PC is not perfect is not a reason to get rid of it altogether.

There is another problem that highlights PCs downsides: technology. While in the past no one would know that Jonah Hill blurted the gay F-word to a single incredibly annoying paparazzi, the pervasiveness of technology has made it easier to take things out of context and make news out of thin air, which can be terrible.

But, on the other hand, PC has made the world better for many people. There is a clear line that extends all the way from attacks by politicians on LGBTQs, to LGBTQs being discriminated against. And the opposite is also true: there is a clear correlation between it being considered illegitimate to disparage LGBTQs and the incredible change in the popular opinion about them. There were other factors at play (Will And Grace and Queer As Folk, perhaps), of course, but PC has some shares in the great victory in the Supreme Court ruling that made it unconstitutional to discriminate gays in marriage.

There's more. Isn't it a good thing that the N-word is no longer acceptable? Sure, it gets ridiculous at times, but as a norm it has probably helped the American society to accept the fact that a black man can be elected president.

And if Hillary Clinton gets to be the next president, she should use her inauguration address to thank the feminist PC police for fighting harmful stereotypes, conventions and policies that hurt women at every turn.

So while it might seem petty to focus on words (and sometimes it is petty), language has a lot of power to shape hearts and minds.

PC is not perfect because when social norms change so quickly, many are slow to catch on. Hating LGBTQs has been a fixture of human society for past couple of millennia, and is deeply rooted in religious teachings, so the fact that views on gay marriage has taken such a sharp U-turn is nothing short of incredible.

As Sarah Silverman said of late, she was clinging to the word "gay" as a way for her to describe something lame. Then, she determined that even though she did not mean it in a malicious way, she did not want to be that old conservative douche who just clings to an old (mostly white, mostly male) world.

It's a good thing that people get crazy when a megalomaniac billionaire running for president says that most Hispanic immigrants are rapists or that we should judge a female presidential hopeful by her face. He can be a hateful bastard and still get his air-time, but we should all be happy that we have the option of telling him he's being a hateful bastard.

Bottom line, free speech does not end when we express our opinions. The first amendment extends to those who want to respond, and we can only hope that as we get used to the new means of communication and to changing norms, the PC police would be less reckless and fickle as it sometimes is today.

Though it can get uncomfortable when we don't know what we can say around other people - these problems pale in comparison to us living in human societies that are becoming more tolerant of different races, religions, genders and sexual preferences.

Dreams Becoming Reality

Jackson Richman   |   September 18, 2015    2:24 PM ET

There are three definitions of the word "dream" in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary: "A series of thoughts, visions or feelings that happen during sleep; an idea or vision that is created in your imagination and that is not real; something that you have wanted very much to do, be, or have for a long time." The saying "Chase your dreams" is related to the third definition. This article about pursuing my journalistic ambition wouldn't have been possible had I not seen a post on social media by the 61st most powerful woman in the world.

Three weeks ago on Twitter, Huffington Post founder and editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington posted the following:

"Some of the world's best ideas were inspired by dreams. Anything creative your dreams have inspired?" She provided her email address and without hesitation, I replied: "I'm a student and aspiring journalist who believes in seeking nothing but the truth. I like to explore and though I don't specifically remember my childhood dreams, they were about facing, but at the same time, not being afraid of fear."

Since childhood, I have been interested in journalism and politics. When I was in my early teens, I frequently watched the early local news. Now as a young adult, attending school in Washington, D.C. I can take advantage of a plethora of journalistic opportunities.

A couple years ago, on behalf of my school's radio station I interviewed two Pulitzer Prize-winning writers: New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman and Washington Post syndicated columnist and Fox News commentator Charles Krauthammer.

Fast-forward to November 12, 2014. The day before I was intensely interviewed for the internship program at the National Journalism Center (NJC), which places interns at prominent media outlets such as The Weekly Standard,, Washington Examiner, and The Daily Caller. I received a voice message from the director of NJC and called back. Upon answering why I should be part of the Spring 2015 class and be part of a program that's trained well-respected media personalities such as Malcolm Gladwell and Fox News' Greg Gutfeld, he responded, "You're in."

My internship through the National Journalism Center placed me at The Weekly Standard. I interned four days a week with a seminar at the NJC headquarters in Reston, Virginia every Friday. In addition to learning from the best in the profession, such as executive editor Fred Barnes, this internship afforded me the opportunity to be published a few times under my byline.

Last April I also had the opportunity to be on the set of one of my favorite cable news shows, Special Report with Bret Baier on Fox News. There I met an inspiration of mine: Charles Krauthammer, who incidentally remembered my interview with him last year.

Define your dreams. Be active in causing them to become reality. To quote a Yiddish proverb: "If you want your dreams to come true, don't sleep."

Amanda Terkel   |   August 27, 2015    9:08 AM ET

Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) said Tuesday he may run for Senate in 2018, which would pit him against Sen. Angus King (I-Maine). 

"I'm thinking about it very strongly," LePage told conservative radio host Howie Carr. 

In January, LePage also told Carr that he was looking at a Senate run, although the following day, he said he was joking

LePage has been a controversial governor known for making outlandish statements -- like joking that he wanted to shoot a newspaper cartoonist and comparing the IRS to the Gestapo. He won re-election in 2014, despite abysmal approval ratings. 

Carr tweeted out a photo with LePage Tuesday, showing the governor wearing a hat with Donald Trump's presidential slogan on it.  LePage, however, has endorsed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) for president, and Carr had to tweet a clarification that LePage hadn't switched allegiances. 

LePage, who has never shied away from making eyebrow-raising comments about his critics, said Trump needs to knock off his feud with Fox News host Megyn Kelly.

"You’ve got to let this stuff go and move on," LePage said. "Move on to the issues."

Want more updates from Amanda? Sign up for her newsletter, Piping Hot Truth.

Michael McAuliff   |   July 21, 2015    1:49 PM ET

WASHINGTON -- If you had any doubt that Donald Trump’s candidacy for president was being treated by the media -- besides The Huffington Post -- as an entertainment story, all you had to do was listen in to Senate Democrats’ news conference on Tuesday.

The topic at hand was the highway bill, a massive measure that the Senate hopes to move by the end of the month to prevent bridge and road construction projects from grinding to a halt when current funding expires at the end of the month.

There were plenty of questions about that, but then there was one reporter who decided to ask about Trump. She could have asked about what his surge in the polls represented -- a topic Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) himself had addressed on the Senate floor earlier in the day. Or perhaps what Reid thought Trump’s impact might be on the Latino vote. 

Instead, she asked about Trump’s grade school-level stunt of revealing the cell phone number of a rival, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and managed to win some of the best looks of disgusted amusement that you’ll see from Reid’s fellow leaders.

“I’m wondering what you think of behavior like that, whether it’s befitting of a presidential candidate, whether he should be in the race still,” the reporter asked.

“Who, Lindsey?” Reid asked back, with a perfect deadpan. 

Reid declined to weigh in on the vital importance of Trump going all third grade on Graham, but he was happy to reprise his floor speech from the morning. Watch Reid above, especially the expressions of Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) as they realize what question is being asked.

Michael McAuliff covers Congress and politics for The Huffington Post. Talk to him on Facebook.


Paige Lavender   |   July 20, 2015   11:14 AM ET

July 20 (Reuters) - U.S. Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush vowed on Monday to shake up Washington's culture if he reaches the White House, calling for stricter controls on government spending and a longer ban on lobbying by former members of Congress.

Bush proposed a federal balanced budget amendment and presidential line-item veto power, as well as a freeze on government hiring.

"It will not be my intention to preside over the establishment, but in every way I know to disrupt that establishment and make it accountable to the people," Bush, the former Florida governor, said in a speech in state capital Tallahassee.

Bush, whose father and brother both served as U.S. president, has been eager to distance himself from Washington or any appearance of continuing a political dynasty.

He has pointed to his record in Florida to cast himself as a reformer and to separate himself from the large pack of Republicans seeking the party's nomination for president in the November 2016 election.

On Monday, Bush said Floridians called their capital "Mount Tallahassee" before he took over as governor, because its leaders held themselves apart from their constituents. He said the problems in Washington were similar.

He said he supported a federal balanced budget amendment to limit spending and would institute a rule to hire just one new federal worker for every three who leave.

He also said the president should have "constitutionally sound" line-item veto power to eliminate spending measures from legislation approved by Congress.

Many state governors have some form of line-item veto authority, which lets them strike provisions of bills without rejecting the entire legislation. Congress authorized presidential line-item vetoes in 1996, but the U.S. Supreme Court later ruled the law unconstitutional.

Bush also said he cracked down on lobbying in Florida and would do the same if elected president.

"We need to help politicians to rediscover life outside of Washington, which - who knows? - might even be a pleasant surprise for them," Bush said.

He said lawmakers should have to disclose on their websites when they meet with lobbyists, and members of the House of Representatives and Senate should have to wait six years before they can lobby their former colleagues.

Currently, members of the House have a one-year cooling off period, and senators must wait two years before lobbying. (Reporting by Emily Stephenson and Luciana Lopez; Editing by Bill Rigby)


Paul Ryan Explains What Jeb Bush Meant When He Said Americans Should Work Longer Hours

Michael McAuliff   |   July 10, 2015    3:17 PM ET

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Paul Ryan, who was Mitt Romney's vice presidential nominee in 2012, declined Friday to say whether 2016 contender Jeb Bush's recent declaration that "Americans need to work longer hours" was as damaging as Romney's infamous "47 percent" remarks.

"You're Huffington Post aren't you? What the hell?" the Wisconsin Republican joked at first.

But Ryan, a notorious data geek, did offer his interpretation of what Bush meant to say.

"I think what he’s talking about is the fact that there are too many people in America who have part-time jobs who want full-time jobs. That’s a problem; that's what he’s talking about," Ryan said. "If you get into the labor force participation rates, inside of that, there’s a lot of part-time workers who don’t want to be part-time workers, who want to be full-time workers.”

Bush was hammered over the remark by commentators and the campaign of Hillary Clinton, which noted that Americans are the most productive workers in the world, and that while productivity has kept on rising, it is pay that has lagged. On top of that, Gallup reports that American workers already average nearly 47 hours per week.

Still, part-time workers' share of the workforce has been slowly falling since it peaked at 20 percent after the recession. It still stands at 18.6 percent, a couple of points higher than before the recession.

Asked how many times Bush would now have to say it Ryan’s way, Ryan said, "Welcome to politics."

Michael McAuliff covers Congress and politics for The Huffington Post. Talk to him on Facebook.

Lawmaker Wants To Make Federal Laws Gender Neutral To Reflect Marriage Equality

Amanda Terkel   |   July 9, 2015   11:15 AM ET

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) introduced a bill Wednesday to make federal laws that reference marriage gender neutral, now that the Supreme Court has legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

"We need to have our values reflected in our laws," she said, adding, "This is a piece of what we have to do to readjust the way everything is framed."

Capps' legislation, which has 23 cosponsors, identifies 31 portions of the federal code that need to be updated. Instead of words like "wife" and "husband," there will be the terms "spouse" or "married couple."

The bill would also fix some areas of gender discrimination written into federal laws. The Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977, for example, refers only to miner's wives as being eligible for survivor benefits. With Capps' change, spouses of miners, regardless of gender, would qualify. It is also currently illegal to kill the president's wife, but not his or her husband.

"We appreciate Rep. Capps introducing legislation to ensure that the words in the U.S. Code appropriately reflect the Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, that all marriages are equal," said Human Rights Campaign spokesman Jason Rahlan.

There have also been efforts to make laws gender neutral at the state level. In Washington state, "fisherman" became "fisher" and "journeyman plumber" became "journey-level plumber."

The Justice Department announced on Thursday that the government will extend federal benefits to same-sex couples in light of the Supreme Court ruling.

'Space Guy' Jeb Bush Would Increase Funding To NASA

Igor Bobic   |   July 8, 2015    4:37 PM ET

WASHINGTON -- If elected president in 2016, Jeb Bush would propose an increase in funding to NASA.

"I'm a space guy," Bush said in a Wednesday sit-down with the New Hampshire Union Leader's editorial board.

The former of governor of Florida, where a large portion of the country's aerospace industry resides, said he would also support increasing federal spending on research and development.

The Obama administration proposed a half-billion dollar increase to NASA's budget earlier this year, totaling $18.5 billion for fiscal year 2016. That request could run aground in the Republican-controlled Congress, where Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a presidential candidate and the chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Science, Space, and Competitiveness, feels that a reordering of the space agency is in order.

For more from The Huffington Post, download our app for iOS or Android.

"We must refocus our investment on the hard sciences, on getting men and women into space, on exploring low-Earth orbit and beyond, and not on political distractions that are extraneous to NASA’s mandate," Cruz said in a statement earlier this year.

Cruz, a Tea Party Republican who denies the existence of global warming, objects to NASA's focus on Earth science and climate change and wants to return the agency to its "core priorities.” It's unlikely that he would zero out funding for programs studying the planet entirely, but he made clear his intent to alter NASA's direction in a budget hearing earlier this year.

It's not entirely clear where the rest of the 2016 Republican presidential field stands on space exploration. Like Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio also hails from the state of Florida, the home of the Kennedy Space Center. He has fought to maintain funding to NASA, and is a booster for a manned mission to Mars. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), on the other hand, would drastically cut funding to the space agency -- by as much as 25 percent, according to his 2014 budget.

Reid Slams Entire GOP Over 'Disgusting' Trump Remarks

Michael McAuliff   |   July 8, 2015    4:03 PM ET

WASHINGTON -- Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) slammed not just Donald Trump but the rest of the Republican Party Wednesday over the wealthy businessman's anti-Mexican slurs.

Trump has repeatedly described undocumented immigrants from Mexico as "rapists" and "drug dealers," adding, "Some, I assume are good people.”

After calling Trump's comments "distasteful, disgusting," Reid went further, hammering his GOP colleagues in the Senate and on the campaign trail for not denouncing the remarks.

For more from The Huffington Post, download our app for iOS or Android.

"Frankly, I'm terribly disappointed that my Republican colleagues here in leadership positions in the Senate and those running for president have basically kept their mouths shut," Reid told reporters. "I think that's unfortunate and I think that speaks of where the Republican Party is today."

One Republican senator running for president, Florida's Marco Rubio, has condemned Trump's comments, as has another candidate, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

But Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was captured on video avoiding the topic and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has said Trump should not apologize.

Michael McAuliff covers Congress and politics for The Huffington Post. Talk to him on Facebook.