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Tipsheet

Race-Baiting and Violent Assaults: A Dark Night in America

For many Americans, this year's presidential campaign has felt uniquely dissatisfying, if not outright dismaying. The two major political parties have seen fit to nominate historically unpopular individuals -- one of whom is overwhelmingly seen as temperamentally unfit for the job, and the other of whom is widely viewed as an irredeemable liar. Our national polarization is almost palpable. Partisans on both sides of the aisle look at the opposition's standard-bearer, aghast. How could they pick someone so obviously horrible? We're angry and blind to one another's concerns, fueling an increasingly-supercharged political environment. The resulting ugliness manifested itself in stark relief last night, twice over. First, Donald Trump made explicit a point he'd been implying, albeit ham-handedly, for months: The judge presiding over the Trump University fraud case should be removed from the proceedings because he's "Mexican" (or "Spanish," as the billionaire had also referred to the Indiana-born jurist of Hispanic heritage).  The rationale behind this demand, triggered by several rulings against Trump's interests, is simply appalling:

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Perhaps intuiting that this "conflict of interest" won't pass legal muster -- and that it is recklessly offered as a means of delegitimizing U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel's decisions by stoking on base racial resentments -- some Trump defenders have taken it upon themselves to invent additional rationales. One is that the judge donated to Hillary Clinton. False. Another is that the judge is a member of the noxious quasi-Latino-supremacist organization, the National Council on La Raza. Also false. A San Diego-based group called La Raza Lawyers Association, which is unaffiliated with the aforementioned National Council on La Raza, has honored and praised Curiel's work on behalf of the local Hispanic community (update: it appears that Curiel is a member of LRLA -- which, again, has nothing to do with the other organziation). That association has been twisted, mischaracterized, and plastered across the web.  But let's pretend that the national board of La Raza had, say, lobbied for him to fill a recent Supreme Court vacancy.  Even then, the standard Trump applies here would still amount to guilt by association. As someone who's been endorsed by filthy racist David Duke, and whose legions of devoted fans entail a not-insubstantial number of openly bigoted white nationalists, you'd think Trump might tread lightly on this front. But treading lightly is not how Trump operates.  Ever.  Indeed, rather than making a more nuanced and specific case against Curiel, the presumptive nominee has elected to pursue a much cruder path: Mention the judge's ethnicity, unprompted, at every opportunity, then straight-up demand a recusal solely because of his race. Megyn Kelly, Trump's one-time (and future?) nemesis, unloaded on Trump for the second time this week on Thursday evening's broadcast. Here she is with Trump fan Bill Bennett, who grimly agrees that his guy is making a big mistake:

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Kelly understandably adopts a tone of disgust and exasperation throughout the segment, whereas Bennett, who has defended Trump on air for months, appears downtrodden and frustrated. Meanwhile, in what can only be described as a stunningly counter-productive melee that lets Trump off the hook by creating an even more heinous and enraging spectacle, hardcore Trump opponents in northern California rioted outside one of his rallies. They burned American flags, chanted "America was never great," and physically assaulted Trump supporters in the streets. Repulsive:

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If Trump continues to demonstrate that he's pathologically incapable of cleaning up his act, and if these thuggish leftist criminals keep showing up at Trump events to terrorize innocent attendees, America is in for a long, demoralizing summer. And the violence could get far more serious.  I'll leave you with this.  Dark times:

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