Summer sneaks up on you

So it’s been far too long for my tastes since I posted here. In an effort to get something up in August before another post-less month goes by, I’m going to try something different: a quick round-up of several big stories in the last week

Trump campaign manager Manafort resigns. This was not that surprising in the last week following the staffing shakeup at the Trump campaign earlier, where Breitbart financier Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway were brought on to run the campaign. However, looking back just a week, the prospect that Manafort would be out in August is somewhat surprising. This follows the allegations that he received enormous payments for his political consulting work in Ukraine with ousted former president Viktor Yanukovych, money that would be more corrupt than pretty much anything either candidate has been accused of as of yet. These sums–if true, of course–are money stolen from the Ukrainian people.

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere called for a ban on the burka and other face coverings commonly worn by Muslim women. This follows proposals in France to ban the “burkini,” a swim garment that mimics their modest attire. This is part of a charged debate on Muslim immigration to Europe, something that could fundamentally change the demographics and culture of the countries, and is in the context of a string of Islamist terror attacks across the continent. Most of these attacks have been fairly low-scale, save for the truck attack in Nice on Bastille Day last month.

Following a few bad weeks for his campaign, Donald Trump gave his most apparently conciliatory speech yesterday. A lot of damage has been done, mostly from self-inflicted wounds on his part, like the public spat with the Khans, Muslim parents of an Army officer killed in Iraq. According to the Politico article, about a third of Republicans already reckon that any “pivot” from their party’s candidate would be too little, too late, or ineffectual. They quoted an anonymous Republican from the great commonwealth of Virginia thus: “You can keep moving people in and out of the car, but so long as the drunk guy is driving it while blindfolded, the ride probably isn’t going to get any smoother.” Trump is down considerably in the polls, and the way the electoral college math is shaping up does not bode well for him either. Clinton has solid leads in enough states to win without tossups at all, according to RCP. Some swing states, like Virginia and Colorado, already seem to be fairly solid for Clinton, while Trump’s campaign does not seem to have made any headway in must-win states for him, like Ohio, North Carolina, and Florida, let alone the Midwestern states that he was supposedly able to put in play, like Michigan or Wisconsin. There is still a long way to the election, but most elections don’t see giant swings one way or another after a month or so after the conventions. Time is tight for both parties, but especially the one that’s down and keeps digging its hole deeper.

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