HUFFPOST HILL - Trump Pivoting For Real, We Swear, Really, Just Trust Him, OK?

Donald Trump says he wants a “really fair” plan for people not in the country legally, so we guess he won’t kill their families. A mother has dragooned her son into managing a Trump field office, and you thought the parents on your neighborhood listserv were terrible. And Trump’s impact on voter registration has been one of his few campaign successes, meaning we’ll all be spending most of 2017 hate-reading pieces on Slate about how great Donald Trump was for democracy. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, August 22nd, 2016:

WELCOME TO DONALD TRUMP’S LATEST PIVOT - Alan Rappeport: “Donald J. Trump, tempering the tone of his hard-line approach to tackling immigration reform, said on Monday that he wants to come up with a plan that is ‘really fair’ to address the millions of undocumented immigrants now in the country. The softer comments from Mr. Trump, who is planning a major immigration speech this week, follow months of vows to build a wall along the southern United States border with Mexico and deport immigrants who have entered the country illegally. The strategy was a centerpiece of the platform that helped propel Mr. Trump to winning the Republican presidential nomination. Asked on Fox News if he was flip-flopping on his immigration ideas, Mr. Trump insisted that he still intends to be “strong” while emphasizing the importance of fairness.” [NYT]

Elise Foley details Trump’s history of promising to deport people.

Great pivot: Just days after the media heralded a “new Trump” because he said he felt bad for hurting people’s feelings, Donald Trump is back at it again with some mean tweets.  Trump tuned into MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Monday and didn’t like what he saw, so he threatened to “tell the real story” about co-hosts Joe Scarborough “and his very insecure long-time girlfriend,” Mika Brzezinski. In another tweet, he called Brzezinski an “off the wall, a neurotic and not very bright mess!” [HuffPost]

MOUNTING EVIDENCE OF TRUMP’S POST-ELECTION PLANS - Outside of complaining that his (inevitable) loss was rigged, of course. Greg Sargent: “Vanity Fair media writer Sarah Ellison reports in a radio interview that Trump has had private discussions with his inner circle about ‘how to monetize’ the new audience he’s built up. As Ellison puts it, this potential goal should no longer be seen as ‘speculation.’  The New York Times reports today that in July, Trump’s campaign ‘spent more on renting arenas for his speeches’ than he did on setting up a national field operation, leaving him with no operation to speak of. That is consistent with the idea that Trump... is very consciously sinking most of his resources into a format (rallies) that allows him to continue staging his unique form of raucous WWE-style political entertainment, and building an audience that thrills to it, rather than winning a general election.” [WaPo]

Hillary Clinton had another bad day with the mailer daemon.

HAPPY 20TH ANNIVERSARY, WELFARE REFORM - Twenty years ago today Bill Clinton signed Republican legislation known as welfare reform, which Republicans have hailed as a success because it capped spending and made a prime safety net program essentially obsolete. As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities points out, “Over the last 20 years, the national [Temporary Assistance for Needy Families] average monthly caseload has fallen by almost two-thirds — from 4.4 million families in 1996 to 1.6 million families in 2014 — even as poverty and deep poverty have worsened.” Paul Ryan hailed the anniversary in a video today. He wants to do “welfare reform” to the remaining safety net programs, such as food stamps. “It’s a system that discourages work,” he said in the video. No doubt about it, if the vicissitudes of the free market are made less bearable, poor people will feel more encouragement to accept poverty wages ― and centrists will rejoice! Please clap.

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TRUMP ACTUALLY BRINGING PEOPLE INTO THE PROCESS - What with, you know, the economic anxiety. Ben Schreckinger: “In Pennsylvania — where Democrats’ registration advantage has fallen by a fifth since the 2012 election, to 915,000 voters — more than 85,000 former Democrats have become Republicans this year, almost three times the number of voters who made the opposite switch...In North Carolina, Democrats’ voter registration advantage shrunk by 44,000 between June 2015 and May 2016, more than twice the rate it fell at during that period last cycle. As of Aug. 13, the Democratic advantage had dwindled to 641,000...More concerning for Democrats should be Florida, where the party’s registration advantage has shrunk to 259,000 voters — less than half the party’s edge during the 2012 election.” [Politico]

BANNON EMBRACES ALT-RIGHT - Wow, we really miss the otherwise harmless weirdos behind the 2012 Republicans. “’We’re the platform for the alt-right,’ Bannon told me proudly when I interviewed him at the Republican National Convention (RNC) in July. Though disavowed by every other major conservative news outlet, the alt-right has been Bannon’s target audience ever since he took over Breitbart News from its late founder, Andrew Breitbart, four years ago. Under Bannon’s leadership, the site has plunged into the fever swamps of conservatism, cheering white nationalist groups as an ‘eclectic mix of renegades,’ accusing President Barack Obama of importing ‘more hating Muslims,’ and waging an incessant war against the purveyors of ‘political correctness. … Trump’s new campaign chief denies that the alt-right is inherently racist. He describes its ideology as ‘nationalist,’” though not necessarily white nationalist. Likening its approach to that of European nationalist parties such as France’s National Front, he says, ‘If you look at the identity movements over there in Europe, I think a lot of [them] are really ‘Polish identity’ or ‘German identity,’ not racial identity. It’s more identity toward a nation-state or their people as a nation.’ (Never mind that National Front founder Jean Marie Le Pen has been fined in France for ‘inciting racial hatred.’)” [Mother Jones]

Trump has retreated to Fox News after winning the Republican nomination: “As Republican standard-bearer, however, Trump has mostly retreated to the relatively cozy confines of Fox News. And it seems to be in response to having badly damaged his own candidacy during a high-profile sit down on another network...Indeed, the last appearance Trump made on CNN was June 13, according to an official with the cable network. The last time he was on NBC News was July 24, three days after officially becoming the party’s nominee. He hasn’t appeared on MSNBC since a May 20 episode of “Morning Joe,” a show he’s since repeatedlyrailed against. And he hasn’t been on CBS since July 17, as part of the rollout for vice presidential pick Mike Pence. “ [HuffPost’s Sam Stein and Michael Calderone]

DONALD TRUMP STAFFERS SAYING THE THINGS YOU’D EXPECT DONALD TRUMP STAFFERS TO SAY - Remember when Samantha Power called Hillary Clinton a monster and that was considered over the line? AP: “Donald Trump’s paid campaign staffers have declared on their personal social media accounts that Muslims are unfit to be U.S. citizens, ridiculed Mexican accents, called for Secretary of State John Kerry to be hanged and stated their readiness for a possible civil war, according to a review by The Associated Press of their postings. The AP examined the social media feeds of more than 50 current and former campaign employees who helped propel Trump through the primary elections. The campaign has employed a mix of veteran political operatives and outsiders. Most come across as dedicated, enthusiastic partisans, but at least seven expressed views that were overtly racially charged, supportive of violent actions or broadly hostile to Muslims. A graphic designer for Trump’s advance team approvingly posted video of a black man eating fried chicken and criticizing fellow blacks for ignorance, irresponsibility and having too many children. A Trump field organizer in Virginia declared that Muslims were seeking to impose Sharia law in America and that ‘those who understand Islam for what it is are gearing up for the fight.’” [AP]

Speaking of Donald Trump staffers: “Donald Trump’s presidential campaign pays former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. CNN pays political analyst Corey Lewandowski. Corey Lewandowski appears on CNN shows to defend Trump, while reportedly still privately advising the Republican nominee.  Despite this apparent conflict of interest, CNN is sticking by its most controversial hire of the 2016 election season even as new details about payments to Lewandowski emerge.  The Washington Post reported Sunday that Lewandowski received his normal $20,000 monthly consulting fee on July 6, a couple of weeks after the Trump campaign fired him and CNN hired him.” [HuffPost’s Michael Caldeone]

ECONOMISTS PREFER CLINTON, JOHNSON OVER TRUMP - But if you narrow the sample to Trump University graduates who haven’t filed suit against the Republican candidate, the results are much more favorable for the Donald. Heather Long: “Economists think Hillary Clinton in the White House would be far better for U.S. businesses than Donald Trump.In fact, economists pick Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson as their second choice, according to a new survey from the National Association for Business Economics of over 400 experts. Trump comes in third. ‘A majority (55%) choose Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, followed distantly by Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson (15%) and Republican nominee Donald Trump (14%),’ says LaVaughn Henry of the NABE. ‘The remaining 15% said they ‘don’t know.’’ The results are another sign of how Trump is struggling to connect with the business community despite touting his own record as a business titan. Trump’s push to restrict trade and immigration are exactly the opposite of what most economists say the U.S. should be doing to boost growth.” [CNN]

CHILD RUNNING TRUMP FIELD OPERATION IN COLORADO - Dana Liebelson:  “A mother and her 12-year-old son are running a Trump field operation in a key Colorado county, according to news reports. Jefferson County is one of the most densely populated counties in Colorado, a battleground state where GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump was recently trailing Democrat Hillary Clinton, by 14 percentage points. The Trump campaign announced a new office there this month. Laurel Imer identifies as the West Denver Field Coordinator for Trump on Facebook. She told KDVR News she is delegating responsibility to her 12-year-old son, Weston. He is reportedly coordinating volunteers for Trump and hopes to lead the office until he starts school in September.” [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Dog just loves snail mail.

MANSPLAIN-Y VOICEOVER GUY STILL THE NORM IN POLITICAL ADS - “Today’s political advertising still relies on the male voice as an authority. And to that extent, ad makers admit it’s still somewhat sexist.  ‘As an industry, we have a hard time changing over from standard practice,” one Democratic media consultant said. ‘We’ve fallen into habit on that,’ GOP ad-maker Ben Burger said about the use of men’s voices to convey authority. ‘But I don’t think those are rules that are etched.’ … Several factors play into making the male-female decision.The selection of a narrator can be dictated by “the audience, the message we’re delivering, the look and feel of the spot, the time that it’s airing and if there are a lot of female voice-overs in that marketplace,” Liston said...One factor that’s always taken into account, though, is the gender of the candidate. If a female candidate is speaking in a commercial, it could be confusing to have another woman narrating.” [Roll Call]


- Guy Fieri without his signature look is disturbing.

- Hillary Clinton gets the Bad Lip Reading treatment.

- Don’t be a sore loser. Also don’t be this.


@pourmecoffee: Trump is like Col. Nathan Jessup except he screams “You’re goddamn right I did” before you can even finish asking the questions.

@aedwardslevy:If the election were held today, that would be sort of weird but we could all go to the beach this weekend

@ryangrim: If you shut down the Clinton Foundation, how would the world’s oligarchs achieve their main goal in life, eradicating disease and poverty?

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