Progressive Breakfast for September 27

Morning Message

Their Own Reality: It Was Contest Over Content in Trump/Clinton Debate

This was undoubtedly the first presidential debate in history to include a mention of Rosie O’Donnell. Even grading on a curve – something the press tends to do with Donald Trump – the Republican fared poorly on Monday night. Democrat Hillary Clinton took him down on issue after issue, from his tax returns to his business practices. Unfortunately, that was not her most important mission. Clinton’s fate rests on her ability to turn out key Democratic voters in large numbers, especially young people and minorities. In her zeal to defeat her opponent, which she clearly did, Clinton didn’t do enough to inspire and motivate her base.

Trump Trumped

All indicators suggest Clinton wins debate. Bloomberg: “Snap polls conducted after the debate similarly favored Clinton, including 62 percent of respondents in a CNN poll and 51 percent in a survey by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling. Even the Mexican peso, increasingly a barometer of Trump-related anxiety, rallied. At the root of this emerging consensus was Clinton’s ability to control the agenda.”

Trump veers wide right in the debate. Time: “Clinton focused on constituencies she needs if she is to reassemble the coalition that Barack Obama used to power his way to victory twice. Trump seemed determined to intentionally anger them. She was respectful about concerns of racism among African Americans; Trump called for unconstitutional law-enforcement tactics in their neighborhoods. Clinton discussed her plan to tax the ultra-wealthy to help pay for childcare and college; Trump pushed tax cuts for billionaires like himself and boasted that dodging taxes demonstrated he was ‘smart.'”

Trump whiffs on taxes. The Atlantic: “During Monday’s first presidential debate, Hillary Clinton offered her own theory: Trump is paying no taxes. And the Republican nominee seemed in the moment to confirm it, interjecting to say it would prove he was ‘smart.’ … [After the debate he said,] ‘Of course I pay taxes.’ But when NBC’s Katy Tur asked him directly whether he currently pays income tax, he declined to answe…”

Trump team spins hard. Bloomberg: “‘Debates are fine, but I think what’s most important is who is out there with people showing that they’re not hiding behind a podium or in a fundraiser with donors or wherever they may be on many days off,’ Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway told reporters … Rudy Giuliani … said that if he were Trump, ‘I wouldn’t participate in another debate unless I was promised that the journalist would act like a journalist and not an incorrect, ignorant fact checker,’…”

The Hill assess the candidates’ manufacturing plans: “The former first lady’s sweeping, five-year plan includes $250 billion in direct spending on new and improved infrastructure. It also emphasizes cutting the regulatory red tape that slows the construction of new projects and reauthorizes a Build America Bonds program to stimulate billions of additional dollars in infrastructure investments … Clinton’s plan would be paid for through business tax reform [but] she has been vague on details … The real estate mogul has vowed to double Clinton’s $275 billion proposal, bringing his plan to over a half-trillion dollars … But Trump has yet to lay out a specific policy proposal. He has only said that he would raise money for transportation projects through a fund, sold as infrastructure bonds, and that ‘people, investors and citizens’ would put money into the fund.”

Clean Power Plan In Court Today

Federal appeals court hears case on Obama’s Clean Power Plan today. The Hill: “Clean Air Act standards generally use the ‘best system of emission reduction,’ like emissions control technology. But in the climate rule, the system for emissions cuts applies to the entire grid, allowing electric generation to shift from more polluting sources to less polluting ones, like wind power. The rule’s challengers say that’s illegal … Opponents say the Clean Air Act forbids the EPA from regulating carbon dioxide in the way that it did, since it used another section of the act to regulate mercury and air toxics from power plants … Supporters say that Congress only intended to prevent double regulation of the same pollutants from the same plants.”

US not yet on track to reach carbon emissions goal. The Hill: “The research, published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change, says that the country will not hit the 26 to 28 percent emissions cut that Obama promised last year as part of the Paris climate agreement. But the researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab said additional new policies to cut greenhouse gases could bring the country in line with its pledge … if the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan is struck down in the courts and cannot take effect, it would be far more difficult to meet the Paris pledge.”

Breakfast Sides

Speaker Paul Ryan trying to push through sentencing reform. Politico: “The Wisconsin Republican for weeks has repeated his personal desire to move a bipartisan package that would include allowing well-behaved nonviolent prisoners to be eligible for early release and easing some drug-related sentencing requirements … [But with] Trump advocating for controversial policies like systematic ‘stop and frisk’ … Ryan’s conference is not eager to vote on the matter … Ryan is now eyeing the lame-duck session, by which time tensions might have eased.”

Justice Dept. preparing VW fine. Bloomberg: “The U.S. Justice Department is assessing how big a criminal fine it can extract from Volkswagen AG over emissions-cheating without putting the German carmaker out of business … The government and Volkswagen are trying to reach a settlement by January…”