Time is a flat circle
April 25, 2019

Will the media make the same mistake with Joe Biden as it did with President Trump in 2016?

FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver wondered as much on Thursday after Biden officially entered the 2020 race. The statistician and election expert writes that "there's a case to be made" that the media is "overlooking the obvious front-runner in Biden," instead chasing "shiny new objects like Pete Buttigieg" and ignoring "older, more working-class and more moderate Democrats."

Silver suggests media elites might have the "same blind spots for Biden that they had for Trump," meaning that although "journalists' social circles" may not be chock-full of Biden voters, "that doesn't mean they aren't out there." The fact that Biden's poll numbers have been largely unaffected by accusations of inappropriate touching also suggests "it's possible that the media is underestimating how robust Biden's support might turn out to be," Silver says.

This isn't to say that Silver sees Biden as a shoo-in for the Democratic nomination, though. He refers to Biden as an "underdog" in the field and points out a number of potential liabilities, including his age. Unfriendly media coverage could also hurt Biden, Silver believes, as his candidacy will be seen within the mainstream media as "boring and anticlimactic."

Still, Silver assesses that while Biden is not the "odds-on favorite," he is the race's front-runner, and he has clear paths to the nomination before him. Read Silver's analysis of Biden's 2020 chances at FiveThirtyEight. Brendan Morrow

October 19, 2018

Ready to go through the 2016 election all over again?

Philippe Reines, who worked for Hillary Clinton going back to 2002 and was her senior adviser at the State Department, made the argument to Politico Friday that the former Democratic nominee might actually be the party's best hope for defeating Trump in 2020. He said no other Democrat has "anywhere near a base of 32 million people," especially not Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) or Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). The party, he feels, shouldn't dismiss her as a failed candidate because she's "smarter" and "tougher" than most, and she "could raise money easier than most."

But it doesn't sound like this is just wishful thinking on his part. He really thinks it could happen, saying the chances of Clinton running in 2020 are "not zero.”

Publicly, Clinton has said she will not run again, but Reines doesn't sound so sure she'll keep her word on that. Politico explored Clinton's careful re-entry into the political arena, noting that she's going on tour with former President Bill Clinton this fall and has reportedly even called up journalists who cover the White House to put out "the occasional feeler."

Despite her non-zero interest in public office, her favorability is even lower than it was in 2016. A recent Gallup poll found that Clinton is now polling at 36 percent — five points lower than President Trump. Read more about her political future at Politico. Brendan Morrow

August 27, 2018

HBO dropped the first trailer Sunday for the third season of True Detective, its anthology crime series. The tense clip showcases Oscar winner Mahershala Ali as lead detective Wayne Hays, an Arkansas state police detective who is "clearly haunted by a case," Variety explains. In the short teaser, Hays is seen at three different ages in varying states of anguish.

True Detective creater Nic Pizzolatto will write all of season three, though he will team with Jeremy Saulnier to direct. The series returns to HBO in January. Watch the clip below. Kimberly Alters

April 5, 2018

President Trump's administration is attempting to claim that existing sections of the border wall "count" as "new wall" if they are repaired, and Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego (Ariz.) isn't buying it. The congressman made his comments on MSNBC on Thursday, suggesting that trying to spin old wall as "new wall" is an attempt "to move us into a very Orwellian world," ThinkProgress' Aaron Rupar reports.

Last week, the Trump administration said it could fund 100 miles of repairs and new construction, including replacing 28 miles of structure near San Diego and another 20 miles in New Mexico. The U.S-Mexico border is 2,000 miles long. The White House had originally requested $25 billion for a new wall in Texas' Rio Grande Valley, but ultimately was given $1.6 billion by Congress that was designated specifically for repairing existing walls and updating technology. In frustration, Trump has reportedly considered dipping into Pentagon funding.

Gallego suggested the whole thing is a charade, as evidenced by the attempt to claim old walls as new walls. "This presidency is more worried about PR towards people watching Fox News and reading Breitbart than they are about actually accomplishing true border security," Gallego said, adding that "even [Trump's] own base doesn't believe the semantics that they're playing with right now."

Old wall, new wall — hey, time is a construct anyway, right? Watch below. Jeva Lange

January 4, 2018

Hillary Clinton apparently can't escape the "deep state."

The Daily Beast reported Thursday that the Department of Justice has taken an interest in a familiar subject — the infamous email server of the former Democratic presidential candidate and her alleged bungling of classified information.

Citing a source close to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, The Daily Beast claims that the Justice Department wants to know how those tasked with investigating Clinton's private email server went about their probe. DOJ officials are also reportedly interested in tallying the classified material contained in her emails and finding out "who put that information into an unclassified environment," The Daily Beast says. Before Clinton was cleared of criminal wrongdoing by the FBI in July 2016, the former secretary of state claimed that many of the emails on her server were classified after the fact or that she was unaware of which "headers" denoted that an email was classified.

Clinton's emails are a favorite grievance of President Trump, who has repeatedly called for his erstwhile political rival to be investigated again. As such, people within the DOJ are reportedly concerned that Trump's vocal tweets on the matter could cause the impression that the law enforcement agency is only doing the president's bidding. An unnamed former DOJ official even suggested to The Daily Beast that it was "an open question" if this inquiry would occur "without a political directive from the White House."

The Justice Department would not comment on the reported inquiry to The Daily Beast.

Read the full story here. Kelly O'Meara Morales

August 17, 2017

President Trump argued Thursday in favor of the beauty of parks with Confederate monuments (needless to say, a questionable perspective), tweeting that "you can't change history, but you can learn from it. Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson — who's next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish!"

Despite Trump's claims that "you can't change history," a short trip down memory lane lands us at that one time Trump erected a monument at his golf course in honor of a completely made up Civil War battle:

Even though there's a monument and plaque commemorating "casualties [that] were so great the water would turn red and thus became known as 'The River of Blood'" [at Trump's National Golf Club on Lowes Island in Sterling, Virginia], all the local historians reached by The New York Times denied anything of the sort ever happened in the area.

"No. Uh-uh. No way. Nothing like that ever happened there," Richard Gillespie, the executive director of the Mosby Heritage Area Association, the region's historical preservation group, said. Alana Blumenthal, who curates the Loudoun Museum in nearby Leesburg, agreed there had never been a battle at or near the site, as did another expert who chose not to be named.

When told about the historians' denial of the so-called River of Blood massacre, Trump replied, "How would they know that? Were they there?" [The Week]

Trump told the Times that "if people are crossing the river, and you happen to be in a civil war, I would say that people were shot — a lot of them," which unfortunately isn't how history works. Read the full story at The New York Times, and check out the inscription on Trump's statue below. Jeva Lange

April 6, 2017

President Donald Trump was inaugurated almost exactly 11 weeks ago, on Jan. 20. But he's either been working so hard he hasn't stopped to check a calendar, or he thinks the passage of time is fake news, because he's pretty sure it's been longer:

As for the claim about being off to one of the "most successful" starts in presidential history, well, that might be up for debate too. Kimberly Alters

September 25, 2014

Another True Detective has reportedly entered the fold. Variety reports that HBO has formally offered one of the lead roles in True Detective's second season to Rachel McAdams. McAdams has long been rumored as one of the top choices for the role, on a short list that also included actresses like Elisabeth Moss, Malin Ackerman, and Jessica Biel.

If she accepts, McAdams will join a cast that includes Colin Farrell and onetime Wedding Crashers co-star Vince Vaughn. HBO hasn't formally described the role she'd be taking, but previous leaks about the story for True Detective's second season described the female protagonist as "Ani Bezzrides, a tough, no-nonsense Monterey sheriff whose troubled upbringing has driven her to gambling and alcohol." Scott Meslow

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