07.31.2016 10:05 AM

Gold Star Parents vs. Trump

The latest, from the Times:

Khizr Khan, the soldier’s father, lashed out at Mr. Trump in an interview on Saturday, saying his wife had not spoken at the convention because it was too painful for her to talk about her son’s death.

Mr. Trump, he said, “is devoid of feeling the pain of a mother who has sacrificed her son.”

Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, a rival of Mr. Trump’s in the Republican primaries who has refused to endorse him, castigated him on Twitter. “There’s only one way to talk about Gold Star parents: with honor and respect,” he wrote, using the term for surviving family members of those who died in war.

And Hillary Clinton, Mr. Trump’s Democratic opponent, said he “was not a normal presidential candidate.”

Why is this controversy – one in a long, long string of controversies – potentially lethal for Trump?

Because veterans prefer Trump to Clinton, that’s why. 

And that’s why the Democratic convention in Philly was awash in flags and patriotism and soldiers – because Hillary and her strategists know that mistakes like the Khan mistake will peel away votes from Trump. Just like the McCain mistake did.

The Republicans are in the process of losing the Pro-Military Party mantle. They will regret it. 


  1. Lance says:

    Trump made those comments about McCain last YEAR at this time. Inget that a general is a different animal. However, it didn’t affect his standing in the Republican race for Presidential candidate one iota; he beat 16 other people to get to where he is today.

    As polarizing figures that Trump and Clinton are, people have already made up their minds. Rightly or wrongly, Sean Smith’s mother and the parents of other dead children have been and will be used likewise. None of the other supposed drip-drip “scandals” had any impact, neither will this.

  2. Kelly says:

    Left wing Democrats find the phony militarism repugnant. What if the Greens end up with 20% as a result and Trump wins thanks to Republican gerrymandering of districts and the work of retrograde governors and state legislatures who have made it hard for African Americans to vote, because to suppressive voter registration and ID laws? I think Michael Moore is right on this one. If there was any lingering suspicion that Hillary is actually a moderate Republican, her featuring a ranting general raving about brave Americans doing there duty in AN ILLEGAL war, put it to rest.

    • james elder says:

      that’s why Republicans don’t want online voting. It’s also why the big ISP’s fight net neutrality so hard. This stupid election could be over in a flash otherwise. We see it within ten years. Oh, before the naysayers start clutching their pearls if we can bank, shop, get paid and bet online we can damn well vote there too.

  3. Patrick says:

    If you want to beat Trump who i think has no desire to win the presidency, calling him a thug, bully and non politician is the wrong tactic. That is exactly what trump supporters are looking for. Point out that he is a New York insider, godless (with trumps demographic this is a major failing) and at heart a liberal with multiple wives, pro-choice etc and you break the Trump fantasy. Accentuate every lefty thing he has ever said. Point out that he invited the Clintons to his wedding. Laugh off his right wing spew as a joke and a reality television spin. Change the discussion and destroy the faith of his base. Doing the opposite just firms up trump supporters.

  4. James Smith says:

    If I were a SUPER PAC I’d be putting a commercial that emphases this person’s “medical” draft dodging his “personal Vietnam” (not getting an STD in the 70’s & 80s’) Insulting McCain’s service and now this.

    • bluegreenblogger says:

      There are so many things to do though. I think that is very appropriate for a PAC for the simple reason that the Democrats will need a whole lot of work just identifying and incorporating all the switch voters into their campaign. Hispanics first, and Muslims, and those groups that will monolithically abandon the Republicans need to be identified by name and address, and retained for future Congressional, Gubernatorial, and Presidential races. If I were at the top table, that is what I would be advocating for, the long term neutering of the Republican party in Congress first, then mopping up the transient voters second. This is going to be a total bloodbath, when the opportunities are too many for about a million volunteers to capitalise on at once… To think I thought Trump had a shot at the Presidency a few short months ago. There is a bigger chance of the Republican Party ceasing to exist than a Trump victory at this date, imho.

  5. Francis says:

    As much as it pains me to admit this, I’m not all that surprised by Trump’s behaviour.

    He’s a narcissistic, sociopathic billionaire with absolutely no bearing on reality and no genuine concern for plight of Americans. Thus, he’s able to say such despicable fucking things because he’s utterly oblivious to the world that exists outside of his ego.

    Donald Trump is as much an American as a Saudi Sheik; he resides in country of which he shares a common heritage and language, but beyond that, he holds himself far superior to any notion of a higher value on patriotism over wealth.

    As a Canadian observer, I’m aghast at the reaction by American Trump supporters. In a country where fallen soldiers are deemed national deities — particularly by conservatives, Trump effectively shat on a fundamental pillar of Republican doctrine. Yet, his supporters continue to justify and defend him.

    I guess when a country is as determined to commit suicide as the US is, rat poison will unarguably look like lemonade.

  6. MississaugaPeter says:

    IMO, Trump started it with the Benghazi heros Mark “OZ” Geist and John “TIG” Tiegen,

    Clinton brought in Khan to counter,

    and now Trump is counter countering.

    It is going to go back and forth until November 8 (which will not come soon enough).

    BTW, I agree with most of the other repliers who say that Trump’s Khan attack will just neutralize the story.

    Hillary was up. Trump topped her after his convention. Hillary will be up by 10 after this weekend. And she will be back to single digits the following week and until November 8 unless 1) she blows it at one of the debates (let’s face it, the Republican debates got Trump where he is today) or there are a few more terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.

    Hillary is just marginally less of a flawed candidate than Trump. There are more than a few revelations/books/commercials coming very soon that will attest to that. The problem is that those who are Trump supporters are not going anywhere. The best Hillary can do is have them not vote. They are not coming to her. Likewise, Hillary supporters are not going to Trump. But they may go elsewhere (in contrast to Trump’s folks who are not going antwhere) or not vote.

  7. Peter says:

    I think it would be a big mistake for Hillary and the Dems to get all excited about taking on the “pro-military mantle”. The charge against Hillary isn’t that she’s a peacenik but that she was reckless in foreign policy and casual about American lives. It wouldn’t be hard for Trump to come out with a respected soldier to blast her. Plus how many Sanders supporters would stay home in disgust?

    She is the most unlikely candidate to be all things to all people and she shouldn’t be reacting to every Trump outrage by trying to capture a new demographic. I would like to see her make a measured speech for the ages on the theme of, whatever their differences, Americans do not talk about one another this way. She could point out that the States has many races and cultures and that fueling resentments like Trump is doing every day before breakfast will damage the country no matter who prevails. In other words, she should present herself as the candidate of civility and pledge that, while she understands many voters will not agree with everything she does, she can promise she will not embarrass them or the country.

    The conservative humourist P.J. O’Rourke, a very funny guy, explained why he was voting for Hillary: “She’s wrong about almost everything, but she’s wrong within normal parameters”. Granted that may not be a winning electoral slogan, but surely she has no shortage of bright young staffers who know how to spin that into gold?

  8. Michael Bluth says:

    If the Republicans are losing the pro-military vote why is the race so close?

    Which demographic have the Republicans picked up to replace those lost votes?

    This is such a big example of cognitive dissonance. Trump is apparently losing support among every demographic, but polling much more strongly than Romney and McCain before him at this point in their elections.

    What is happening?

    • bluegreenblogger says:

      I have not been following polls, but a common error is to report decided numbers, but either allocate, or delete undecideds. Look at what Anderson did in the last Federal election to see the difference between polling that helps, and polling that confuses. Anderson focused on the voters that matter, those who are not yet decided, or not firm in their decision, and polled them on how their thinking and decision evolved. It was these voters behaviour that determined the actual electoral outcome, and Anderson was calling for a bloodbath in Trudeaus favour 4 weeks before e-day. because he saw those voters deciding Liberal over NDP on a daily basis. Here is a sample poll from Abacus that focused on what actually mattered:
      In short, it does not matter half so much how many people say who they are voting for, as it does why they are voting for them, and how certain they are to do so. After all, 48% support amongst the decided 70% of the electorate still only totals 34% of the actual vote.

  9. Jeff says:

    Wow Trump has just been the gift that keeps on giving. I am sure the Clinton campaign as just kicking themselves they didn’t put up more greiving families for Trump to attack.

  10. terence quinn says:

    This might give you an idea of The Trumpster’s appeal:

  11. Dale Nitz says:

    Trump should have known that he was setup by Clinton because she knew exactly what he would do and trump took the bait. I think that parading these grieving families in public to win this campaign really is shameful. The News media is so bias toward Clinton and is to the point of using these folks to make Trump look bad with the voters. Trump is not much better. I am not sure which one is more guilty of using these tactics. If I don’t vote for either one it will just O out someone else vote. Why do we have to have just a two party system when a lot of folks think the primaries should be open to all parties on the ballot and not just Donkeys or elephants. We need to have government working for us again and not for the big lobbyist.

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