Trump’s Margin of Manafort Error

Trump’s Margin of Manafort Error

According to a poll taken last week, and cited in the New York Times this morning, Donald Trump has achieved an inverse one-percent rating. This is to say that whereas the term “one percent” has by now largely conflated itself with the disparity between wealth and working people, Trump’s one percent in this instance refers to his level of support in African-American communities. If his ability to finance his own campaign in the GOP primaries indicates his exceptional ranking within American wealth holders, his inability to recognize wealth as anything but the prerogative of white people has led to his extraordinary unpopularity within even conservative factions of African-Americans voters.

In an attempt to portray itself as engaged in fair reporting, the Times parenthetically reminds its readers of any poll’s margin of error, which it notes might improve the results to reflect African-American support of Trump as possibly being as high as two and a half or three percent. I would suggest that Times neglected to mention that there is another way that that margin of error could operate. It is just as likely the case that Trump’s support among African-American voters is only .0001. I mention that the poll’s margin of error could work the other way — in a manner subtracting from the already mouth-dropping dismal digit — because I suspect that the one percent of African-Americans who responded positively to the poll on Trump misunderstood the question. Trust me on this: give any group of one hundred people a question to answer, and at least one person will turn in a response that does not accurately reflect their actual beliefs or analysis.

But why should a poll in African-American communities matter to Trump’s supporters? He could poll zero with all communities of color and it would not in the least matter to him or to Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager. Especially to Manafort, who would probably not flinch if he went back in time and was offered a chance to massage the public image of Adolph Hitler in 1933. In fact, offered enough money, Manafort might even accept the job in 1943. Why not? Is such retrospective speculation truly an ad hominem attack? Manafort has worked for Ferdinand Marcos and Victor F. Yanukovych, and with these two character references, he most certainly qualifies for a trial hot balloon fantasy of dallying with other dictators.

It cannot be said often enough: the fear that Trump aspires to imposing a dictatorial agenda on the United States is not an outlandish case of liberal paranoia. Mr. Manafort’s association with deposed elements in the Ukraine may or may not have required him to register as a foreign agent with the United States Justice Department, but American voters need to register the threat that such an individual would pose to every amendment but the second one, should the candidate he serves be elected in November.

Whether the allegations implied by the NY Times’ article about possible links between Mr. Manafort and records of cash payments in the Ukraine are true is not really my concern here. What I want made public is the actual amount of money paid to Mr. Manafort in legally cashed checks. That Mr. Manafort would willingly work for such individuals as Ferdinand Marcos and Mr. Yanukovych is the most disturbing issue, and PDFs of the checks he cashed should be posted on-line right now. If Trump wants to wait until after the third debate to release his taxes, I’m willing to wait. Manafort’s books are surely not being audited, and I see no reason why he should not give us immediate and unconditional access to his tax returns.

It is not fun to vote out of revulsion and loathing, but this time it is unavoidable. Elections are not fun; they are not about awarding public office to someone you “like” or “want to spend time with.” In a little over a dozen weeks, American voters will decide whether Mr. Manafort will be awarded the post of Secretary of State or Secretary of Defense in February, 2017. And if you think I’m exaggerating the nature of what’s at stake here, just remember what happened in the aftermath of the 2000 election.

I don’t care what polls say about Hillary Clinton’s lead. If we don’t keep the pressure on, and remind people what will happen if Trump wins, then we will lose every social gain that has been achieved since the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., Bobby Kennedy, and Harvey Milk. If America is to be “great again,” let it be the greatness of reinforcing diversity they dreamed of.