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The Republican party inched toward civil war less than a month before election day, as spiralling poll numbers and controversies lit the fuse Monday for a potentially explosive conflict between its presidential nominee and senior leadership. (Evan Vucci/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
The Republican party inched toward civil war less than a month before election day, as spiralling poll numbers and controversies lit the fuse Monday for a potentially explosive conflict between its presidential nominee and senior leadership. (Evan Vucci/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Politics Briefing

What you missed from Trump’s brutal weekend Add to ...

POLITICS BRIEFING

By Chris Hannay (@channay) and Rob Gilroy (@rgilroy)

The Globe Politics is pleased to include a roundup of news and opinion on U.S. politics, through until this year’s election in November. As always, let us know what you think of the newsletter. Sign up here to get it by e-mail each morning.

If you are like us, you tried to unplug this long weekend. Maybe you had turkey dinner with family. Maybe you watched the Blue Jays get one step closer to their first World Series in a generation. Maybe you read a book.

And if you were so busy being thankful that you did manage to unplug, you hopefully missed one of the nastiest weekends in U.S. politics in quite a while. (Which is saying something for this campaign.) Since it’s our job, we’ll fill you in on what happened as the repercussions spill into this week, but we’ll try to do it as quickly as possible.

Donald Trump made very lewd comments about women (repeatedly), and fellow Republicans abandoned him in droves. Running mate Mike Pence cancelled a campaign stop, but insists he’s still on the ticket. Mr. Trump and Hillary Clinton had their second debate – which she appears to have won – but the real stars were the ordinary Americans who asked questions. During the debate, Mr. Trump said he would jail Ms. Clinton if elected, a remarkable claim that even stunned Republican prosecutors.

U.S. ELECTION 2016

> Brutal, degrading, anticlimactic: The Globe Mail’s John Ibbitson barely had time to carve his turkey over the weekend. Ibbitson called Sunday’s debate “brutal and degrading … [it] was simply the capstone of three tumultuous days that, unless the laws of political physics no longer apply, rendered Mr. Trump unelectable.” … In today’s Globe, he writes that U.S. democracy is on shaky ground and in need of an intervention: “The extraordinary events of the past few days have left Hillary Clinton poised to become U.S. president, the Republican Party in a shambles and Donald Trump the champion of the unhinged fringe. … Looking ahead, one of the chief tasks of the next president will be to put the damaged American political system back together through reconciliation. Assuming she becomes that president, Ms. Clinton will need to make this her highest priority.” … And, in case you missed it over the long weekend, be sure to read Ibbitson’s take on how Trump is the final warning for a political class that is deeply out of touch with ordinary Americans. Why should elites be nervous? Because, as Ibbitson writes, “you really, really don’t want to see what comes after Donald Trump.”

> No winners, only loss: Also in The Globe, Sarah Kendizior says the U.S. has gone far beyond arguments over who won Sunday night’s debate. “Does it matter? When this country has sunk this low – after a year dominated by bigotry and threats and now revelations about sexual assault – is it possible to contemplate anything but loss?”

> Reality TV meets realism: The Globe’s John Doyle says the Republican Party’s embrace of a reality TV star might have worked, except for the reality of Donald Trump’s “douchy guy” character. “The engine that has driven so much of reality TV is the belief that ordinary people, with all their messy baggage and lack of sophistication, are more authentically American. …  Trump’s downfall … was the revelation that … he’s still a garden jerk of the kind that thrives on TV.”

> Six key moments: Also in The Globe, Adam Radwanski breaks down the debate and points out the six unpresidential moments of Donald Trump’s performance. “Mr. Trump likely did not do well enough to shift the campaign’s momentum back in his favour, or make his electoral map less bleak. But he may have at least managed to stem the bleeding a little after just about the worst couple of days for any nominee in history.”

> Anarchy in the GOP: In the Washington Post, Philip Rucker and Robert Costa go inside a Republican Party that is inching toward “anarchy” as more of its elected congressmen and senators flee the toxic Trump ship. “Trump is exacerbating the tensions by rebuking any Republican who betrays him and using the party leadership as a foil.” … Also in The Post, George F. Will says Donald Trump is “the GOP’s chemotherapy.” Will says presidential candidate “is a marvelously efficient acid bath, stripping away his supporters’ surfaces, exposing their skeletal essences.” … In The New York Times, Paul Krugman says the “underlying cynicism” of the GOP explains why it took so long for many Republicans to abandon Donald Trump. “Mr. Trump … isn’t so much an anomaly as he is a pure distillation of his party’s modern essence.”

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW IN OTTAWA

> The Liberals have not yet gotten around to a promised ban on the use of asbestos in Canada.

> Two judges from New Brunswick are the leading contenders to be fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court, insiders tell The Globe.

> Not just a carbon tax: the Liberals say they have more rules coming out soon aimed to reduce emissions.

> The Canadian Red Cross is trying to distance itself from its American cousins as it tries to get donations for Hurricane Matthew relief.

> Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion had a rare diplomatic meeting with his North Korean counterpart this summer to talk about a case of a Toronto pastor imprisoned in the Asian country, though, as CBC puts it, “there is no evidence [the encounter]...has made the slightest difference in Lim's case.”

> A refugee claimant faces deportation after questions were raised about the spelling in some of her original documents.

> And Sarah Hampson’s profile of Sophie Grégoire Trudeau is a must-read for anyone interested in getting a better understanding of one of Canada’s most prominent public figures – not to mention the Prime Minister. “Traditionally, we look to political spouses to humanize their partners. We assume that the person in office – it is usually a he – is too reserved and circumspect to show an emotional side or to uncover his own psychological motivations. But Ms. Grégoire Trudeau is not so much a foil to her husband as a direct reflection of him. In many ways, he is the opposite of his father, whose emotional reserve and personal motto of reason over passion were legendary,” Ms. Hampson writes. Ms. Grégoire Trudeau is opening trading today at the Toronto Stock Exchange.

WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

André Picard (Globe and Mail): “Beyond the dollars, there needs to be discussion about why Ottawa transfers dollars for health care. It should be to ensure that there is a semblance of a national system, to ensure that all Canadians have similar and equitable to care, regardless of their ability to pay, and where they live. In a sense, Ottawa should be the conscience of medicare – and the way it can do that is by enforcing the terms of the Canada Health Act, and by targeting funds to underresourced parts of the system such as home care, palliative care and mental health.”

Denise Balkissoon (Globe and Mail): “Being white in Canada means a lower chance of developing cancer, hypertension and asthma. It also means being less likely to live in poverty. That doesn’t mean that every white person is healthy, wealthy or the prime minister (though every PM we have had has been white). It does mean that as cards are dealt in the hand of life, white is a good one to get. But unearned benefits based on an unchosen identity are uncomfortable to grapple with – and that’s why people prefer not to say ‘white.’ ”

Campbell Clark (Globe and Mail): “Suddenly, Mr. Trudeau is talking tough to the premiers. But he’s really trying to talk over them, to the public. That’s something his father preached. In his fiery farewell speech in 1984, Pierre Trudeau insisted he was able to repatriate the Constitution because he pushed aside the narrow interests of the premiers by making his case directly to Canadians, with a ‘people’s’ Charter of Rights.”

Toronto Star editorial board: “Simply put, Canada isn’t growing fast enough to make it possible to ensure there will be enough workers to fill the jobs of the future and to spark innovation and investment. Our birth rate is extremely low and within a few decades we could be suffering negative population growth unless immigration levels are raised.”

Stephen Maher (iPolitics): “When the Conservatives select a new leader in the spring we’ll have a better fix on how they’ll handle [the climate change] issue going forward. For the moment, however, the Wall-Rempel approach of aggressive rejection doesn’t seem to be getting as much traction as it might — and the Liberals ended the week thinking things had gone fairly well for them.”

 

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