Alexandra Tselios

The “Weak” in U.S. Politics: October 3rd 2016

The “Weak” in U.S. Politics: Is SNL’s political bias showing? Is Clinton employing the same tax-avoidant strategies as Trump? And are the biggest Trump Twitter supporters actually just bots? 


The “Weak” in Politics as seen by Alexandra Tselios

During a week which saw a huge discrepancy between media reporting and people reporting, it really depends who you listen to in regards to whether it was Clinton or Trump who won the debate. But does it even matter? Not entirely. There is still a lot of time for one of them to impress wildly and/or fail wildly and we at The Big Smoke are waiting with bated breath as we watch the cards fall the way they may.

Saturday Night Live returned with Alec Baldwin doing a hilarious portrayal of Trump with Kate McKinnon repeating her Clinton shtick as they replayed the first Presidential Debate. No doubt you would have seen the video shared all over Facebook, and Alec Baldwin was brilliant. However, some viewers started calling out SNL on their clear bias, highlighting their willingness to belittle Trump yet only play banter-insults with Hillary. Is it fair, though, to call out SNL for their bias when both Clinton and Trump are welcome to host the show? Or is there simply just way more material with Trump? Another video doing the social media rounds over the weekend was of Michelle Obama saying, “We need an adult in the White House … a Presidency doesn’t change who you are, it reveals who you are.” Let’s be honest, one of the best weapons of this entire Clinton campaign has been Michelle Obama.

Speaking on fair, one of the biggest arguments in the Clinton campaign against Trump at the moment is his mysterious tax returns which prompted Clinton to suggested he is hiding a bombshell. This week, The New York Times published three pages of Trump’s 1995 tax return showing “more than $900 million in losses that could have allowed him to avoid paying any federal income taxes for up to 18 years.” The NY Times article also provides an interesting outline on what public information is currently available around Trump’s dealings. It is also worth noting that while Trump’s main rejection to providing the documentation due to an audit going back to 2009 with the IRS, they themselves have said that there is no requirement for a taxpayer to keep the forms secret during an audit. So, how did The New York Times become privy to Trump’s tax documents especially considering it is illegal to publish a federal tax return without authorization? Reporter Susanne Craig claims they just showed up in her mailbox, even giving advice to other journalists saying, “Check your mailboxes. Especially nowadays, when people are worried that anything sent by email will leave forensic fingerprints, ‘snail mail’ is a great way to communicate with us anonymously.” Trump, of course, responded by clarifying he knows complex tax laws better than anyone, including the hashtag #failing directed at @nytimes.

This, of course, has sent the Twittersphere into creating ’90s-inspired memes mocking Trump’s miniscule tax payments with the hashtag #LastTimeTrumpPaidTaxes.

3909eff200000578-3818573-image-m-41_1475443556353Interestingly, on the flip side to this, some commentators are suggesting that Clinton’s own documentation show a $700,000 loss that would avoid her paying taxes in 2015—essentially a similar tax strategy that Trump employs. While many business people employ such a strategy, it is worth reading the recent analysis on Bloomberg which stated: “The top 1 percent also gets a big serving of benefits from itemized deductions, which include gifts to charitable organizations, gobbling up 32 percent of that category. That’s a lot of old Chanel suits. Low- and middle-class people have very few investments in taxable accounts, noted Gleckman, with most of their savings in tax-free accounts on which they don’t pay capital gains tax.”

Meanwhile, Trump has been under fire yet again for his tweeting, this time his tweets about a sex tape from ex-Miss Universe Alicia Machado were blasted prior to 5:00 a.m. showing that Clinton’s comments at the first debate really got under his skin. Trump’s tweets have famously been analyzed, when coming from his Android and are vitriolic it is clearly Trump himself; when coming from an iPhone and are more “palatable,” more likely a Trump campaign staffer. Another notable find, this time by Politico, was around the Trump supporters who have been called Trump’s cyborg Twitter army. While Trump has over 12 million twitter followers, Politico are questioning the authenticity of those going to proverbial bat for Trump. Politico stated, “The accounts pumping out the tweets created the appearance of authentic outrage but had all the hallmarks of fakes, according to researchers who specialize in “bot” networks — short for robot — that shower social media with phony messages appearing to spring up from the grass roots.”screen-shot-2016-10-03-at-5-41-29-pm

This may not seem like a massive deal, however, it is worth noting that while at the very beginning of the Trump campaign it was wildly discussed that he took a rent-a-crowd approach. While it is unlikely that he now needs to hire people to support him (it is clear that there are a vast majority of Americans who feel he represents their interests), taking the fake-it-till-you-make-it approach is probably Strategy Point #1 in the Trump Business Plan of becoming President.


 The “Weak” in Politics as seen by Roger Pugh

Heard in a Texas Saloon
“How did illegal immigrants react to the Trump/Hillary debate?”
They offered to leave the country voluntarily.

Heard in a Georgetown Restaurant
“Surely there’s got to be a way for Hillary to capitalize on her eight years of preparation as First Lady.”
Of course there is, she should withdraw from the Presidential race and marry Trump.

Heard at a Television Network
“How can we ensure that the second debate brings an entirely different perspective?”
By appointing Gennifer Flowers and Ivana Trump as the moderators.

Heard at a Hollywood Hairdressing Salon
“Were you impressed by the first debate?”
Absolutely not, my husband and I carry on like that all the time.

Heard at the Country Club
“Trump doesn’t seem to be all that into foreign affairs.”
Well, he obviously sees the damage they’ve done to Hillary.

Heard at a Coffee Morning
“What was your considered opinion of the first debate?”
Well it reminded me of that TV show ‘Would I Lie To You?’ apart from the fact it was so obvious that no one was telling the truth.




Alexandra Tselios

Founder and CEO of The Big Smoke, Alexandra oversees the leading opinion site in both Australia and the USA. As a social commentator, she is interviewed most days of the week on radio across the country in Australia as well as working with NFP think-tank, Plus61J, which explores the political and social ties between Australia and Israel.

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