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Books by and about 2016 presidential candidates
Hard Choices,
by Hillary Clinton (2014)
Crippled America ,
by Donald J. Trump (2015)
Trump vs. Hillary On The Issues ,
by Jesse Gordon (2016)
Outsider in the White House,
by Bernie Sanders (2015)
American Dreams,
by Marco Rubio (2015)
Taking a Stand,
by Rand Paul (2015)
Unintimidated,
by Scott Walker (2013)
A Time for Truth,
by Ted Cruz (2015)
One Nation,
by Ben Carson (2014)
Trump/Pence vs. Clinton/Kaine On the Issues ,
by Jesse Gordon (2016)
Living History ,
by Hillary Rodham Clinton (2003)
Between Hope and History ,
by Bill Clinton (1996)
In Harm’s Way ,
by Dr. Jill Stein (2000)
Democrat vs. Republican vs. Green vs. Libertarian,
Four Party's Presidential Nominees On The Issues (2016)
Books by and about 2012 presidential candidates
Ten Letters
about Pres. Barack Obama (2011)
Do Not Ask What Good We Do
about Rep. Paul Ryan (2012)

Book Reviews

(from Amazon.com)

(click a book cover for a review or other books by or about the presidency from Amazon.com)

First Presidential Debate at Hofstra University, Sept. 26, 2016, moderated by Lester Holt of NBC News


    Click on a participant to pop-up their full list of quotations
    from First 2016 Presidential Debate (number of quotes indicated):
  • Donald Trump (36)
  • Gary Johnson (5)
  • Hillary Clinton (22)
  • Jill Stein (7)
    OR click on an issue category below for a subset.
Commentary
    An estimated 81 to 84 million people watched this debate live, the largest audience for any presidential debate in history. The discussion all week has been "who won?" Trump claims he won; the polls mostly say Hillary won; but the real question is, "What does 'win' mean in a debate?"

    'Win' does not mean 'Who scored more political points?' Not 'Who had the best one-liners?' Not 'Who got more talk on the news shows?' Not even 'Who looked more presidential?' To political strategists, 'win' means something very specific: Who gained the most votes? The purpose of the debates, from a political strategy point of view, is to gain votes, particularly among undecided voters. Polls later this week will tell the REAL answer to that question, and 'Who won the debate?' will be answered by 'How many undecided voters decided for Hillary or for Trump?'

    There are two key groups of undecided voters at this stage of a political campaign: (1) Those who are split between the two major-party choices; and (2) Those who are undecided about whether they care enough to get out and vote. The polls actually measure only group (1), by simply asking voters whether they are undecided. For group (2), the pollsters estimate voting turnout based on historical averages, and factor those expected turnout rates into their predictions – that's much more art than science, and is the reason polls differ from one another in their conclusions.

    For Trump, group (2) mostly comprises suburban white middle-class voters – who traditionally have a high voting rate. For Hillary, group (2) mostly comprises young people and minorities – who traditionally have a low voting rate. Trump's goal in the debates is to inspire suburban white middle-class voters enough that they stick with him instead of Hillary, and that they stick with him enough to get out and vote. Hillary's goal in the debates is to inspire young people and minorities enough that they register to vote and then go vote on Election Day. Minority voters appear to be fully in Hillary's camp already, so Hillary's goal has become inspiring young voters – with a high overlap to Bernie Sanders supporters.

    Barack Obama won the presidency by a wider margin than the polls predicted because he inspired young people and minorities to register to vote, and then to vote. The pollsters underestimated those voting rates, because those groups have an awful voting history – in particular, young people vote at rates under 40% (meaning fewer than half of voters aged 18-29 actually bother to get through the process of registration and voting). Compare that to voting rates of around 80% for suburban white middle-class voters – that means that if a pollster happens to call a young person, their answers are counted at only 1/2 of the value of an answer from a suburban white middle-class voter. That skews the poll results if the pollster's estimates are wrong – which is why Obama beat Mitt Romney in 2012 by 3% when the polls predicted a Romney victory by 1%. Bernie Sanders similarly did better than the the polls in several primaries – and the big question now is whether Hillary can do the same with those same young voters.

    Let's look at the numbers for the first debate. About 81 to 84 million people watched; about 20% of those are undecided voters, or about 16 million undecided voters. Since all of them will make up their mind by election day, and there are four debates scheduled, each debate might be considered responsible for helping 5% of the undecided voters make their decision – that's 4 million votes to be split by the 'winner' and 'loser' of each debate.

    Trump entered this debate a little bit behind in the polls -- his goal was to get enough of those 4 million undecided voters to catch up. His tactic was to demonstrate his business success (which he touted repeatedly, on every topic from frugality on his own income taxes to pointing out the weaknesses of several negotiated deals with foreign countries), and to exemplify "thinking on his feet," speaking extemporaneously rather than using "canned responses" prepared in advance. Certainly Trump followed through on those two tactics, which focus on characteristics important to his base. The weekend polls in a few days will determine if Trump succeeded in converting the undecided white middle-class suburban voters who were his target audience – in which case he was right that he 'won.'

    Hillary's goal was to target sub-groups of the undecided voters: specifically, young voters, white suburban middle-class women, and minorities. She targeted each of those groups separately, at different times during the debate. For the young voters, Hillary talked a lot about the failures of "trickle-down economics," a populist message that resonates with progressives who supported Bernie Sanders and idolize Elizabeth Warren. For the women voters, Hillary focused on Trump's sexism in calling out a beauty queen who became overweight; Alicia Machado quickly became the favored topic on all of the political pundit shows. For African-American voters, Hillary discussed the "systemic racism in our criminal justice system," using a term that Bernie Sanders favored in the primaries. For Latino voters, Hillary will presumably focus on them more in the next debate when immigration is a central topic, but Alicia Machado served as a symbol for anti-Latino racism as well as sexism. To my pundit ears, all of those topics seemed pre-planned to target specific audiences of undecided voters – look for polls breaking down those demographics to see if Hillary succeded.

--Jesse Gordon, editor-in-chief, jesse@ontheissues.org, September 28, 2016
 OnTheIssues.org excerpts:  (click on issues for details)
Budget & Economy
    Donald Trump: FactCheck: Fed keeps interest rates low, but apolitically.
    Donald Trump: FactCheck: Paid income taxes for 3 years out of 5 in 1970s.
    Donald Trump: Our jobs are fleeing to Mexico; China uses us as piggy bank.
    Donald Trump: Worst recovery since Great Depression; we're in a bubble.
    Donald Trump: Not paying income taxes makes me smart.
    Hillary Clinton: No trumped-up trickle-down: reward work, not transactions.
    Hillary Clinton: Trump's plan costs 3.5M jobs; mine creates 10M jobs.
    Hillary Clinton: Jobs for you, not just prosperity for those at the top.
Civil Rights
    Donald Trump: Sued in 1970s for racist rental policy, but same as everyone.
    Hillary Clinton: Ask ourselves hard questions about implicit bias by race.
Corporations
    Donald Trump: Reducing taxes from 35% to 15% will be a job creator.
    Hillary Clinton: Make wealthy pay their fair share; close corporate loopholes.
Crime
    Donald Trump: FactCheck: Stop-&-frisk unconstitutional but NYPD disagrees.
    Donald Trump: Stop-and-frisk worked very well in NYC.
    Donald Trump: Without law and order, we don't have a country.
    Donald Trump: Considers stop-and-frisk useful and tremendous beyond belief.
    Gary Johnson: Stop & frisk isn't constitutional.
    Hillary Clinton: Stop-and-frisk is ineffective as well as unconstitutional.
    Hillary Clinton: Race still determines too much, especially in justice system.
    Hillary Clinton: End profit motivation to filling prison cells.
Energy & Oil
    Jill Stein: Nuclear power plants risk proliferation and going Fukushima.
    Donald Trump: America invested in solar panels and it was a disaster.
Families & Children
    Donald Trump: Hillary and I agree on paid family leave.
Foreign Policy
    Donald Trump: FactCheck: No, Iran is not a trading partner of North Korea.
    Donald Trump: Iran has power over North Korea, as their trading partner.
    Donald Trump: US cannot afford to be world's police; let NATO allies pay.
    Hillary Clinton: Honor treaties with South Korea & Japan: our word is good.
    Hillary Clinton: For long-term US policy against nuclear proliferation.
    Hillary Clinton: Glad the deal took nuclear off the table with Iran.
Free Trade
    Donald Trump: FactCheck: NAFTA reduced U.S. jobs by 1%, not 30% or 50%.
    Donald Trump: FactCheck: yes, Ford plant in Mexico, but no U.S. job cuts.
    Donald Trump: FactCheck: No, VATs are not tariffs against US exports.
    Gary Johnson: Free trade, not isolationism; low spending, not taxes.
    Hillary Clinton: FactCheck: Yes, called TPP "gold standard," unambiguously.
    Jill Stein: We want antidotes to NAFTA.
    Donald Trump: Renegotiate NAFTA; they charge us 16%; we charge nothing.
    Donald Trump: Tax imports when U.S. companies manufacture abroad.
    Donald Trump: NAFTA was worst trade deal ever; TPP is a close second.
    Hillary Clinton: Support deals good for US economy & security; not CAFTA!
Government Reform
    Jill Stein: No money from lobbyists; No money from SuperPACs.
    Gary Johnson: Clinton promises spending programs but doesn't address debt.
Gun Control
    Donald Trump: No guns for people on terrorist watch-list.
    Hillary Clinton: Gun epidemic is leading cause of death of young black men.
Homeland Security
    Donald Trump: FactCheck: US spends more than NATO, but only 22% on NATO.
    Donald Trump: We defend Germany, Japan, Saudi Arabia: they need to pay.
Immigration
    Donald Trump: People pour into US and citizens lose jobs.
    Gary Johnson: No random deportations; just keep out criminals & terrorists.
    Jill Stein: End fear-mongering; immigrants are law-abiding.
Jobs
    Hillary Clinton: FactCheck: Yes, experts say Hillar'y plan will gain 10M jobs.
Principles & Values
    Donald Trump: I filed a 104-page disclosure form; I earned $609M last year.
    Donald Trump: I did a good job getting Obama to produce birth certificate.
    Donald Trump: Hillary does not have the stamina to be president.
    Donald Trump: Clinton's private email server was on purpose & no "mistake".
    Donald Trump: I got Obama to produce birth certificate, so I'm satisfied.
    Gary Johnson: I offer choices beyond the same old red vs. blue.
    Hillary Clinton: Birtherism is a racist lie against our first black president.
Tax Reform
    Jill Stein: Rich should pay 55%-60% taxes, not 15% or 35%.
    Donald Trump: I'm gonna cut taxes and regulations big league.
    Donald Trump: Tax cuts for the wealthy, who will create tremendous jobs.
    Hillary Clinton: Trump loophole: $4B tax benefit for Trump family.
    Hillary Clinton: Trickle-down hasn't worked; no slashing taxes on wealthy.
Technology
    Donald Trump: Can't fix infrastructure because politicians squander money.
    Donald Trump: We invented Internet but ISIS is beating us at our own game.
    Hillary Clinton: Cyberwarfare will be greatest challenge for next president.
War & Peace
    Donald Trump: FactCheck: Would shoot Iranian warships too near US warships.
    Jill Stein: Libyan invasion was a catastrophe that inflamed the Mideast.
    Jill Stein: Nuclear disarmament with Russia, not threats over Syria.
    Hillary Clinton: Iran had centrifuges whirling away until we negotiated.
    Hillary Clinton: Take out current ISIS leaders like we took out bin Laden.
    Hillary Clinton: Work with allies around the world to fight homegrown terror.


The above quotations are from First Presidential Debate at Hofstra University, Sept. 26, 2016, moderated by Lester Holt of NBC News.

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