Wandering Eye: Trump now, Trump then, and the concentration of poverty

It's incredible that Donald Trump has made it as far as he has in the Republican primary candidate polls, but that miracle may be finally burning out. After his vile and unapologetic response to Megyn Kelly's accusations of his misogyny at the GOP debate on Thursday, he later asserted that the Fox News host had "blood coming out of her wherever." At that point, even conservative commentator Erick Erickson felt inclined to withdraw his invitation to Trump to attend a RedState Gathering in Atlanta. Following the backlash against his apparent insinuation that Kelly's questioning was informed by her menstrual cycle, Trump tweeted that by "wherever" he meant "NOSE." During a series of interviews on Sunday, Trump attempted to redirect the public's rage toward Jeb Bush, who last week questioned the need for extensive federal funding for women's health issues (Bush later clarified his objection, claiming that he was specifically referring to Planned Parenthood). Trump went on, "I will be phenomenal to the women . . . I'm very much into the whole thing of helping people and helping women; women's health issues are such a big thing to me." Right . . . (Maura Callahan)


And as every media outlet on Planet Earth breathlessly reports Donald Trump’s latest outrage, it is worth remembering that we’ve seen this show before, 28 years ago, when a brash tycoon decided to manipulate the media compulsively. Back then, the guy made off-the-wall statements about foreign policy, bragged about his immense wealth, and flirted with a run for president, kicking off with full-page ads in The Washington Post and New York Times. The unlikely candidate then? Donald Trump. "Few journalists paused to question what would happen if a rich casino owner—whose views on national issues were often glib at best—actually mounted a campaign for the White House,” then-Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz wrote in his 1992 book, “Media Circus.” “There was a collective suspension of disbelief.” Kurtz titled the first chapter of his book “Trump: The Decade.” He was speaking of the 1980s, known then as the greediest, most ridiculous era in American history. He wrote about how reporters (with a few exceptions) fawned over Trump and treated his absurd statements as though they had importance. It was part of a larger point about the media being too gullible, too thoughtless in playing into an egomaniac’s hands. Fool me once, as they say. (Edward Ericson Jr.)


As the rich get richer, the very poor find themselves more concentrated in poverty-stricken areas, The Atlantic reports. “The number of people living in high-poverty areas—defined as census tracts where 40 percent or more of families have income levels below the federal poverty threshold—nearly doubled between 2000 and 2013, to 13.8 million from 7.2 million, according to a new analysis of census data by Paul Jargowsky, a public-policy professor at Rutgers University-Camden and a fellow at The Century Foundation.” The article lists the top 10 cities for concentrations of African-American poverty. Baltimore is not on the list. “In Detroit, 58 percent of the black population lived in areas of concentrated poverty in 2013, up from 17 percent in 2000,” The Atlantic says. The kind of inequality the United States has now is nothing new in South America, where huge slums surround many major cities. In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in the early 1990s, shopkeepers paid off-duty cops to assassinate the young boys hanging outside their shops and scaring off customers. Police there still kill many times the number of people U.S. police kill, but we’re modeling our country on them. (Edward Ericson Jr.)

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