Posts tagged with "HBO"

Kushner says he ‘cannot commit’ to holding 2020 election on November 3

May 14, 2020

Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and a senior White House adviser, refused on Tuesday, May 12, to rule out postponing the presidential election in November—a comment that fed directly into Democratic fears that Donald Trump might use the COVID-19 crisis to delay or de-legitimize the contest The New York Times reports.

“I’m not sure I can commit one way or the other, but right now that’s the plan,” Kushner told Time magazine in response to a question about whether the election could be postponed because of the pandemic.

The opinion of a White House staff member has no bearing on when the election is held. Even the president himself does not have the authority to unilaterally postpone Election Day, which by law takes place the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, the Times notes.

But Kushner’s comment raised alarms both because of the expansive power Trump has conferred on members of his family who serve in his administration and because it played into the worst anxieties of Trump’s detractors—that the president would begin to question the validity of the election if he feared he was going to lose.

It also plays into the fears of Bill Maher, the host of HBO’s popular live show, Real Time with Bill Maher, who has repeatedly suggested that Trump will not leave the White House if he loses the election.

And already, the president is suggesting that the election will be “rigged.”

The presumptive Democratic nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden gave voice to those concerns at a virtual fund-raiser last month. “Mark my words, I think he is going to try to kick back the election somehow— come up with some rationale why it can’t be held,” he said.

Doubts about a smooth voting process in November have increased as states have canceled or postponed presidential primary elections to avoid the spread of the virus.

What’s more, the news outlet pointed out, Kushner’s remarks undercut the president’s own publicly stated position on the issue.

“The general election will happen on November 3,” the president said last month at a news conference when asked about Biden’s comment. But he also appeared to raise the specter of election fraud, noting that “I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting.” He added, “It should be, you go to a booth and you proudly display yourself.”

Despite his victory in 2016, the Times reports, “Trump has consistently and without any evidence claimed that there was widespread voter fraud in the last presidential election.” He even briefly formed a commission to examine it, but the group never found evidence and disbanded.

On Tuesday night, Kushner sought to clarify his earlier interview. “I have not been involved in, nor am I aware of, any discussions about trying to change the date of the presidential election,” he said. A White House official said Kushner was fully aware that the date was set by federal law.

But his original remark on the election quickly drew fierce criticism from Trump critics. “Kushner’s statement reveals amazing ignorance of the Constitution and law,” William Kristol, a conservative columnist and prominent “Never Trump” Republican, wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. “It reveals startling arrogance in taking for granted he gets to have some say about when the election is held. It also reveals an utter lack of understanding of his very subordinate role in our democracy.”

Research contact: @nytimes

Larry David uses MAGA hat as ‘people repellent’ in Curb Your Enthusiasm season premiere

January 21, 2020

As if Larry David’s noggin weren’t famous enough already, now he has found a new and original use for it: In the season premiere of Curb Your Enthusiasm on HBO on January 19, David covered his bald pate with one of Donald Trump’s signature red “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) caps—and the move was the exact opposite of an endorsement for the president’s reelection.

Instead, David referred to the cap  as a “great people repellent”—a way to discourage unwanted encounters with friends and fans; and put a quick stop to conversations, HuffPost reports.

He was so pleased with the results, he said, “It’s really coming in handy.”

Fans loved the gambit. On Twitter, one viewer said, “This episode was a master class in political humor. Not preachy or accusatory, but hilarious fan that both sides should be able to laugh at. I know I did. #CurbYourEnthusiasm”

This episode was a master class in political humor. Not preachy or accusatory, but hilarious fun that both sides should be able to laugh at. I know I did. #CurbYourEnthusiasm

Another said, “Larry wearing a MAGA hat as a way to make someone cancel all future involvement with him has got me sucked right back into #CurbYourEnthusiasm

Research contact: @HuffPost

Stockton, California, experiments with Universal Basic Income

May 8, 2018

On May 4, Mayor Michael Tubbs (D) of Stockton, California, appeared on the HBO political talk show Real Time with Bill Maher to discuss a pilot program he is sponsoring that would give some low-income residents of the city $500 a month—no questions asked.

The program, called Universal Basic Income—which would require the participants to take courses, check in with advisors, and turn their lives around before receiving the money—is one of the first of its kind nationwide; but already has been tried in Finland, with mixed results.

According to CNBC, pilot programs also are underway in Canada and rural Kenya.

And today, fully 48% of Americans support the idea (and 52% oppose it), according to a recent Northeastern University/Gallup survey of more than 3,000 U.S. adults.

Indeed, Americans are almost equally split over a hypothetical universal basic income (UBI) program that would guarantee a minimum income for workers who lose their jobs because of advances in artificial intelligence (AI).

However, they are united in their fear of what AI will do to the U.S. job market. The report found 73% of Americans predicting that AI will lead to a loss of more jobs than it creates.

Some U.S. demographic groups are more supportive of the concept than others. More than six in 10 self-described Democrats (65%), as one example, say they would support a UBI program, compared with slightly more than one in four (28%) Republicans.

Additionally, roughly half of most U.S. adult age groups express support. However, support is substantially lower—38%—among Americans aged 66 and older.

While the exact cost of a UBI program in the U.S. depends on the specific details, it is estimated the program could run into the trillions of dollars. U.S. adults who favor a UBI program show mixed support for the idea of financing this type of program through taxes: About 46% say they would be willing to pay higher personal taxes to fund the program and 54% say they would not be.

But for now, Mayor Tubbs is “all in.”  He says, ““I feel that as mayor it’s my responsibility to do all I could to begin figuring out what’s the best way to make sure that folks in our community have a real economic floor.”

Research contact: datainquiry@gallup.com