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Mapping the Trump Hate Bubble

A few days ago the Trump camp started pushing the idea that Hillary Clinton was "America's Merkel", a reference to longserving German Chancellor Angela Merkel, by many measures one of the more successful European politicians of the post-war era. Trump even personally started pushing the Twitter hashtag "#AmericasMerkel. When I started seeing this my first thought was, "How many Americans do they think have even heard of Angela Merkel, let alone see her as some awful figure in a way that tying her to Clinton would send chills down people's spines?" For better or worse, Putin is super high profile. Netanyahu is high profile. For your average American? Merkel is not high profile.

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This Is a Treat. Don't Miss It

This morning I had a bit of time before I read the news about the latest surreal turn in the Trump campaign. And in that bit of time, I had one of those moments when I was completely wrapped and thankful for the never-ending stream of insight, humor, tips and more we all get here from TPM Readers. Particularly it was this email from TPM Reader ME, a childhood immigrant from the USSR/Russia. ME much more artfully and ably discusses something I was trying to capture in my post yesterday on Russian defense doctrine and Fox News, specifically how in trying to duplicate or capture things we don't really understand we can create caricature cartoon versions of them which bare a superficial similarity, capture the most visible elements but yet miss the real picture entirely. From ME ...

Through the years I've written numerous e-mails to this address, most of them likely less insightful than I thought at the time. However as a Russian immigrant (I'm sure one of many who has written to you) I felt inspired to throw more on the pile.

I want to draw some parallels between the modern Russian propaganda that you liken to Fox News, and the Soviet propaganda of yesteryear.

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Trump's Razor Slices World in Half

I'm flabbergasted by this Allegra Kirkland piece I'm reading bringing me up to speed on this morning's news. But I'm also flabbergasted that I'm flabbergasted. Given everything that's happened, given the cratering of support among not only all swing constituencies but even relatively reliable Republican constituencies - white married women, etc. - probably the most ridiculous thing you can imagine is going from the running the campaign with the antic mentality of Breitbart News to actually taking the head of Breitbart News and putting him in charge of the campaign.

Welp. That's where we are. Trump has hired Breitbart News chief Stephen K. Bannon to take over running his campaign. No metaphor. No hyperbole. That's straight up what's happening. Allegra's got the story here.

Our 2016 TPM Senate Scoreboard

Like the TPM Electoral Scoreboard, the 2012 TPM Senate Scoreboard was one of our most popular features during the 2012 cycle. And today's we're debuting the 2016 TPM Senate Scoreboard. It debuts with 49 seats in the Dem column, 49 in the GOP column and 2 in the toss up category. Check it out!

Into the Alt-Left, Alt-Right Russian Alt-Universe

States run news services of all sorts. There's the BBC which functions or at least did function as a national news source of record for the country itself. There's Germany's Deutsche Welle and the US Voice of America, which fill out the spectrum from the BBC to the public diplomacy model. Russia Today, known as RT, operates nominally on something like the Deutsche Welle model but has leaned in an increasingly propagandistic direction over recent years. RN popped up in the Trump/Putin story because Trump's top military advisor, retired General Mike Flynn sometimes writes for RT and was hosted last December, along Green Presidential candidate Jill Stein, at Putin's table in Moscow to celebrate RT's anniversary.

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How Russia's New Defense Doctrine Is Like Fox News

Yes, believe me, I can really vindicate that headline.

Over the last year or so I've read a few think tank papers (I think from Rand, perhaps not) on Russia's evolving defense doctrine (sometimes called Next Generation Warfare, Hybrid Warfare or the Gerasimov Doctrine, after the current chief of the Russian General Staff). The gist of it is a move away from traditional war-fighting with tanks and ICBMs and aircraft carriers to something more like the asymmetric warfare we associate with small states or non-state actors. This is not surprising. As I explained in my earlier post, Russia purports to be and in some ways remains a Great Power but must do so on the back of an economy that is at best middling in global terms. For point of comparison: Russia's GDP by their official exchange rate is $1.325 Trillion. Compare that to South Korea ($1.77 Trillion), Brazil ($1.773 Trillion), Italy ($1.816 Trillion), United States ($17.95 Trillion). To live up to Russia's Great Power or even regional power pretensions means a dramatic rethinking of the terrain of warfare and defense and a radical expansion of what is considered legitimate war-fighting and what is considered a legitimate target.

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