Home / Politics / Essential Politics: The 2nd Amendment and self-inflicted wounds – Los Angeles Times

Essential Politics: The 2nd Amendment and self-inflicted wounds – Los Angeles Times

I’m Christina Bellantoni, and today’s Essential Politics begins with a question: But what did he mean?

This has arisen countless times in our newsroom over the course of Donald Trump’s candidacy.

What Trump actually said — and the context before and after — is important. We detailed that here, along with the full video.

Like a lot of things Trump has said or done over the course of the campaign, there is a benign interpretation and a malignant one.

Still, in some ways context didn’t even matter, because the comments took on a life of their own before Trump even left the stage. Within minutes, the 63 words he said in Wilmington, N.C., provided new fuel for Trump critics, and a gallon of lighter fluid for a case that the media is trying to drum up controversy where none exists.

As Cathleen Decker writes in a front-page analysis, Trump is stuck in a destructive loop of his own making, his words increasingly at odds with his needs as the presidential campaign moves into its final phase.

“His remarks were vintage Trump. They could be interpreted various ways, but even the most benign gloss did nothing to expand his electoral reach or give uncertain voters a reason to cast a ballot for him.

Instead, his latest self-generated controversy represented, at best, another day on defense, another day explaining what he meant, another day in which Trump, himself, overrode whatever message might have cut into the advantages held by Hillary Clinton, the unpopular Democrat who has the great good luck to have him as an opponent.”

Get the latest from the campaign trail on Trail Guide and follow @latimespolitics. Check our daily USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times tracking poll at the top of the politics page and David Lauter’s handy explainer for how this poll differs from others.


In their quest to bring the Summer Games back to Southern California, LA 2024 leaders have spent the last two weeks in Rio de Janeiro forging relationships with Olympic officials and gathering information for their impending bid. They have also spent a fair amount of time answering questions about Trump.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who is leading the city’s 25-person contingent in Rio, acknowledged Tuesday that he has heard complaints about Trump from IOC members. “This does not depend on any election, no matter what the outcome,” the mayor said of L.A.’s bid at a press conference in Rio.


Vice presidential nominee Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine is headed to Southern California later this month to raise money for the Democratic ticket, according to invitations obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

Kaine will join donors the afternoon of Aug. 20 at the home of Marcy and Jeffrey Krinsk in San Diego. The event also is hosted by former U.S. Rep. Lynn Schenk, who represented San Diego in the mid-1990s. Contribution levels are $ 1,000 to be a “fighter” and $ 10,000 to be a co-host and take a photo with Kaine.

He also will attend what the campaign has billed as an evening “conversation” on Aug. 20 at the SLS Hotel in Los Angeles. The minimum contribution is $ 1,000. Donors who contribute or raise $ 10,000 get a photo with Kaine, and co-chairs with $ 33,400 worth of donations get a private reception with the senator.


House Speaker Paul D. Ryan crushed an insurgent challenger in his primary Tuesday because of his deep ties to his district. But as Seema Mehta reports from Wisconsin, even as he celebrated his victory, the speaker got drawn into the controversy over Trump’s 2nd Amendment remark. Ryan’s take? It sounds like a “joke gone bad.”

But Ryan didn’t budge from his support for Trump. Don’t miss our interactive GOP endorsement spectrum.


The clipboard-toting signature gatherers who helped qualify 15 of California’s 17 ballot initiatives this fall made a handsome sum out of the effort. Ballot measure campaigns spent nearly $ 46 million on signature gathering services to earn a spot on the ballot, an average of almost $ 4 a signature.

Christine Mai-Duc reports it’s a stunning increase compared to 2012, when the average cost per signature was about $ 2.50. The highest premium paid, $ 6.61 a signature, was by the proponents of Prop. 54, a transparency measure.

This year saw a political bidding war as prices were driven even higher while campaigns struggled to get the limited supply of signature gatherers to prioritize their measures.

Track what’s happening in California politics and in the final weeks of Sacramento’s legislative session on our Essential Politics news feed.


How is Clinton affecting American culture right now? Whether you do or don’t support the Democratic nominee, we want to hear from you.

Your response may be used in our upcoming reports.


— A Philippine lawmaker is calling for Trump to be banned from the country, after he implied that Filipino immigrants pose a terrorist threat to the U.S., Alexia Fernandez reports.

— Evan Halper explains how Zika is popping up on the campaign trail.

— After saying he planned to vote for Trump, Sacramento County Sheriff and 7th Congressional District candidate Scott Jones now says, “I don’t know what I am going to do, to be honest with you.”

— Some top law enforcement officials are getting involved in the debate over the death penalty on the November ballot.

— Faced with strong opposition from a member of the Board of Equalization, state Sen. Jerry Hill has watered down a bill that would have imposed tough new campaign contribution limits on board members to avoid conflicts of interest. The new bill simply calls for a study of possible new limits.

— There was something for everyone at lunchtime on Tuesday at the state Capitol. That is, if you’re a legislator or a staffer. A number of politician’s offices were stocked with great food for the statehouse’s annual potluck lunch.

— Who will win the November election? Give our Electoral College map a spin.


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Please send thoughts, concerns and news tips to politics@latimes.com.

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