Donald Trump is right: American elites really do have it in for him. With 25 days to go until an epic bloodbath, rich Republican donors are demanding that the RNC disavow him:

To an elite group of Republican contributors who have donated millions of dollars to the party’s candidates and committees in recent years, the cascade of revelations related to Mr. Trump’s sexual conduct is grounds for the committee to cut ties with the party’s beleaguered standard-bearer, finally and fully.

“At some point, you have to look in the mirror and recognize that you cannot possibly justify support for Trump to your children — especially your daughters,” said David Humphreys, a Missouri business executive who contributed more than $2.5 million to Republicans from the 2012 campaign cycle through this spring and opposed Mr. Trump’s bid from the outset.

Bruce Kovner, a New York investor and philanthropist who with his wife has given $2.7 million to Republicans over the same period, was just as blunt. “He is a dangerous demagogue completely unsuited to the responsibilities of a United States president,” Mr. Kovner wrote in an email, referring to Mr. Trump.

Aside from outright repudiation, these guys are already getting most of what they want. The RNC isn't providing any money to the Trump campaign, and from what I can tell it's not providing much of anything else, either. When Election Day finally arrives, it's likely that Hillary Clinton's ground game will give her an extra point or two on top of an already lopsided victory.

And then it will be time for yet another Republican "autopsy" about what went wrong. The answer, of course, will be both familiar and obvious: as Sen. Lindsey Graham put it four years ago, "We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term." Donald Trump put Graham's theory to a destruction test this year, and it turned out to be absolutely right. The hard part is figuring out what to do about it. How do you attract more non-white votes without actually embracing any of the usual policy positions that would attract them?

It's a really hard question. In the meantime, there's one thing that Republicans still agree on: they hate Hillary Clinton, and from Day 1 they will be united in an effort to oppose everything she does. There will be no Obamacare fixes, no infrastructure bank, no debt ceiling hikes, and no maternity leave plans. They might be having second thoughts about their angry-white-guy strategy, but they still haven't figured out that pure obstruction isn't much of a winner either. If they were smart, they'd do a bit of logrolling in the upcoming Congress and rack up a few actual accomplishments they could take home to their supporters. But even after this year's dumpster fire of an election, I don't think they're quite there yet.

My attempts to avoid writing about Donald Trump are getting more and more desperate. Here's today's chart of the day:

In other words, we all love to watch those cooking shows on TV, but when we're done we just run down to the local pizza place to get dinner. I'm too lazy to do this at the moment, but I'll bet if you adjust that grocery store line for inflation and population growth, it's pretty close to flat.

Dodgers Win!

Hey! The Dodgers are playing for the NL pennant and the Giants aren't. Forget about Donald Trump. For a few moments, at least, life is good.

It's a little hard to pick out excerpts that give you a flavor of Donald Trump's latest speech. It's an absolutely spectacular—and chilling—rant that paints a paranoid picture of the world hardly seen since The Protocols of the Elders of Zion was published. Everyone is out to get him. The Clintons, the press, conniving women, Wall Street, Washington DC, global special interests, corporations, Barack Obama, illegal immigrants—you name it, they're out to destroy our great nation. Here's a taste:

In 26 days, we are going to win this great, great state and we are going to win the White House.

....For those who control the levers of power in Washington...our campaign represents a true existential threat like they haven't seen before. This is not simply another four-year election. This is a crossroads in the history of our civilization that will determine whether or not we the people reclaim control over our government.

....The Clinton machine is at the center of this power structure. We've seen this first hand in the WikiLeaks documents, in which Hillary Clinton meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty in order to enrich these global financial powers, her special interest friends and her donors....Honestly, she should be locked up. Should be locked up.

....This election will determine whether we are a free nation or whether we have only the illusion of democracy, but are in fact controlled by a small handful of global special interests rigging the system....Anyone who challenges their control is deemed a sexist, a racist, a xenophobe, and morally deformed. They will attack you, they will slander you, they will seek to destroy your career and your family, they will seek to destroy everything about you, including your reputation. They will lie, lie, lie, and then again they will do worse than that, they will do whatever is necessary. The Clintons are criminals, remember that. They're criminals.

....These people are horrible people. They're horrible, horrible liars. And interestingly, it happens to appear 26 days before our very important election, isn't that amazing?

....I've seen firsthand the corruption and the sickness that has taken over our politics. You've seen it and I've seen it and we're all watching together....I never knew it would be this vile, that it would be this bad, that it would be this vicious. Nevertheless, I take all of these slings and arrows gladly for you.

Does Trump think he's Alfred Dreyfus? Or Jesus Christ? It's hard to tell. But one thing is certain: He's planning a scorched earth campaign for the next 26 days. If he's going down with the ship, he's going to take as many people down with him as he can.

Mike Males tells us today in the LA Times that Donald Trump is right: violent crime went up in 2015. However, you might be surprised at which demographic groups are responsible for this rise. Federal crime statistics don't provide age/race breakdowns, but California does (2014 here, 2015 here), and it's probably a pretty good proxy for what's happening elsewhere:

Donald Trump is not right, as he has suggested on the campaign trail and repeated in Sunday’s debate, that the chief culprits are Muslim terrorists, inner-city gangs and Latino “criminal illegal aliens” who comprise the “murderers” causing “drug problems” and “crime like you’ve never seen.” If he needs someone to blame, he should look instead to the demographic group most likely to support him: older whites.

....Violent crime, which includes murder, rape, robbery and assault, rose 4% among older whites but decreased by 2% among those under age 30....Over the last 25 years — even with falling crime and recent reforms that reduced California’s prison population — older whites are the only group that has shown increased levels of imprisonment, while rates for young people of color have plummeted.

Obviously this might be different in specific areas. Chicago is Trump's go-to horror story for crime, and I don't know what the numbers there show. But the US as a whole is far more likely to be similar to California (population 39 million, mixed rural/urban) than to Chicago (population 3 million, 100% urban). And in California, violent crime is down among young people of color. Only among older groups, including whites, is the violent crime rate up.

POSTSCRIPT: I've written about this before, and the key metric here is that violent crime in California is down among all young people and up among all older people. Why? Because older people are part of Generation Lead. Younger people aren't. You see? Millennials don't have it all bad.

Here is Michelle Obama speaking in New Hampshire earlier today. I've started it in the middle, after all the intros and throat-clearing are done. Listen to the whole thing. Just do it. That is all.

At the New Republic yesterday, Alex Shepard suggested that this might be the year for Don DeLillo to win the Nobel Prize in Literature:

No American has won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 23 years, not since Toni Morrison. And it’s easy to presume that the game is rigged against the United States: In 2008, Horace Engdahl, then the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, went out of his way to dis American literature as a whole....The backlash to Engdahl’s comments was severe....But the criticism changed nothing: Seven Nobel Prizes in Literature have been awarded since then, and none of them went to Americans. Many in the U.S...think that the Swedish Academy has blackballed American writers.

....Of all the leading American Nobel candidates, DeLillo is a writer of the moment.... Swedish journalist Jens Liljestrand of the newspaper Expressen also thinks that this might be DeLillo’s year. “The Academy is very much aware of the fact that their disregard for American literature is starting to look silly, and might even make the ‘brand’ of the Nobel Prize suffer internationally,” he wrote in an email.

Call me cynical, but this is the lens through which I judge Bob Dylan's Nobel win. The Academy did indeed feel like their boycott of American literature was starting to look silly, but they still didn't want to award a prize to an actual American writer. So they chose Dylan. No matter what you think of his work, I view this as practically the ultimate snub of American novelists. You think Pynchon and DeLillo and Roth and Oates are great writers? Hah! They're not even up to the standards of a good pop singer.

And now they can spend another two decades ignoring American writers.

 Why are fewer prime-age men working these days? Is it because video games are more attractive than low-paid work? Because they can increasingly rely on women making good incomes? Because society is breaking down? Princeton professor Alan Krueger suggests a large part of it is due to pain and depression:

In a recently released draft of his paper, which he will present at a Federal Reserve conference in Boston on Friday, Krueger finds that 44 percent of male, prime-age labor force dropouts say they took pain medication the day prior — which is more than twice the rate reported by employed men....About two-thirds of the people taking pain medication were using prescription drugs, not over-the-counter remedies like Tylenol or aspirin.

Compared to their employed counterparts, these men also reported more emotional pain — more feelings of sadness, tiredness, and stress....“This is a group is that particularly unhappy and distressed, that often faces significant health conditions which are a barrier to employment,” Krueger said in an interview.

Of course, it could be due to more than one factor. It's also worth noting that this is a worldwide phenomenon across developed countries:

In most countries, male participation in the labor force has been dropping for decades. The US has been near the bottom of the pack for a long time, but saw a much sharper downward spike during the Great Recession than other countries. Does pain account for that?

And what is Sweden's secret? They fell to the bottom of the pack in the late-90s, but starting in the mid-aughts they beat the trend and have increased the participation rate of men by nearly four percentage points since then. How did they do it?

Donald Trump has lost the support of women, blacks, Latinos, Asians, Native Americans, the disabled, Muslims, and pretty much every other demographic group other than angry white men. So who's left that might vote for him? How about Serbians?

"The bombing of Serbs, who were our allies in both world wars, was a big mistake,” Trump told the Serbian weekly magazine Nedeljnik for an article published on its website Thursday. “Serbians are very good people. Unfortunately, the Clinton administration caused them a lot of harm, but also throughout the Balkans, which they made a mess out of."

....Eric Gordy, professor in Southeast European Politics at University College London, told Newsweek Trump’s words echo the tactic used by the Russian government to cultivate support among Serbs. “The most obvious interpretation of his statement is that it is another sign of alignment with Russia,” he says. “To be honest, this kind of statement is usually more a symbolic attempt for Russian politicians to drum up resentment towards the U.S.,” Gordy explains.

Regardless of your opinion of Slobodan Milošević and the NATO bombing of Serbia, I find it extremely unlikely that Trump has ever actually had an opinion about this. So why did he suddenly decide to talk about it? I figure Trump has three good reasons: (a) it takes attention away from Gropegate, (b) it aligns his views with Vladimir Putin's, and (c) anything Bill Clinton did is bad.

I doubt any of this will work. Gropegate is a firestorm. Putin probably doesn't care about Trump anymore now that it's clear he's a loser. And Milošević escaped being an official war criminal only by dying before his trial could finish. I think that even most Republicans are OK with the bombing war against Serbia these days.1

1I'm just guessing about this. They were pretty critical at the time, but it never seemed to turn into much of a hot button issue.

UPDATE: This interview may be a hoax. More here.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, on Monday:

Speaker Paul Ryan told House Republicans on a conference call Monday morning that he’s done defending Donald Trump and will focus on maintaining his party’s increasingly imperiled House majority, according to sources on the call....Ryan told his members that “you all need to do what’s best for you in your district," said a source on the call, giving rank-and-file lawmakers political cover to disavow Trump.

National Review editor Rich Lowry, today:

I’ve come to believe [Ryan's call] was a mistake. As Tim Alberta pointed out, he didn’t really say anything new....All the call did was create more headlines about Republican dissension, make Ryan a hate figure for the Trump right, set Ryan up for the blame if Trump loses, and provoke Trump into pointlessly spending days attacking the speaker. None of this is helpful to anyone, especially to Ryan.

I've spent countless hours writing posts about Ryan's fundamental dishonesty on policy. He plays the part of deficit scold, compassionate conservative, and policy intellectual, but every year he releases a budget roadmap that would cut taxes on the rich, slash services to the poor, and blow up the deficit. Then, despite having the policy chops to know perfectly well what his roadmap would do, he blandly pretends it doesn't. I have very little patience for this.

That said, I confess to sympathizing with him over Donald Trump. He's taken a lot of crap from liberals over his hypocrisy in refusing to defend Trump but continuing to endorse him. But what can he realistically do? As he made clear months ago, he's a leader of the Republican Party. He really has no choice but to endorse the party's presidential candidate.

So why did he make such a point of abandoning Trump on Monday even though—as Lowry points out—he didn't really say anything new? I think the reason Ryan spoke up is simple: He may not feel that his position allows him to officially unendorse Trump, but he wanted to make it clear that, in practice, he doesn't endorse Trump. Lowry believes this was not helpful to Ryan, and I think he's right about that. What's more, I'm quite sure Ryan is keenly aware of it. Martin Longman thinks it might cost Ryan the speakership.

In other words, at considerable risk to his own career, Ryan felt like he had to make it clear how disgusted he was by Trump. I have nothing but respect for that. He didn't have to do it. No one would ever have noticed if he hadn't. But Ryan has enough of a conscience that he couldn't stay silent. Kudos to him for that.