• Clinton Was Wrong: Only 42% of Trump's Supporters Are Racist
• Trump, Jr. Shares Questionable "Deplorables" Parody
• Group May Give Real-Time Reports on Election Day
• More Wikileaks Could Come This Week
• Trump Got Award, Painting for Donating Other People's Money to Charity
• Today's Presidential Polls
• Today's Senate Polls
Hillary Clinton stumbled and nearly fainted at a 9/11 memorial in lower Manhattan yesterday. She needed some assistance from her security people and went to the apartment of her daughter, Chelsea, who lives nearby. An hour and a half later, she emerged from Chelsea's apartment without any assistance, waved to the assembled reporters, hugged a child, and said: "I'm feeling great. It's a beautiful day in New York." It was 82 degrees and quite humid, though, which not everyone thinks is beautiful, and she had been standing in direct sunlight, so she got overheated. Late in the day on Sunday, it was revealed that she was diagnosed with pneumonia on Friday, and will now cancel a planned trip to California in order to have some time to recover. Needless to say, this will serve to make her health even more of a campaign issue. Rudy Giuliani said last month that Clinton seems "tired" and "sick"; he will no doubt be repeating that constantly all week. So too will Donald Trump and his other surrogates.
So, is this fair? Now that Clinton has had an actual, meaningful episode of ill health (and not just a coughing fit), are the questions about her fitness legitimate? The answer, given the evidence at hand, is: No, there is nothing to see here. As the physician Fred Vox writes for CNN, the things that have happened to Clinton—the coughing, the pneumonia, the wooziness after standing in hot, humid conditions—are not uncommon in otherwise healthy individuals (including, on two different occasions, Zenger, who is nearly 30 years younger than the Democratic nominee). Clinton has maintained a grueling campaign schedule for over a year, interacting with thousands of people, coping with different climates, and going without sleep. That's a formula for picking up the occasional illness, even the occasional serious illness. It happened, for example, to Richard Nixon, who was so worn down by constant travel while running for president in 1960 that he developed an infection and ended up in the hospital for two weeks. Interestingly, the anniversary of his discharge is...today, September 12. So, it happened to him at nearly the same point in the process.
The only surprising thing here is that this doesn't happen more often. Actually, it does happen more often, but—knowing how health can become a political football—candidates are generally very good at hiding problems, absent a very public stumble (like Clinton yesterday) or a weeks-long hospitalization (like Nixon). Nixon's 1960 opponent JFK was hospitalized 36 times in his life (including a couple of times during the 1960 campaign), and received last rites on three occasions before becoming president, but he largely managed to keep it on the down-low. Turning back to Clinton, the medical records she has released show that she is fairly healthy. She has hypothyroidism, seasonal pollen allergies, and takes Coumadin (warfarin) to prevent blood clots. In Dec. 2012, she fainted and suffered a concussion due to dehydration caused by a stomach virus. She eats a diet rich in lean protein, vegetables, and fruits. She is up to date on colonoscopies, gynecologic exams, mammograms, and breast ultrasounds. She doesn't smoke, but drinks occasionally. Her physician said she is in excellent physical condition and fit to serve as president. By all evidences, she is being frank about her health (like Nixon) and isn't hiding things from public view (like JFK).
To the extent that the health of 68-year-old Clinton and 70-year-old Trump become campaign issues, Trump's medical statement is also going to become an issue. His doctor admitted writing it in 5 minutes and it says he would be the healthiest president ever, meaning he was healthier than John Quincy Adams, who went swimming naked in the Potomac every morning, Teddy Roosevelt, who went big game hunting in Africa, and George W. Bush, who was a fitness fanatic. So expect Republicans to say that Clinton is on death's door and Democrats to demand that Trump release his entire medical history. (V & Z)
On Friday, Hillary Clinton said that half of Donald Trump's supporters belong to a "basket of deplorables," by which she meant "racist," "sexist," "homophobic," "xenophobic," and "Islamophobic," among other categories. Trump strongly objected, and she apologized for saying it was half. Now, the question arises: "How many of Trump's supporters belong in this "basket?" Fortunately, we have actual data on this. Ipsos conducted a poll in the spring that touched closely on the subject of racism. Ipsos didn't ask: "Are you a racist?" since few would answer "yes" to the question. Instead, the questions were slightly more subtle. The first column in the table below gives the question. The second column gives the percentage of Trump supporters who answered the question with "yes." The third column gives the average "yes" score of everyone interviewed (including Trump supporters).
|Question||Trump "yes"||All "yes"|
|Are blacks less intelligent than whites?||32%||23%|
|Are blacks lazier than whites?||40%||27%|
|Are blacks more rude than whites?||44%||31%|
|Are blacks more violent than whites?||49%||33%|
|Are blacks more criminal than whites?||47%||33%|
If we average these five questions, we get a score indicating that 42%, not 50%, of Trump's supporters are racist. Of the entire sample polled, 29% are racist, but that includes Trump supporters. Since 28% of the respondents were Trump supporters, we can calculate that 24% of the non-Trump supporters are racist, vs. 42% of the Trump supporters.
However, the poll asked only about black vs. white, whereas Clinton's comment covered other categories, as well. There may well be Trump supporters who are sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, or Islamophobic, but not anti-black. If Clinton meant that someone had to meet all five categories, then the percentage of Trump's supporters who meet the criterion is surely way less than 42%. But if merely being sexist or homophobic, etc. but not racist, also lands you in the basket, then probably enough additional supporters qualify to make her original statement correct. It will be interesting to see if any pollster follows up this controversy by polling on all the viewpoints Clinton mentioned. (V)
The Trump family loves their social media, posting to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. on a regular basis. At the same time, they are trying to squeeze as much mileage as possible out of Hillary Clinton's "deplorables" comment. So, it is no surprise that when Donald Trump, Jr. saw a deplorables-themed parody (based on the movie poster for The Expendables), he simply had to repost it. Maybe he should have thought twice.
In the original image, various aging A-list stars who appear in the movie are shown, with Sylvester Stallone at the center, flanked by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, and several others. In the parody, Stallone's head has been replaced by that of Donald Trump, Sr., who is then flanked by Trump, Jr., Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN), Rudy Giuliani, Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ), and several others. The others are where the problem lies. One of them is Alex Jones, a noted conspiracy theorist who believes that the moon landings were faked, that 9/11 was an inside job, and that the world is secretly run by Jewish puppetmasters. Another is Milo Yiannopoulos, darling of the alt-right, who funds scholarships open only to white students, and who was recently banned from Twitter for encouraging racist attacks upon Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones. Still another is Pepe the Frog, a onetime harmless cartoon character who has been adopted as a mascot by white supremacists who support Trump.
If Trump wanted to challenge Clinton, the correct way to do so would have been to insert normal, hardworking Americans into the poster—a plumber, a farmer, a factory worker—with Trump at the center. This image, by contrast, just affirms exactly what Clinton was trying to communicate: The Trump coalition includes a fair number of loons, fringe-types, and bigots. It does not help that, in addition to incorporating a white supremacist reference (Pepe), the image also likely came from a white supremacist Instagram account. And in case there were doubts, former Klansman David Duke posted his own version of the image, accompanied by the tagline, "Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white." So, it's another unforced error for the Trump campaign, albeit one that will probably get lost among stories about Hillary Clinton's health. (Z)
For decades, the news media have voluntarily refrained from calling the presidential election before polls close in the West, for fear of discouraging people there from voting. This year, for example, even if everyone knows who will be president by mid-afternoon, there is still a close Senate race in Nevada and people who know the outcome of the presidential race might not vote, which could affect it. There are also myriad down-ballot races for state legislatures and other offices.
Now a group of data scientists, journalists, and entrepreneurs are planning to upend that tradition and issue real-time reports on the election throughout the day. They may report on who won Colorado, based on early mail-in voting, even before polls open in the East. If, for example, Clinton is running ahead of Obama in 2012 in the early Colorado voting, the results of which will be posted in the morning, the group, called Votecastr, might call Colorado for Clinton early in the morning. This might discourage people in Colorado from voting, which could affect the Senate race there.
The core methodology the group will use is to monitor turnout in key cities and counties. For example, if turnout in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh is high, Clinton will win Pennsylvania. If it is low, Trump will. So by just monitoring how many people have voted in certain key cities and counties, it could be possible to make predictions long before any of the votes are counted.
In 1980, there were reports of voters leaving voting lines in California after the media had called the race for Ronald Reagan. The presidents of the networks were hauled before Congress to explain their behavior. Legally, there is nothing to prevent outside groups from reporting in real time, but if any do that, it will further inflame the electorate and give the losers yet another excuse why they lost. (V)
Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, said that another batch of documents related to Hillary Clinton could come as early as this week. He claims to have thousands of pages of documents of various kinds from a variety of sources. He has never revealed where his information comes from, but the FBI believes that Russian hackers are the source of at least some of it. If the leaks prove damaging, it could affect the course of the election, which is Assange's goal. He is currently living in the Embassy of Ecuador in London because he is wanted on charges of rape in Sweden, and were he to emerge from the embassy, he would be arrested and extradited to Sweden to stand trial. (V)
In 2010, Donald Trump received an award for his donation of $150,000 to the Palm Beach Police Foundation. The only problem was that it wasn't his money. Earlier, he had gone to the Charles Evans Foundation in New Jersey and asked for a donation for his charity. He got $150,000 and gave this to the Police Foundation, without adding any of his own money. In fact, he made a profit on it, since the police foundation had to pay for the room at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach. A subsequent rental by the police foundation cost it $276,463.
Sometimes, the benefits to Trump are even more direct than that. In 2007, Trump and his wife were attending a benefit for a children's charity. The benefit was, of course, being held at the Mar-A-Lago. During the evening speed painter Michael Israel created a 6-foot-tall portrait of The Donald, which was then auctioned off to raise money for the charity. The winning bid? $20,000, from Melania Trump, with the actual bill paid by the Trump Foundation. This, of course, is illegal—one cannot use money belonging to one's charity to buy things for oneself.
In general, almost none of the money in the Trump foundation comes from Trump. He gets others to donate to it, something unheard of among other family foundations. His foundation then donates it to other charities and he gets the credit, since the beneficiaries think it is his money, when actually it is not. This is the same foundation that got into trouble for making a donation to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, something foundations are forbidden from doing. (V)
Mostly bad news for Donald Trump today. He's trailing in the most important swing states, and he's got a meager lead in states that should be safe. If that Ohio number is correct, it's a real killer, because it won't be easy to make up that much ground without any ground game. And as we all know, you don't win the presidency as a Republican if you don't win Ohio. (Z)
|Arizona||38%||40%||12%||Sep 06||Sep 08||Marist Coll.|
|Florida||44%||42%||5%||Sep 07||Sep 09||YouGov|
|Georgia||42%||44%||10%||Sep 06||Sep 08||Marist Coll.|
|New Hampshire||39%||37%||15%||Sep 06||Sep 08||Marist Coll.|
|Nevada||41%||42%||8%||Sep 06||Sep 08||Marist Coll.|
|Ohio||46%||39%||7%||Sep 07||Sep 09||YouGov|
Better news for the GOP here, though these results are not in line with other recent polling. In particular, nothing has happened in Arizona that would explain Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) opening such a large lead in what had been a nail-biter. Treat that result with great skepticism until we have more substantive confirmation. (Z)
|State||Democrat||D %||Republican||R %||Start||End||Pollster|
|Arizona||Ann Kirkpatrick||38%||John McCain*||57%||Sep 06||Sep 08||Marist Coll.|
|Georgia||Jim Barksdale||38%||Johnny Isakson*||53%||Sep 06||Sep 08||Marist Coll.|
|New Hampshire||Maggie Hassan||44%||Kelly Ayotte*||52%||Sep 06||Sep 08||Marist Coll.|
|Nevada||Catherine Cortez-Masto||45%||Joe Heck||47%||Sep 06||Sep 08||Marist Coll.|
* Denotes incumbent
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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Sep11 Obama Will Not Hit the Campaign Trail until October
Sep11 Trump Speaks at the Values Voters Summit
Sep11 Pence Visits 9/11 Memorial
Sep11 Pence: About that Putin/Obama Comparison...
Sep11 Kaine Believes Catholic Church Will Change Position on Gay Marriage
Sep11 Weekly Standard Attacks Washington Post's Deplorable Behavior
Sep11 The White House Phone Rarely Rings at 3 a.m.
Sep10 Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Straight-Ticket Voting in Michigan
Sep10 Trump Also Donated to Try to Stop New York's Investigation of Trump University
Sep10 Election Could Get Even More Unpredictable
Sep10 Trump Calls CNN an Arm of the Clinton Campaign
Sep10 Will Trump Be on the Ballot in Minnesota?
Sep10 Trump to Reveal Personal Health Regimen to Dr. Oz
Sep10 Pence Releases His Tax Returns
Sep10 Clinton Says Half of Trump's Supporters Are in the Basket of Deplorables
Sep10 Putin Closes Down Russia's Only Independent Pollster
Sep10 Michele Bachmann Says that Clinton Will Jail Christians If She Wins
Sep09 Colin Powell Advised Clinton to Use a Private Email Server
Sep09 Gary Johnson Has a Rick Perry Moment
Sep09 Trump Makes a Proposal on Education
Sep09 Clinton Holds a Formal Press Conference
Sep09 Twelve Governors Will Be Chosen in November
Sep09 Trump Made Nine Controversial Statements in 24 Minutes
Sep09 Trump's Teleprompter Gap
Sep09 Intelligence Official Challenges Trump
Sep09 Pence Agrees with Trump on Putin/Obama
Sep09 Anti-Trump Super PAC files DOJ Bribery Complaint
Sep09 Divorce Rate May Spike after the Election
Sep08 Clinton's Campaign Is Entirely Data Driven
Sep08 Trump's Spending Reveals His Priorities
Sep08 Trump Raised $90 Million in August
Sep08 North Carolina Reduces Early Voting
Sep08 Trump Speech on Military Readiness Fails to Impress
Sep08 Everyone Loses at Commander-in-Chief Forum
Sep08 Bad News for E-mail Scandalmongerers
Sep08 Be Careful about Trusting the August Polls
Sep08 Trump Held Fundraiser for Bondi after She Dropped Trump University Case
Sep08 Cornyn Refuses to Endorse Cruz in Senate Primary
Sep08 Evan McMullin Picks a Running Mate--by Accident
Sep07 Kasich Refuses to Help Trump in Ohio
Sep07 Has Trump Hit His Ceiling?
Sep07 Clinton Is Now Holding Press Conferences
Sep07 The Trump Campaign Is a Black Box
Sep07 The Road to the White House Runs Past Disney World
Sep07 Dallas Morning News Rejects Trump
Sep07 Koch Brothers Are Preparing for the Long Haul
Sep07 McCarthy Wants to Impeach Clinton
Sep07 Chaffetz To Hold More E-mail Hearings
Sep07 Today in Irony: Gingrich Has Coughing Spell While Blasting Clinton's Coughing Spell