Clinton 284
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Ties 47
Trump 207
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Click for Senate
Dem 48
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GOP 52
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  • Strongly Dem (190)
  • Likely Dem (65)
  • Barely Dem (29)
  • Exactly tied (47)
  • Barely GOP (23)
  • Likely GOP (91)
  • Strongly GOP (93)
270 Electoral votes needed to win Map algorithm explained
New polls: MO
Dem pickups vs. 2012: NC
GOP pickups vs. 2012: IA NV NH

General Election Expected To Be the Ugliest in Memory

The 100-day general election campaign starts today and is expected to be uglier and more divisive than any other in decades, maybe since the Civil War. Donald Trump's vision of the country is of a dark and dangerous place with threats all around that only he can fix. Clinton's view of the country is of a great and wonderful land that needs more equality and justice but whose people are fundamentally good and not fearful of the future. There are going to be nasty fights about who is right. In addition, the candidates really despise each other in a way we haven't had recently. Barack Obama and Mitt Romney had different policy proposals but neither one thought the other was a disgusting excuse for a human being. This year, much less so.

In electoral terms, Democrats know that there are 18 states plus D.C. that have voted for the Democrat in the past six presidential elections and together they have 242 electoral votes. They will start out by trying to hold these states. If they can do that, they need only 28 more. Florida has 29. Virginia plus North Carolina have exactly 28. Ohio plus Colorado plus any of the small swing states is more than 28. To break through, Trump is going to have to peel off a number of the Rust Belt states that always vote Democratic, specifically Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, and then win a good chunk of the swing states. His strategy is to appeal to disaffected blue-collar workers. And the way he will do it is go extremely negative and tear Clinton to shreds. Clinton will fight back a litle bit, but that is not her nature. On the other hand, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) regards Trump as a piece of primordial slime that somehow managed to learn to type on a smartphone and she is not the slightest bit shy about telling the world about it. How vicious can you get in 140 characters? We will soon learn. The TV ads will also be nasty, with Clinton calling Trump a con man and Trump calling Clinton crooked.

All this aside, elections aren't won by the side that is nastier. The mechanics matter a lot. Clinton has a larger electoral base and far more money. She also has a bigger ground operation, and probably most important, a massive database of voters that Trump lacks. The database allows the campaign to target individual voters with messages tailored to their concerns. This technique was one of the key factors in Obama's victories. Trump doesn't have any database and thinks such a thing is unimportant. (V)

Trump Attacks the Democrats in a Massive Tweet Storm

Yesterday Donald Trump issued a sequence of blistering tweets mocking Hillary Clinton's speech and attacking everything the Democrats talked about this week. This is not entirely surprising, given the virtually constant attacks on Trump from all the Democratic speakers. One speaker who especially got under Trump's skin was former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. At the convention, Bloomberg said: "Trump says he wants to run the nation like he's run his business. God help us. I'm a New Yorker, and I know a con when I see one." He also called Trump a dangerous demagogue. Trump tweeted: "Little Michael Bloomberg, who never had the guts to run for president, knows nothing about me. His last term as Mayor was a disaster." It is not clear what "little" refers to here. It is certainly not Bloomberg's net worth, which, at $40 billion, is four times what Trump claims and is more likely 10 times what Trump is really worth. Trump also attacked Gen. John Allen and others in his tweets. The billionaire also announced that, "I'm not gonna be nice any more," because apparently his problem so far is that he's been too nice. (V)

Will Trump Show Up For Debates?

The first presidential debate is scheduled for September 26, still almost two months away. Nonetheless, Donald Trump is already complaining about the schedule, taking to Twitter to declare:

As usual, Hillary & the Dems are trying to rig the debates so 2 are up against major NFL games. Same as last time w/ Bernie. Unacceptable!

It's true that two of the three debates will be on, for at least part of the time, against an NFL game. Whether Falcons-Saints and Giants-Packers both count as "major" games is more debatable (the latter is likely much more worthy of that label than the former). In any case, Trump either doesn't know or doesn't care that the presidential debates are handled very differently than the candidates' debates. Candidates' debates are managed by the respective parties, and the schedule could be changed easily, so Hillary Clinton could, and likely did, have an influence there. Presidential debates, by contrast, are overseen by a non-partisan commission, and the schedule was set nearly a year ago, before any candidates were known. There is no practicable way Hillary Clinton could have influenced the process.

So why, exactly, is The Donald complaining? Well, one very good possibility that has been whispered about for the last week, and is now being spoken aloud by former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell (and others), is that Trump does not want to debate, and he's trying to give himself cover for not showing up. He may not want to put in the hours upon hours that it takes to prepare. Or, he may be worried about putting his foot in his mouth again, nuclear triad-style. Or, he may recognize that his aggressive approach worked well against Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), but it may not play so well when turned on a woman. If Trump were to decline to debate, it's hard to say what the impact would be. Presidential debates are a fairly new part of American politics (dating back to the 1960s), and there's just no precedent for a candidate opting out. It is also not clear how the commission would respond. To put pressure on Trump, the commission could say that if he doesn't show up, the moderator will simply question Clinton for 2 hours, giving her an opportunity to show off her policy chops. (Z)

Federal Court Strikes Down North Carolina Voter ID Law

After the Supreme Court struck down key sections of the Voting Rights Act, numerous Republican-controlled state legislatures responded by passing laws that made voting harder, by requiring photo IDs, reducing hours and days of early voting, making registration more difficult, and so on, all in the name of preventing voting fraud, which is virtually nonexistent. The legislatures tried to hide the real purpose of the laws, namely making it harder for minorities and young people to vote, since they skew Democratic. Unfortunately for the state legislators in North Carolina, they didn't hide their intent well enough. Yesterday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit struck down the North Carolina voter ID law in a split decision, saying that its provisions "target African-Americans with almost surgical precision." In other words, the court said that the intent of the law was to disenfranchise black voters in this key swing state and the court was having none of it.

All the expected parties said the expected things. Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, president of the North Carolina branch of the NAACP, praised the court, as did the ACLU. A spokesman for the state legislature issued a blistering attack.

What happens next? The state could accept the decision and just leave it there, but then blacks wouldn't be disenfranchised, something many of the state legislators see as the goal of the legislation. They could also ask for an en banc hearing, meaning all the judges on the 4th Circuit would make a new ruling. Or they could appeal to a divided Supreme Court, which would likely split 4-4, which means the 4th Circuit ruling would be binding, but only on the states in the 4th Circuit (Virginia, North and South Carolina, Maryland, and West Virginia). For the moment, the decision is a huge victory for voting-rights advocates, but an en banc ruling could reverse the decision. (V)

Manafort Explains Why Women Will Vote for Trump

Donald Trump has a woman problem. Well, several woman problems, probably, but this one's political. In the Rust Belt states that he badly needs, he's doing great with men. However, many of the women—especially suburban women—are on the fence. Without a sizable female vote, he's got no shot at taking Michigan, Wisconsin, or—especially—Pennsylvania. MSNBC's Chris Matthews knows this, and he also likes to hit guests with tough questions (hence the name of the show, "Hardball"). He had high-ranking Trump adviser Paul Manafort on the show recently, and asked if the campaign was nervous about attracting female votes. Manafort said they were not, explaining that women will vote Trump because, "their husbands can't afford to be paying for the family bills."

The usually unflappable Matthews was quite taken aback by this response, which he perceived to be a tad bit sexist, since it seems to be rooted in a pre-World War II understanding of gender roles. The host offered Manafort a chance to clarify his remarks, but he stood by his assertion. More material for the Clinton oppo research file, then. (Z)

Do Republican and Democratic States Brag About Different Things?

As viewers of this year's roll call nomination vote (or any year's, for that matter) will recall, it is customary for the spokesperson for each delegation to throw in a plug for their state. For example, at the RNC this year, Connecticut's announcement went like this: "Connecticut, where we manufacture Pez, nuclear submarines, and the home of the WWE, where men are men and the women are champions, proudly casts its 28 ballots for Donald J. Trump." The good people at Slate have done the yeoman-like work of noting and sorting all of this year's convention bragging, and have determined that yes, Republicans and Democrats do indeed tend to brag about different things.

The single most common thing to brag about was the states' natural features/terrain, a subject mentioned by 15 Republican and 13 Democratic spokespeople. After that commonality, however, things diverged fairly sharply. The Republican delegations' favorite subjects were the Republican Party (20), sports and sports teams (18), local industries/businesses (12), their states' values (10), and the jobs performed in their states (8). The Democrats favored the Democratic Party (21), notable women (11), civil rights landmarks and personages (10), sports and state history (9 each), and notable Native Americans or Native American tribes (8). The most vainglorious delegations were the Delaware Democrats and the Kentucky Republicans, who each found eight different things to brag about. (Z)

Bernie-or-Bust Delegates Are Not Conceding

The Democratic National Convention is history. Hillary Clinton was nominated and she accepted. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) fully supports Clinton, but many of his delegates still haven't accepted their defeat and are plotting their next moves. They will certainly keep the heat on Clinton. Norman Solomon, a California delegate, said: "Hillary Clinton does not deserve a nanosecond of political honeymoon." He and others are going to constantly monitor everything she says to see if she is true to the pledges she made to Sanders to get his support. (V)

Sanders Delegates Blame Him for DNC Chaos

While the supporters of Bernie Sanders made themselves known on all four nights of the Democratic convention, they were loudest and most noticeable on Monday night. In part, this was because that was the day that DNC-emailgate broke. But in part, according to some delegates, it was the fault of Bernie himself, for not properly communicating with his followers. Many of them, interviewed by Politico, say that they still thought Sanders had a chance of claiming the nomination, and it was on Monday that they finally learned otherwise.

It's hard to know whom to point the finger at here. On one hand, it is certainly true that Sanders encouraged his supporters to keep believing long after the writing was on the wall. On the other hand, if they did not grasp what it meant when he formally dropped out of the race and endorsed Hillary Clinton last Monday, then they either weren't paying attention or were being willfully ignorant. In the end, however, this is probably good news for the Clinton campaign. If some of the Sanders folks only got started on the five stages of grief this week, as opposed to a month ago, then there are probably more of them who will ultimately come around, beyond the 85% or so who have already said they will vote for Hillary. (Z)

Koch Brothers Reject the Idea of Meeting with Trump

A number of top Republican donors are strongly urging Charles and David Koch to meet with Donald Trump, with the idea being some kind of truce and eventual support of the Republican nominee. The Kochs and Trump were all in Colorado Springs yesterday, so it would have been easy to set up a meeting. The Kochs definitively rejected a meeting and thus effectively closed the door once and for all to the idea of any of their money going to help Trump. Fundamentally, the Koch brothers abhor Trump's positions on issues they consider essential, especially immigration and trade. Those positions are not going to change in the next 3 months. (V)

The World Wide Web Is Like the Wild, Wild West

The West was a pretty lawless place in the years after the Civil War, as federal and state governments worked to establish infrastructure and a legal system. The World Wide Web is similar in many ways, particularly as it comes to politics. The marriage between the Internet and presidential campaigns dates back a mere 20 years; when both the Dole-Kemp ticket and the Clinton-Gore ticket put up sites to reach younger voters. Today, that marriage is still in its infancy, with many potential questions and issues yet to be fully resolved.

Take, for example, domain squatting. There is already a well-established body of law protecting corporations from predatory squatters; Joe Jones is not allowed to grab pepsi.com or mcdonalds.com in hopes of wheedling a seven-figure sale price. In politics, however, the laws are less clear. There have been several high-profile cases of political domain squatting just this year, such as the people who purchased jebbush.com and pointed it to donaldjtrump.com, or the people who set it up so that tedcruzforamerica.com takes users to a site that will match them with Canadian romantic partners, in case they want to leave the country. Now, a Washington, D.C., lawyer named Jeremy Peter Green is dangling ClintonKaine.com and demanding $90,000. He has threatened to put anti-Clinton material up, or even to sell the domain to Donald Trump, if his price has not met. One might blame the Clinton camp for not thinking to grab that URL before announcing Kaine, except that Green made the purchase five years ago.

Similarly, there are laws governing most kinds of physical records and how long they must be preserved. Tax records, to take one example, have to be retained for at least seven years (or more, in many circumstances). On the other hand, there are few restrictions that protect Internet content from being discarded. For example, following Melania Trump's plagiarism controversy, reporters began poking around her website, noticing that it contained false information, such as a claim that the would-be First Lady has a college degree (she actually dropped out). She offered a brief apology for the errors, and then—poof!—the website disappeared. Now, melaniatrump.com points to trump.com. What the Trumps may not realize, however, is that once content is publicly-available on the Internet, it's not all that easy to make it go away. Because, of course, there are also relatively few laws about capturing other peoples' content. Such is life on the wild, wild Web. (Z)

One of the Women Who Said Yes To Roger Ailes Gives Long Interview

Most of the women who former Fox CEO Roger Ailes harassed said No! to him. However, at least one of them, Laurie Luhn, said Yes! And she kept on saying Yes! for 20 years. She was well rewarded for her behavior, some of it fairly unsavory, such as luring other women into a trap for Ailes to prey on. To make sure Luhn didn't go public with her story, Ailes made her dance nude in front of him while he videotaped her. In her long interview with Gabriel Sherman, Luhn didn't indicate if Ailes taped any other activities the two engaged in at various hotels where they met. Since we know that minors visit this Website, we will not relate here what Luhn said Ailes made her do to keep her $250,000 per year job at Fox News. To find out, read Gabriel Stern's long piece in New York Magazine.

But the story doesn't end with Ailes behavior. Luhn insists that Fox News management knew all about her arrangement with Ailes and did nothing. If there are lawsuits resulting from this story—and that seems inevitable—and she ends up testifying under oath in court about this, it could be the end for a large part of Fox News management, with all the consequences of that. (V)

Today's Presidential Polls

Although Missouri has been trending red, today we have a poll showing Clinton leading there. It seems unlikely and shouldn't be take seriously until confirmed a few more times by other pollsters. (V)

State Clinton Trump Johnson Start End Pollster
Missouri 41% 40% 9% Jul 23 Jul 24 Mason Dixon

Today's Senate Polls

California Attorney General Kamala Harris has a huge lead over her Democratic rival, Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA). Either way, a Democrat will replace the retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), but which kind of Democrat? Harris is from the Bay Area and is far more liberal than Sanchez, who hails from Southern California. A Harris victory who produce a new senator very much in the mold of the retiring one, whereas a Sanchez victory would move the Senate a bit to the right. (V)

State Democrat D % Republican R % Start End Pollster
California Kamala Harris 38% Loretta Sanchez (D) 20% Jul 10 Jul 19 Public Policy Inst. of California
Missouri Jason Kander 43% Roy Blunt* 47% Jul 23 Jul 24 Mason Dixon

* Denotes incumbent

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Jul29 Democratic Convention, Day 4: Clinton Gets the Job Done
Jul29 Has Trump Violated the Logan Act?
Jul29 Trump to Dems: Your Worldview is a Fantasy
Jul29 Billionaires Urge Koch Brothers to Back Trump
Jul29 Rubio Thinks Trump Will Learn on the Job
Jul29 How Asian-Americans Became Democrats
Jul29 New Stars Shine at the Democratic Convention
Jul29 Joe Biden Loves the Word 'Malarkey' but Americans Don't Know What It Means
Jul29 Tim Kaine Plays the Harmonica
Jul28 Democratic Convention, Day 3: Another Good Night for the Blue Team
Jul28 Trump Calls for Russia to Find Hillary Clinton's Deleted Emails
Jul28 Security Expert: Russian Hackers Could Target Voting Machines in November
Jul28 Suburban Women Are the Big Prize
Jul28 Soros Getting Back in the Game
Jul28 Are the DNC and RNC Being Held in the Same Country?
Jul28 Trump Will Definitely Not Release His Tax Returns
Jul28 Historic Event Noted with Photos of ... Bill
Jul27 Democratic Convention, Day 2: Cracking the Glass Ceiling
Jul27 New Poll: Trump Gets a Convention Bounce
Jul27 The 2016 Election in One Chart
Jul27 Evidence Mounts that DNC Hack Was Done by Russians
Jul27 Wikileaks Will Release a Lot More Material Relevant to the Election
Jul27 Sanders May Work for Senate Candidates
Jul27 Clinton Stops Advertising in Colorado
Jul27 O'Reilly Thinks Slaves Had it Pretty Good
Jul27 Trump Supports a $10/hr Minimum Wage
Jul27 Alan Grayson's Ex-Wife Says He Abused Her Repeatedly
Jul26 Democratic Convention, Day 1: Hillary Can Sleep Well Tonight
Jul26 Trump Gets a Big Bounce
Jul26 FBI Investigating DNC Email Hack
Jul26 DNC Vice Chair Apologizes to Sanders
Jul26 Sanders Can't Control His Supporters
Jul26 Bill Clinton Will Campaign in Utah
Jul26 Clinton Hires Wasserman Schultz
Jul26 Big Money Didn't Do So Well This Year
Jul25 Daily Tracking Starts Today
Jul25 Democrats Are As Divided as Republicans as Convention Opens
Jul25 Bloomberg to Endorse Clinton at Convention
Jul25 Debbie Wasserman Schultz Will Resign This Week
Jul25 How Clinton and Kaine Match Up on Key Issues
Jul25 Kaine's Background Is Just Getting Better Known
Jul25 Pence Complicates Trump's Pitch to Union Members
Jul25 Trump Gets Small Bounce from Convention
Jul25 Trump Releases a Very Trump-like Ad
Jul25 Gore Will Skip DNC
Jul24 Clinton Formally Introduces Kaine as Her Running Mate
Jul24 Kaine Is a Media-Savvy Micromanager
Jul24 Kaine Could Be a Game Changer
Jul24 Kaine Accepted Many Gifts in Virginia
Jul24 Democratic Convention Goal: Make Clinton Likable