• Neither Party Is Popular
• New Emails Spell More Trouble for Clinton
• DNC Hack Worse than Originally Thought
• Cracking the Code on Trump Tweets
• RNC Staffers Fleeing Trump
• Trump Supporters Less Likely to Vote than Clinton Supporters
• Trump Not Seizing His Opportunities
• Trump Is Caught in a Downward Spiral
• Obama's Debate Prep Adviser Has Some Advice for Clinton
• Today's Presidential Polls
• Today's Senate Polls
The Republican-controlled state legislature in Wisconsin passed a law requiring voters to show photo ID to vote and also reduced the early voting period. Last month, federal district court judge Lynn Adelman ruled that the law disenfranchised voters, especially minority voters. In his ruling, he said that if a voter did not have a valid ID but signed an affidavit stating that he or she was an eligible voter, then that person could vote. Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), a strong proponent of the law, ordered the state to appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. Yesterday, a three-judge panel from the 7th Circuit stayed Adelman's ruling, saying it went too far. The court issued the stay to block Adelman's ruling from going into effect pending further study by the Circuit Court, but if the judges were sympathetic to Adelman's ruling, they would not have issued the stay. All three judges who took part in the 7th Circuit case, Frank Easterbrook, Diane Sykes, and Michael Kanne, were appointed by Republican presidents. Adelman was appointed by Bill Clinton.
The case is more complicated than this because last month a different district judge, James Peterson, also struck down parts of the same law that Easterbrook, Sykes, and Kanne seem to like. The case Peterson ruled on hasn't gotten to the 7th Circuit yet and if it does, it is far from certain to get the same result since different judges are likely to be involved and five of the nine judges on the 7th Circuit Court have a history of opposing voter-ID laws. What happens next is not clear yet but in general, judges don't like to change election rules close to an election. (V)
By now everyone knows that neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump is very popular. A new Gallup poll shows that the parties aren't terribly popular either. The favorable/unfavorables for the Democratic Party are 44%/49%, so it is slightly under water. In contrast, at 36%/57%, the Republican Party is drowning. No doubt people's views of the parties are colored by their views of the parties' presidential candidates, but that is not the whole story. Most of the difference in the ratings is that 80% of Democrats like their party but only 63% of Republicans like theirs. Clearly, the Democrats have unified much more than the Republicans. These views could easily affect how people vote in the downballot races. If you don't like a party, you are less likely to vote for any of its candidates. (V)
A new batch of emails released yesterday probably has Hillary Clinton wishing that email had never been invented. The new emails raise questions about potential conflicts of interest between the Clinton Foundation and Hillary Clinton's work at the State Department. The point raised is whether large donors to the Foundation, especially foreign ones, got any special favors as a result of their donations. In one case, a Foundation donor wanted to meet the United States ambassador to Lebanon. For governors, senators, and the president, virtually every large donor expects and gets access and favors like this. In fact, at the end of June, the Supreme Court officially declared that it is fine for politicians to do favors for big donors. Specifically, it voided the conviction of former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell, who admittedly did lots of favors for a big donor. Clinton, of course, was not an elected official, so even if quasi-bribery of elected officials is fine with the Supreme Court, that may not apply to appointed ones.
Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch, a conservative group strongly opposed to Clinton, got the documents via the Freedom of Information Act. Fitton claims that she hid the 44 emails released yesterday because they contradict her 2009 promise not to work on Clinton Foundation matters while she was Secretary of State. Clinton's campaign responded to Fitton by saying that the emails did not relate to the Foundation or to Clinton's government work. (V)
The FBI has spent time looking into the Russians' cyberattack on the DNC, and they have now concluded that the breach was much wider than originally thought, with over 100 email accounts belonging to individuals and groups having been compromised.
Surely there must be something taken from these accounts that hasn't been released yet. Meanwhile, Wikileaks' Julian Assange has spent the week making it clear that he has it in for the Democrats in general, and for Hillary Clinton in particular. While hiding behind the excuse that "we don't reveal our sources," he's hinted that the already-leaked messages came courtesy of 27-year-old DNC staffer Seth Rich, who was murdered on July 10. This has, in turn, fueled a wave of right-wing conspiracy thinkers, who believe that Hillary Clinton, or Debbie Wasserman Schultz, or Barack Obama, or all of the above ordered that Rich be executed. It's very reminiscent of the Vince Foster rumors back in the 1990s.
So, this story is not going away. Assange almost certainly has more dirt, and he must be planning to deploy it when it will do the most damage. That means we should be expecting to hear from him again in mid-October or so. (Z)
A theory has been circulating that the Donald Trump tweets that come from an Android device are from the candidate himself, while the ones that come from an iPhone are the work of his staff. David Robinson, a data scientist who works for Stack Overflow (sort of like Yahoo! for programmers and developers), decided to test the theory. His conclusion: It's absolutely correct.
Robinson used some very sophisticated algorithms to analyze roughly 1,400 tweets from Trump's timeline, and demonstrated conclusively that the iPhone tweets are substantively different than the Android tweets. The former tend to come later at night, and are vastly more likely to incorporate hashtags, images, and links. The latter tend to come in the morning, and are much more likely to be copied and pasted from other people's tweets. In terms of word choice, the iPhone tweets tend to be more neutral, with their three most-used phrases being "join," "#trump2016," and "#makeamericagreatagain." The Android tweets tend to be more emotionally charged, with their three most-used phrases being "badly," "crazy," and "weak."
In the end, this is largely a curiosity. However, having the code broken will make it harder (or easier) for The Donald to disclaim future (and past) controversial tweets. Already, users have gone back to check and see where the anti-Semitic and white supremacist retweets came from. Answer: Android. (Z)
Almost a dozen loyal RNC staff members have quit their jobs because they don't support the election of Donald Trump. Some of them see the handwriting on the wall and don't want the stain of a Trump campaign on their resumes. Some of the people leaving had envisioned good jobs in the White House under a President Bush, a President Cruz, or a President Christie. One prominent GOP consultant who prefers to remain anonymous summed up their feelings by saying: "It sucks to wake up every morning and go into the office and do things to help Donald Trump become president."
The DNC has also had departures this year, but a number of those were people caught with their pants down in the DNC email scandal. One person, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, departed because she wanted to work on the campaign of Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Other than Gabbard, no one has left because they can't stomach Hillary Clinton. (V)
Donald Trump is betting the farm on appealing to blue-collar white men. Hillary Clinton is not betting the farm on any one group, but she is making a big effort to attract white college-educated women, many of whom normally vote Republican. A new WaPo/ABC News poll sheds light on an interesting aspect of the candidates' respective pitches. It shows that only 62% of the blue-collar men Trump badly needs are sure they will vote. In contrast, 90% of white college-educated women are certain to vote. If true, that could spell even more trouble for Trump. In 2012, only 55% of white blue-collar men voted vs. 79% of college-educated women, so Trump may get a 7% boost whereas Clinton is looking at an 11% boost. (V)
Donald Trump has made clear what kind of campaign he is running—he's asking Americans to vote against Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama as much as he is asking them to vote for him. That means going on the attack on a near-daily basis, and running a very negative campaign. Of course, Clinton is a shrewd operator who does not give Trump a lot of openings, so when one comes up, he needs to take it. And yet, he's had an opportunity twice this week, and he's dropped the ball both times.
The first opening came on Monday night, when Seddique Mateen—father of the Orlando nightclub shooter—ended up sitting up on stage, right behind Clinton, at one of her rallies in Florida. Needless to say, Clinton can't control who supports her, and can't vet every person who shows up for a rally. Nonetheless, it wasn't a good look, and it provided an opportunity for Trump to reiterate his argument that the Democrats are soft on radical Islam. The Donald waited until a rally on Wednesday night to mention it, and as he did so, he failed to notice that disgraced ex-Congressman Mark Foley—who sent sexually-explicit text messages to underage teenage boys—was sitting right behind him. This makes it rather difficult to point fingers at the Clinton campaign and to make hay out of the people sitting on stage.
Trump's other opening, of course, is the newly-released Clinton emails (see above). If Clinton did indeed do favors for big donors (and she almost certainly did), it's in line with usual practice, but it doesn't look good to the voting public. As a tactical matter, Trump should have been hitting "Crooked Hillary" left, right, and sideways all day Wednesday. Instead, he spent two minutes on the subject at his rally, with much of that devoted to blasting the "biased media" for not covering the story more fully. Then he moved on to a lengthy harangue in which he repeated his belief that Barack Obama is "the founder of ISIS" and "the co-founder would be crooked Hillary." It probably took 10 seconds for anyone with an Internet connection to learn that ISIS was founded in 1999, and that it declared itself to be an Islamic state in 2006; both are well before Obama and Clinton took office in 2009. This raises the question: Why would Trump use a false and easily disproven example of malfeasance when he has a real, live, juicy example all over the front pages of websites and newspapers? More and more, it seems like he really doesn't have an interest in winning this election. (Z)
Close to a dozen national polls taken after the conventions have shown Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump, in some of them by double digits. That news is bad enough, but the polls themselves can cause events that make things even worse. One problem is that a lot of Republican politicians, staffers, and consultants don't like Trump much but have stayed on board because if they desert him and he wins, they are going to be in the doghouse with a powerful president bearing grudges. To the extent they are convinced he is going to lose, they are far more likely to not only desert him, but condemn him in public. As voters see Republicans condemning Trump (and Clinton's campaign will make sure they see it over and over and over and over), it could influence the few true independents left, and also make it safe for moderate Republicans to vote for Gary Johnson or even Hillary Clinton.
A second problem is that it demoralizes campaign staffers and discourages volunteers from working for the campaign. Clinton can easily find a million volunteers to go knock on doors for her. Trump is going to find it hard to recruit his. Of course, the problem of not enough volunteers can be fixed by simply hiring people to go door-to-door, but if the field worker just sees it as a job of passing out flyers, that is not going to be as convincing as someone who is really fired up about the candidate and tries to engage the voters who answer the door.
A third problem the polls are causing Trump is that donors hate wasting money on losing campaigns. While small donors who truly believe in Trump and want The Wall will continue to send in checks for $30, the big Republican donors may sit this one out, or contribute to Senate and House campaigns instead. Big donors who aren't ideological but just want to buy access to the next president may already have figured out who that is going to be and may start sending large checks to her super PAC. (V)
Anita Dunn was one of the people who helped prepare Barack Obama for his debates with Mitt Romney in 2012. She is not officially advising Hillary Clinton, but she did give some advice to Clinton in an interview with Politico, including these highlights:
- Trump will bait Clinton and she must not take the bait
- She should utilize her strengths: discipline, thorough preparation, depth of knowledge, and ability to explain things
- She should avoid sarcasm and not go negative lest he out-negative her
- If he attacks her personally, just pivot and remind the voters it is about who will do more for them as president
- Prepare for the moderator and learn in advance what to expect from that person
Above all, Clinton should act presidential and not get down in the mud with Trump. If she can convince people that she would act like a president is supposed to act and Trump fails that test, she wins the debate and the ensuing media coverage. Dunn didn't have any advice for Trump, but if she did, it is unlikely he would listen to her—or even to his own advisers. (V)
Donald Trump's whole strategy is about winning the Rust Belt states. Polls like today's Wisconsin poll, which shows Hillary Clinton with a 9-point lead, suggest that it isn't working so well there. In Michigan, Trump is 10 points down, in Pennsylvania he is behind by 8 points, and in Ohio he is losing by 3 points. The only Rust Belt state where he is ahead is Indiana, which generally votes Republican, Trump or no Trump (although Obama won in narrowly in 2008). (V)
|Kansas||39%||44%||8%||Aug 03||Aug 07||SurveyUSA|
|Wisconsin||42%||33%||10%||Aug 04||Aug 07||Marquette Law School|
Not only is Trump tanking in Wisconsin, but so is Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI). It looks like former senator Russ Feingold is also going to be future senator Russ Feingold. A tighter race is in North Carolina, where Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) is holding off former state legislator Deborah Ross. This could become the race that determines which party controls the Senate. (V)
|State||Democrat||D %||Republican||R %||Start||End||Pollster|
|Wisconsin||Russ Feingold||53%||Ron Johnson*||42%||Aug 04||Aug 07||Marquette Law School|
|North Carolina||Deborah Ross||37%||Richard Burr*||41%||Aug 05||Aug 07||PPP|
|Kansas||Patrick Wiesner||32%||Jerry Moran*||52%||Aug 03||Aug 07||SurveyUSA|
* Denotes incumbent
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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Aug10 Clinton with a Big Lead in Another National Poll
Aug10 Trump Campaigns in Eastern North Carolina
Aug10 Trump Says that Second Amendment People Can Stop Clinton
Aug10 Trump Willing to Debate Clinton, but Only on His Terms
Aug10 Anti-Trump Republican Decides To Run Despite Certain Defeat
Aug10 Could the Rigged Election Talk Have Serious Ramifications?
Aug10 Ryan Lives to Fight Another Day
Aug10 Trump Says Wife Will Address Immigration Controversy
Aug10 Fiorina Running for RNC Chair
Aug10 How To Vote in Each State
Aug09 The iPhone/iPad App is Available Again
Aug09 Clinton Has Double-Digit Lead Nationally
Aug09 The GOP Establishment Does Not Like Donald Trump
Aug09 Trump Gives a Major Address on the Economy
Aug09 New Citizens Could Play a Major Role in the Election
Aug09 Could In-Person Voter Fraud Steal an Election?
Aug09 Religious Leaders Focus on the Issues
Aug09 Two Benghazi Parents Sue Clinton
Aug08 Two More National Polls Shows Clinton with a Wide Lead
Aug08 Will the Presidential Candidates Have Coattails?
Aug08 Kasich: Very Difficult for Trump to Win Ohio
Aug08 How Badly is Trump Doing With Black Voters?
Aug08 NeverTrump Forces Aren't Giving Up
Aug08 Where Are the Republican Women?
Aug08 Could an Election Actually Be Rigged?
Aug08 Clinton's Lies, Trump's Damned Lies
Aug08 Could a Third Party Affect the Election?
Aug08 Trump Will Not Be Able to Pay Off National Debt
Aug08 George Bush Endorses Trump
Aug07 Trump Goes on the Offensive
Aug07 Is Trump-Pence Working Out?
Aug07 Wikileaks Won't Go After Trump's Tax Returns
Aug07 What's Behind Convention Bounces?
Aug07 Green Party Officially Nominates Jill Stein
Aug07 Third Parties Are Racing against the Clock
Aug07 Another Republican Bails on Trump
Aug07 Clinton Is Buying Olympics Ads
Aug07 The Political Process Is Worse Than Rigged
Aug07 Mosquitoes Bite Rubio
Aug06 The Economy Is Barreling Along
Aug06 Trump Names His Economic Team
Aug06 Donald Trump: Full of Surprises
Aug06 Clinton Working to Counter Trump's Rust Belt Strategy
Aug06 Former CIA Head Endorses Clinton
Aug06 Hillary Gets Overconfident, Gets Burned
Aug06 Clinton Still Having Trouble with Millennials
Aug06 Republican Insiders to Trump: Drop Out
Aug06 Another Take on What Happens If Trump Drops Out
Aug06 Trump Closer to Clinton in New Poll