• Clinton Rebuts Trump in Speech on Economics
• Has the Trump Campaign Reached the Breaking Point?
• Clinton and Kaine to Release More Tax Returns
• Wisconsin Plaintiffs File En Banc Petition in Voter-ID Case
• Wal-Mart Moms Are Split between Clinton and Trump
• Trump Lied Repeatedly Under Oath in a 2007 Deposition
• Pence Campaigning Hard--for President in 2020
• Reid Thinks Clinton Will Stick with Garland
• Defeat for Gerrymandering in North Carolina
• Wasserman Schultz Likely to Win Her Primary
• Today's Presidential Polls
• Today's Senate Polls
Trump Doubles Down on Claim that Obama and Clinton Cofounded ISIS
After Donald Trump claimed that President Obama and Hillary Clinton founded ISIS, many Republicans told him to tone it down. Yesterday, he repeated the claim multiple times. In a live radio interview, conservative host Hugh Hewitt gave him a chance to wriggle out of his claim by saying: "You mean that Obama created a vacuum, he lost the peace." Trump then contradicted Hewitt by saying: "No, I meant he's the founder of ISIS." It is hard to align this statement with the history of ISIS, which was founded in 1999 by a Jordanian radical. At the time, Obama was an Illinois state senator and Hillary Clinton was First Lady. Trump has now gotten to the point of making statements that can be proven to be false by any 10-year-old with a computer, but he doesn't care about whether his statements are true or false as long as his audiences lap them up, which they do.
Foreign policy experts can't believe what they are hearing. Max Boot, a senior fellow for national security studies at the Council on Foreign Relations said Trump is just plain nuts. Boot also scoffed at Trump's remark that ISIS reveres Obama, saying: "Given the fact that President Obama is sending warplanes to bomb ISIS on a daily basis, I'm kind of guessing that ISIS does not actually revere the president." (V)
Clinton Rebuts Trump in Speech on Economics
On Monday, Donald Trump gave a speech on economics in Detroit. Yesterday, Hillary Clinton did as well. She spent much of her time attacking Trump, saying that his economic plan would help only the rich and that he has no credible plan for creating jobs. She also noted that his plan to repeal the estate tax would save his kids as much as $4 billion, depending on what his estate is actually worth. She also mentioned that he has a long trail of stiffing contractors who worked for him.
During her speech, Clinton also talked about her plans to create jobs. She wants to spend $250 billion improving and modernizing the nation's roads, bridges, tunnels, railways, ports, and airports, saying that we are living off investments made by our parents and grandparents. She also described her plans for a national infrastructure bank that would finance infrastructure projects by granting low-interest loans. She said the plans would be financed by business tax reform, but was vague about what this meant. (V)
Has the Trump Campaign Reached the Breaking Point?
Donald Trump gave an interview to the Miami Herald on Tuesday. And as part of his quest to get "tough on terrorism," he said that he would be comfortable using military tribunals to try U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism. Needless to say, this would be very unlikely to pass constitutional muster. It is also dangerously close to the textbook definition of fascism.
Of course, the remarks have already triggered the usual round of denunciations from across the political spectrum. And following a very bad couple of weeks for The Donald, it would seem that someone is fed up. Reportedly at the instigation of the Trump campaign team, they will have a "come to Jesus" meeting today in Orlando with RNC officials, with the subject being how to fix what's wrong. This does not seem like the type of request that the candidate himself would make, and indeed, he will be in Pennsylvania while the meeting takes place. Perhaps a rebellion is being fomented from within, although what may come of such a rebellion is anyone's guess. The RNC does not have the power to fire a rogue candidate, so it can't be that.
There is also another possibility. Talking to CNBC on Thursday, Trump committed yet another one of the cardinal sins of American politics: He talked about what he would do if he lost the election (Answer: a long vacation). Normally, a candidate is supposed to be 100% bullish about his or her chances right up to Election Day, and to pretend that they've never even heard of the word "defeat." Even Walter Mondale and Barry Goldwater went into November telling everyone that they had this thing won. Anyhow, Trump cannot he happy being the constant subject of attacks and negative headlines, and he cannot be excited about the possibility of spending the next 95 days fighting for what even he may have decided is a lost cause. So perhaps Friday's meeting is, for lack of a better term, a negotiation: "What will I get if I drop out?" In his business career, Trump's #1 unachieved ambition has been to build a casino in Las Vegas (he has a residential building there, but no casino). Perhaps the RNC knows someone who could help get that done in exchange for an agreement to drop out. Say, a megadonor whose name rhymes with Eldon Shadelson. This is a somewhat fantastic theory, but perhaps not as improbable as some of the things that have already happened this year.
More realistically, though, the most probable outcome of the meeting today would be for the RNC to internally concede the White House to Hillary Clinton (without saying so, of course), and put all its money, people, and other resources into trying to save the Senate. (Z)
Clinton and Kaine to Release More Tax Returns
Hillary Clinton will release her 2015 tax returns this week. She said that she paid an effective tax rate of about 35% and donated 10% of her income to charity. She has previously released her tax returns going back to 2007. Her combined federal and state tax rate during the 2007 to 2014 period varied from a low of 37% to a high of 46%. Tim Kaine will release 10 years of tax returns this week, as well. Donald Trump has said he will not release any of his tax returns because they are under audit, even though the commissioner of internal revenue has said that taxpayers are free to release their tax returns whenever they want to, even if they are being audited. (V)
Wisconsin Plaintiffs File En Banc Petition in Voter-ID Case
After the Wisconsin state legislature passed a law requiring voters to show photo ID to vote and making it harder to vote in other ways, a voting-rights group sued the state. Judge Lynn Adelman ruled that people without an ID should be allowed to sign an affidavit stating that they are eligible to vote and then be allowed to vote. On Wednesday, a three-judge panel of the Appeals Court for the 7th Circuit stayed (i.e., suspended) Adelman's ruling, putting the original law back into effect. Now the plaintiffs have filed an emergency petition asking for an en banc ruling, meaning that the appeal would be redone, but this time by all the judges in the 7th Circuit Court. Based on these judges' previous rulings and writings, there is a reasonable chance that the plaintiffs could win the en banc ruling. Such a ruling would almost certainly be the final one for the time being, because if the case goes to the Supreme Court, the result there would likely be a 4-4 tie, which would mean the en banc ruling would be upheld, but only for the 7th Circuit (Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin). (V)
Wal-Mart Moms Are Split between Clinton and Trump
Republican pollster Neil Newhouse and Democratic pollster Margie Omero ran focus groups in Arizona and Ohio with Wal-Mart moms: women between 18 and 44 with young children at home who shop at Wal-Mart. Here are their key findings:
- Social media are powerful and divisive, dividing families and friends
- There is interest in other candidates, but some of the moms don't even know who Gary Johnson is
- The conventions didn't matter much, but the debates will
- The women don't think that having a female president is a big deal at all, but a black one was
- They don't believe that Trump is a Republican but don't care
- Clinton is fundamentally untrustworthy
- No one thinks Trump can win
- It doesn't matter who wins, Washington will continue to be broken
The focus groups had only 20 people, so they are not like a poll. Nevertheless, such groups allow the pollsters to go deeper than a poll can into why voters feel as they do. (V)
Trump Lied Repeatedly Under Oath in a 2007 Deposition
The Washington Post has a long piece of investigative reporting about an incident that occurred in 2007. It started when Timothy L. O'Brien wrote a book entitled Trump Nation, in which he questioned Trump's claim that his net worth was $5 billion, saying that he had three sources that said it was no more than $250 million. Trump sued the author—a big mistake. O'Brien's lawyers subpoenaed Trump and for 2 days asked him questions while he was under oath.
In many cases, they already knew the answers, but wanted to see what Trump would say. He didn't realize that they not only knew the answers, but in many cases had proof. Trump lied repeatedly under oath during the deposition. For example, they asked him what percentage of a limited partnership (in which he was a partner) was his. He said it was 50%. When the lawyers confronted him with the fact that it was 30%, he just said: "Smart people would say it's much more than 30%." But the documents said it was 30%. On another point, Trump was asked how much he was paid for a speech. Trump said it was a million dollars. Then the lawyer asked, "How much was in cash?" Trump said: "$400,000." When the lawyer pressed him on the difference, Trump said that the speech made his brand more valuable by $600,000. The lawyers caught him simply lying under oath 30 times. Ultimately, the judge threw the lawsuit out. Trump then claimed that he won because the author had to pay so much for the lawyers. Actually, the author paid nothing for the defense. Insurance and the publisher covered all the costs. (V)
Pence Campaigning Hard--for President in 2020
Although Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN) is nominally running for vice president, he is keeping his eye out for other job opportunities—for example, president in 2020. Like everyone else, he knows the chances of his becoming vice president on Jan. 20 are not so great, so he is engaged in a tricky balancing act. On the one hand, he has to please his potential new boss and try to clean up the mess when the boss says something outrageous. On the other hand, he can't offend the Republican base, since he will need their votes in 2020. And just to make it a lot harder, if he wants the Republican establishment to support him in 2020 (superdelegates, anyone?), he has to make it clear to them that he is both sane and a loyal Republican.
On three issues in the past week he has found himself on the other side of a controversy from Trump. These were Trump's attack on the Khan family, Trump's request that Russia hack Clinton's email server, and the (non)endorsement of Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) in his primary. So far, the Indiana governor has done a good job. If Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is his principal primary opponent in 2020, Pence could do well since Pence has few enemies and Cruz has a Texas-size boatload of them. Surely Pence is thinking that if the Republicans can hold the Senate and block Madam President at every move and turn the country against her, in 2021 he could be moving to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave instead of going to Number One Observatory Circle. (V)
Reid Thinks Clinton Will Stick with Garland
The longest that any Supreme Court justice waited to be confirmed was Louis Brandeis, who twisted in the wind for 125 days before securing his seat. Merrick Garland has now waited for 149 days. Outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) was asked about the subject on Thursday, and opined that Hillary Clinton will stick with Garland as her nominee, if elected president. "I think that I can say that with some degree of credibility," he asserted.
What are we to make of this? On one hand, many Democrats had hoped that the threat of being stuck with a much more liberal justice than Garland would compel the GOP to swallow hard and confirm him before Obama pulled the nomination. Reid's remarks would seem to undermine that strategy. On the other hand, Reid probably does know what he's talking about, and he's unlikely to have gone on the record in this way without the approval of the Clinton campaign. So, what might the goal of Reid + Clinton be? One possibility is that they simply want to return attention to the Republicans' obstructionism. More likely, however, is that Clinton is eyeing the Wal-Mart moms and other sorts of moderate/independent voters, and wants to assure them that she does not intend to appoint Che Guevara, Jr., to the Supreme Court if she gains the White House. She knows that Garland is a perfectly fine nominee for now, and that over the course of the next four years, she is likely to get somewhere between one and four more bites at the apple. Then she can appoint Che. (Z)
Defeat for Gerrymandering in North Carolina
If you thought that voter ID laws were the only trick up the North Carolina legislature's sleeve, you were wrong. They are also enthusiastic purveyors of racially-based gerrymandering, in which the mapmakers loop, swoop, twirl, and stand on their heads to get as many black people into a single district as is possible. One of the most notorious is the state's 21st legislative district, which looks more like someone spilled water on the map than it does an actual cohesive geographic area. And now, the 4th Circuit has struck down the map, and told the legislature to go back to the drawing board.
Gerrymandering, which is practiced by both parties but with particular zeal by the GOP, is among the most anti-democratic elements of modern American politics. It is also not widely known or understood among most voters. It is likely that Thursday's decision will result in a district that is only mildly less gerrymandered than the current one, especially since the legislature was given until 2017 to clean up their act. Still, this victory and others are bringing greater visibility to the issue, and at the same time are signaling the increased willingness of courts to become involved. Half a dozen states have already taken steps to address the problem, and most of those (California, Hawaii, New Jersey, Washington) are deep blue. If the Democrats gain control of the Supreme Court (and the rest of the judiciary), we can expect to see the anti-gerrymandering trend continue to gain momentum. (Z)
Wasserman Schultz Likely to Win Her Primary
One of the few victories the supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) could possibly yet salvage this year is the defeat of their nemesis, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), who chaired the DNC until her ouster as a result of the Wikileaks email scandal. She is running against Tim Canova in the Democratic primary, which will be held Aug. 30. Sanders is strongly backing Canova and helped him raise $1 million. Canova's problem is that Wasserman Schultz, who has been in the House for 10 years, is an excellent fit for her district, which includes Miami Beach and areas north to Fort Lauderdale and west to Weston. She is the first Jewish congresswoman from Florida in a district that is heavily white, Jewish, and Democratic. Another thing Wasserman Schultz has going for her is the stream of top Democrats coming down to campaign for her, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Gabby Giffords, Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), and many more. There haven't been any nonpartisan polls in the district, but Canova released his own internal poll showing him losing by 8 points, while Wasserman Schultz's internal poll showed her up 33 points. If Canova wins this, it will be a massive upset. (V)
Today's Presidential Polls
A new PPP poll of South Carolina is nothing short of amazing for this very red state. Donald Trump's lead over Hillary Clinton is only 2 points. The details are even more astonishing. Trump has a massive lead among seniors of 58% to 30% but with the under-65 crowd, Clinton is ahead 41% to 36%. That suggests that South Carolina, like North Carolina and Virginia, has the potential to become yet another Southern battleground state. If, one by one, once-solid red states in the South become swing states, the Republican Party has a real problem. On some specific issues, South Carolinians are quite liberal. For example, 84% want background checks for all gun purchases, 77% want to raise the minimum wage to at least $10/hr, and 53% support laws protecting LGBT South Carolinians from discrimination in the workplace, housing, and public accommodations. These attitudes are more what one might expect in North Carolina or Virginia, rather than South Carolina. (V)
|Florida||45%||44%||6%||Aug 10||Aug 10||Opinion Savvy|
|Georgia||39%||43%||8%||Aug 04||Aug 08||Gravis|
|Iowa||36%||37%||6%||Aug 08||Aug 10||Suffolk U.|
|Maine||43%||33%||10%||Aug 04||Aug 08||Gravis|
|New York||48%||34%||6%||Aug 04||Aug 08||Gravis|
|South Carolina||39%||41%||5%||Aug 09||Aug 10||PPP|
Today's Senate Polls
It is a good day for Republican senators. In five of the six polls, the Republican incumbent is leading his Democratic challenger. Only in Pennsylvania is the Democrat ahead. For the Democrats to have a shot at taking back the Senate, Florida and Ohio are crucial states, and they are behind there now. (V)
|State||Democrat||D %||Republican||R %||Start||End||Pollster|
|Florida||Patrick Murphy||43%||Marco Rubio*||45%||Aug 10||Aug 10||Opinion Savvy|
|Florida||Patrick Murphy||45%||Marco Rubio*||48%||Jul 30||Aug 07||Quinnipiac U.|
|Ohio||Ted Strickland||40%||Rob Portman*||49%||Jul 30||Aug 07||Quinnipiac U.|
|Pennsylvania||Katie McGinty||47%||Pat Toomey*||44%||Jul 30||Aug 07||Quinnipiac U.|
|South Carolina||Thomas Dixon||28%||Tim Scott*||45%||Aug 09||Aug 10||PPP|
|Utah||Misty Snow||22%||Mike Lee*||57%||Jul 17||Aug 04||Dan Jones|
* Denotes incumbent
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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Aug11 Neither Party Is Popular
Aug11 New Emails Spell More Trouble for Clinton
Aug11 DNC Hack Worse than Originally Thought
Aug11 Cracking the Code on Trump Tweets
Aug11 RNC Staffers Fleeing Trump
Aug11 Trump Supporters Less Likely to Vote than Clinton Supporters
Aug11 Trump Not Seizing His Opportunities
Aug11 Trump Is Caught in a Downward Spiral
Aug11 Obama's Debate Prep Adviser Has Some Advice for Clinton
Aug10 Go Back in Time
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