Clinton 368
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Ties 6
Trump 164
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Click for Senate
Dem 49
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GOP 51
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  • Strongly Dem (231)
  • Likely Dem (42)
  • Barely Dem (95)
  • Exactly tied (6)
  • Barely GOP (15)
  • Likely GOP (27)
  • Strongly GOP (122)
270 Electoral votes needed to win This date in 2012 2008
New polls: (None)
Dem pickups vs. 2012: AZ GA NC
GOP pickups vs. 2012: (None)

Trump Is Soliciting Election Observers To Prevent Cheating

On Friday, Donald Trump announced that he was going to win Pennsylvania unless Hillary Clinton cheated. Never mind that he has trailed in every single nonpartisan poll taken in July and August, sometimes by double digits. To prevent "Crooked Hillary" from cheating, Trump is soliciiting "observers" to watch the polls to prevent anyone from "rigging" the election. The page where volunteers can sign up is here; one wonders how long it will take someone in the campaign to realize that having "volunteers" at polling places "observing" would probably violate a long-standing consent decree preventing the RNC and its agents (which would probably include Trump) from engaging in "ballot security activities" at polling places where race or ethnicity is a factor.

The consent decree originated with an RNC effort in New Jersey in 1981 to "observe" voting. The legal ruling that led to the consent degree contained the following text:

The RNC allegedly created a voter challenge list by mailing sample ballots to individuals in precincts with a high percentage of racial or ethnic minority registered voters and, then, including individuals whose postcards were returned as undeliverable on a list of voters to challenge at the polls. The RNC also allegedly enlisted the help of off-duty sheriffs and police officers to intimidate voters by standing at polling places in minority precincts during voting with National Ballot Security Task Force armbands. Some of the officers allegedly wore firearms in a visible manner.

The Democrats sued and the RNC agreed not to engage in voter intimidation tactics. The consent degree that came out of this case has been modified several times, but is still in force.

A close reading of the text suggests that if Trump sent observers to all-white precincts, he would probably be in conformance with the consent decree, but that probably isn't his game plan. Normal candidates don't decide to send "observers" to polling places without talking to their lawyers first, but Trump is not a normal candidate.

It is possible that Trump actually has a plan here. By sending armed white "observers" wearing made-up armbands to precincts with many minority voters he is hoping to stir up trouble. Democrats may respond in kind by sending their own "observers." Fights could break out if the "observers" do more than just look. If they do, Trump will claim they are not his fault because the people he sent were merely instructed to observe. Trump could later use any fights that break out as a basis for challenging the election results, claiming they were rigged and his people were trying to prevent the rigging. (V)

Can Donald Trump Be Saved from Donald Trump?

The mood at Trump Tower is not good. Interviews with 20 Republicans who are close to Trump paint a bleak picture of a candidate who is exhausted, frustrated, and bewildered by the whole campaign process. What went so swimmingly during the primaries when he was addressing only the Republican base and being praised by conservative media turns out not to work so well in a general election. He barks at his staff and grumbles that he was better off when he followed his instincts and didn't listen to consultants. He clearly does not understand the difference between throwing lots of red meat at the Republican base and trying to compete in a general election with a completely different—and far less forgiving—electorate and media coverage.

His advisers see a clear pattern. He goes for a few days without any gaffes, then says something outrageous and the media are all over him. Then he doubles down on it and it gets worse. As a consequence, independents and Democrats don't go to his rallies, so the people who show up there are similar to the primary electorate. He throws them more red meat and they chow it down but the media also pick it up and he's in trouble again.

His advisers haven't given up yet. The next plan is to have him appear with people who share his view of the world and whom he likes, such as Rudy Giuliani and Mike Huckabee. The hope is that they can keep him in check.

The problem of Trump's not knowing how to campaign is not a new one. Back in May, Trump met with Karl Rove, who knows a thing or two about politics and winning elections. Trump told Rove how he would compete in Oregon. Rove listened in disbelief, knowing that the last time Oregon voted for a Republican was for Ronald Reagan in 1984. Rove later said that Trump doesn't understand the basics of running a campaign. (V)

Pointing the Finger Here, There, and Everywhere

Donald Trump was not happy about the New York Times story documenting dissension within his campaign (see above). And so, he decided to strike back. First taking to Twitter, he characterized the Times as "a newspaper of fiction," and said the story was based on "non-existent unnamed sources." Then, he went further at a rally in Connecticut on Saturday, declaring that, "the newspaper is going to hell." He also suggested he might revoke the Times' press credentials. If he did so, it would join the Washington Post, Politico, and the National Review on the Trump blacklist. And the media was not Trump's only scapegoat on Saturday. He continued to harp on the notion that Pennsylvania might be "stolen" by Hillary Clinton and the Democrats (see above). He even turned his sights on the voters themselves, announcing that he will "never, ever forgive" the people of several swing states if he loses there.

It is evident, at this point, that the Trump campaign does not make mistakes. Any and all reverses that they suffer are the work of the corrupt media, Crooked Hillary, people who just don't understand what The Donald meant, and a host of other miscreants. Of course, the problem with being unwilling to admit errors is that you cannot correct those errors. And if you cannot correct your errors, you cannot right the ship. Which is why many Republicans are getting ready to jump ship. The Washington Post characterizes the relationship between Trump and his party as being at a "breaking point." The Party may not be able to throw Trump overboard without his consent, but it can certainly turn its collective back on him, as it did with Bob Dole in 1996 once it became clear that Dole's campaign was lost. This would certainly be the final nail in Trump's coffin, as he is wholly dependent on the Party for ground game, data collection, and get out the vote operations. He may not see the value in those things right now, but he will get a rapid education if he goes into November 8 without them. (Z)

Trump Spokeswoman Blames Obama for Afghanistan War

Last week, Trump campaign staffer Katrina Pierson blamed Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for the death of Capt. Humayun Khan, despite the fact that Khan died nearly five years before Obama moved into the White House. Today, she is at it again, blaming Obama for starting the war in Afghanistan, despite the fact that the conflict got underway in September of 2001 when George W. Bush was president and nearly eight years before Obama's term began. Of course, this statement comes on the heels of Pierson's boss insisting that Obama and Clinton "founded" ISIS, an event that actually took place in 1999, nearly 10 years before Obama.

These misstatements are really quite mystifying. It's easy enough to look up any of this information as needed; certainly we know that Trump & Co. have Internet access. Beyond that, however, is that one can easily make the same basic point with a bit of verbal gymnastics—it's just necessary to avoid being so specific. For example, "How can Hillary Clinton have the Khan family speak, when the blood of so many soldiers is on her hands?" or "Obama and Clinton turned the war in Afghanistan into a quagmire, like Vietnam" or "ISIS has thrived in the last eight years, thanks to Obama's disastrous foreign policy." These statements may or may not be fair, and they may or may not be correct, but they cannot be easily disproven with a two-second Google search. This sort of wordplay is Politics 101, as basic as knowing how to shake hands, kiss babies, or eat exotic ethnic foods. And it certainly doesn't take Albert Einstein to master this skill; quite a few politicians have been skilled practitioners without exactly being the sharpest knife in the drawer. So, we have to assume that Trump (and Pierson, etc.) are capable of doing it, and they just choose not to. But why would someone choose to open up themselves to derision from the media, voters, and politicians when they could easily be just as provocative without being so specific? Therein lies the mystery. (Z)

Millennial Voters Are Profoundly Unhappy with Their Choices

A long Washington Post article reporting on interviews with 70 millennials in nine states produces a picture of very unhappy people. They are asking why the country couldn't find any better candidates than Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, and have no enthusiasm for either one. More will ultimately vote for Clinton than for Trump, but with little eagerness, and certainly nothing like what millennials had for Obama in 2008. Very few think that either one will be able to govern. They have lost all hope that Washington will ever be able to help them. Few, if any, noted that the current gridlock in Washington was not imposed by aliens against the will of the American people. It was a deliberate (and reasonably successful) strategy of congressional Republicans to simply oppose everything Obama did, rather than trying to compromise with him to get some things they wanted and give him some things he wanted. Many see the entire election as a joke and may not vote at all. (V)

Some Top Democrats Want Clinton to Renominate Garland If She Wins

Some Democratic senators are suggesting that Hillary Clinton renominate Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court if she wins the election. The argument is that Republicans have already said he is very qualified and would have a tough time suddenly discovering that he is not qualified. Public opinion also strongly supports Garland. Also, and perhaps more important, she doesn't need a divisive Supreme Court fight and filibuster just as she is cranking up her administration.

On the other hand, supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) feel that Garland is too old (63) and too centrist. They would much prefer a younger and more liberal nominee, such as California Supreme Court Justice Goodwin Liu (45), who would also be the first Asian American on the Court. So far Clinton has given no indication who she would nominate if the seat is still open in January and she is elected. (V)

Democrats Think that the Path to Winning the House Runs through Republican Suburbs

While Democrats have a decent shot at winning back the Senate, few observers think that they can pick up the 30 seats needed to take back the House, although they are expected to make some gains. Nevertheless, the Democrats are trying hard, especially in wealthy, well-educated suburban districts. The difference with previous years is that in the past, well-educated suburbanites voted Republican. This year, a majority of them support Hillary Clinton, and if the Democrats can get them to vote a straight ticket, they could pick up quite a few seats.

A typical district that the Democrats are targeting is MN-02, south of Minneapolis. Rep. John Kline (R-MN) is retiring, leaving a swing district open. Democrat Angie Craig is going to try to hang Donald Trump around the neck of her opponent, radio personality Jason Lewis. The Democrats are also going after an adjacent district with well-educated suburban voters. Similar districts that are being targeted the same way are those of Rep. Bob Dold (R-IL) outside Chicago, Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) outside Denver, Rep. John Mica (R-FL) outside Orlando, and Rep. Steve Knight (R-CA) outside Los Angeles. If the House flips, it will be districts like this that will do it. (V)

Cheney Is Running for Congress

No, not that Cheney. The other one. His daughter, Liz Cheney. Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) is retiring at the end of this year and Liz Cheney is running for the seat her father occupied from 1979 to 1989. In July 2013 she announced a run for the Senate from Wyoming, but her campaign went nowhere and she withdrew in January 2014. This time she is well disciplined, well funded, and is the favorite. In her Senate run, she got into a public spat over same-sex marriage with her sister, Mary, who is a lesbian. Liz does not support same-sex marriage. So far that issue has not come up in the House race. The primary is Tuesday. (V)

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Aug13 Trump's ISIS Claim Was Sarcasm--Or Maybe Not
Aug13 Trump Threatens the RNC on Fundraising
Aug13 Trump Isn't Sure that Getting Out the Vote Is Important
Aug13 Trump: Clinton Can Only Win Pennsylvania by Cheating
Aug13 Clinton and Kaine Release More Tax Returns
Aug13 Trump Won't Reveal Bundlers' Names
Aug13 Republicans Question Trump's Travels
Aug13 The Internet is Eclipsing Television for Campaigning
Aug13 Half of GOP Insiders Think that Trump Has Already Lost
Aug13 GOP senators Are Walking on a Tightrope and Falling Off
Aug13 Hacker Releases House Democrats' Phone Numbers, E-mails
Aug12 Trump Doubles Down on Claim that Obama and Clinton Cofounded ISIS
Aug12 Clinton Rebuts Trump in Speech on Economics
Aug12 Has the Trump Campaign Reached the Breaking Point?
Aug12 Clinton and Kaine to Release More Tax Returns
Aug12 Wisconsin Plaintiffs File En Banc Petition in Voter-ID Case
Aug12 Wal-Mart Moms Are Split between Clinton and Trump
Aug12 Trump Lied Repeatedly Under Oath in a 2007 Deposition
Aug12 Pence Campaigning Hard--for President in 2020
Aug12 Reid Thinks Clinton Will Stick with Garland
Aug12 Defeat for Gerrymandering in North Carolina
Aug12 Wasserman Schultz Likely to Win Her Primary
Aug12 Trump Doubles Down on Claim that Obama and Clinton Cofounded ISIS
Aug12 Clinton Rebuts Trump in Speech on Economics
Aug12 Has the Trump Campaign Reached the Breaking Point?
Aug12 Clinton and Kaine to Release More Tax Returns
Aug12 Wisconsin Plaintiffs File En Banc Petition in Voter-ID Case
Aug12 Wal-Mart Moms Are Split between Clinton and Trump
Aug12 Trump Lied Repeatedly Under Oath in a 2007 Deposition
Aug12 Pence Campaigning Hard--for President in 2020
Aug12 Reid Thinks Clinton Will Stick with Garland
Aug12 Wasserman Schultz Likely to Win Her Primary
Aug11 Appeals Court Allows Wisconsin Voter ID Law to Go into Effect
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