Clinton 352
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Ties 6
Trump 180
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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 (79)
  • Exactly tied (6)
  • Barely GOP (31)
  • Likely GOP (27)
  • Strongly GOP (122)
270 Electoral votes needed to win This date in 2012 2008
New polls: FL GA NH
Dem pickups vs. 2012: AZ NC
GOP pickups vs. 2012: (None)
TODAY'S HEADLINES (click to jump there; use your browser's "Back" button to return here)
      •  RNC Might Abandon Trump
      •  What Will Happen To Trumpism After the Election?
      •  The RedState Gathering Was Not a Happy Meeting
      •  Gary Johnson, Serious Candidate
      •  Trump to Deliver Major Address on Terrorism
      •  Trump Adds Eight Women To His Economic Team
      •  Trump Borrows Another Anti-Semitic Image
      •  Mike Pence Has to Dance, Dance, Dance
      •  Today's Presidential Polls

RNC Might Abandon Trump

On Friday, the RNC pooh-bahs had a meeting in Orlando with officials from Donald Trump's campaign. No reporters were present and no details have leaked. Nevertheless, in an interview yesterday, the RNC's top strategist, Sean Spicer, told reporters what the current state of affairs is. According to several of them, Spicer spent a lot of time detailing all the people and resources the RNC has deployed in the swing states on behalf of the Republican Party and its candidates. He talked about the infrastructure and the database, which he said rivals what Obama had in 2012.

While he didn't say it in so many words, the implication was that Donald Trump is an ingrate. The Party has been working its tail off for him and he doesn't even care. There was also an implicit warning: "If Trump doesn't shape up soon and act like a normal candidate and stop insulting everybody and his uncle, we could pull all of our resources off his campaign and divert them to Senate and House races." For example, Minnesota is a lost cause statewide, but there are a couple of close House races there. The RNC could pull people out of Iowa, where there aren't any close House or Senate races, and redeploy them to Minnesota. This might cost Trump Iowa, but if it saved one or two House seats, the RNC would consider that worthwhile. Basically, this strategy would mean the RNC is conceding that Hillary Clinton will win and the Party's strategy is to keep control of Congress to block her at every turn.

Such a strategy applies not only to people, but also to messages to donors. The RNC could tell donors to donate to the NRSC or NRCC to help Republican Senate and House candidates, respectively. They would then be assured their money wasn't being wasted on Trump. Of course, if the RNC did this, Trump would find out quickly and there would be civil war inside the tent, but if Trump doesn't shape up pretty fast, the RNC might be willing to go that route and let the devil take the hindmost. (V)

What Will Happen To Trumpism After the Election?

As Yogi Berra once said: "It ain't over 'til its over," but it doesn't look good for Trump now. We have 231 electoral votes in the "Strongly Dem" category (see legend to the right of the map) and 42 in the "Likely Dem" category, for a total of 273. Clinton could lose all the states in the map with a white center and still win the election. If the RNC pulls all of its resources out of the Trump campaign (see above), Clinton will probably win most of the "Barely Dem" states and maybe some of the "Barely GOP" states, yielding a landslide. So it makes some sense to start thinking abut what happens to "Trumpism" in the event of a (crushing) defeat for Trump.

Noah Millman has an interesting piece in The Week about this. One possibility is that the GOP adopts a kinder, gentler form of Trumpism. This would consist of a focus on blue-collar workers' issues, such as revoking trade agreements, barring immigrants, not being the world's policeman, keeping Social Security and Medicare intact, and maybe even raising taxes on the rich, but toning down the racism and sexism. This would turn the Republicans into the party of FDR, leaving the Democrats as the party of the coastal elites and the minorities, two groups that don't really fit together well because their interests are quite different. The strategy could well work and could propel a Republican into the White House in 2020.

The trouble with this approach is that the big donors would hate it and so would the military, and neither would be shy about telling the Republican leaders. An alternative approach would be to grab the Etch-A-Sketch, turn it upside down, and shake hard. Basically just pretend that 2016 didn't happen and go back to being the 2012 party of Mitt Romney. The trouble here is that the angry blue-collar workers who vigorously supported Trump would feel that they had been deceived by the Republican leadership once again, and they would not take this lying down. A new Trump would surely arise in 2020 to fight Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN), Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), and probably 20 or 30 other Republicans in the primaries, possibly with similar results to this year. So what should the Republicans do in the event of a Clinton victory? How about another autopsy report, as in 2013? Of course, it will be ignored in 2020. As Yogi said: "It's deja vu all over again." (V)

The RedState Gathering Was Not a Happy Meeting

The RedState Gathering is an annual meeting of movement conservatives, held last weekend in Denver. It is the conservatives' answer to Daily Kos' Netroots Nation. The whole weekend was decidedly downbeat. Most of the conservatives in attendance hate Donald Trump almost as much as they hate Hillary Clinton, which is to say, a whole bunch. The big question that hung in the air was what should conservatives do now? Should they take one for the team and support Trump and forever be tainted with "You supported Trump," or should they work for Gary Johnson, or should they sit this one out? It is likely that many of them will start focusing on 2020 and how to take the White House back from either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, both being unacceptable to most of them. (V)

Gary Johnson, Serious Candidate

Former two-term New Mexico governor Gary Johnson ran for president on the Libertarian ticket in 2012. No one noticed. This time, however, a lot of people are noticing. Politico even has a piece on him today. What is different this time is that large numbers of Republicans are so disgusted with their own party's nominee that they might be willing to vote for a third party candidate, especially one who was twice elected governor of a state (New Mexico) as a Republican.

Libertarians are really what Republicans would be if they were consistent with their small government philosophy. For example, on abortion, Libertarians say if a woman wants to have an abortion, it is up to the woman and none of the government's business. On privacy, they believe in the Fourth Amendment, and say the NSA has no business spying on everyone. On marriage and sexual preferences, consenting adults can do whatever they want to in private; it is none of the government's business. You want to smoke dope? Your business, not the government's.

They are also pro free market without government interference. The don't think the government should support one form of energy (e.g., solar) above another (e.g., coal); the market should decide that. They don't believe in minimum-wage laws—if a company offers $4/hr and someone accepts the job, it is not the government's job to say that they can't do this. They are against Social Security because it is the individual's responsibility to plan for his or her retirement. They support unfettered free trade. On health care, it is up to individuals to determine what kind of health care they want without government meddling, so goodbye to the ACA, Medicare, and Medicaid. On education, it should be up to the free market, not the government, to determine what kinds of schools there should be and what they should teach, so parents have maximum choice. In short, on social issues, they are kind of with the Democrats but on economic issues they are strongly Republican. Here is the entire platform. Also going for Johnson is that his Veep, Bill Weld, is a former two-term Republican governor of Massachusetts. For moderate Republicans who aren't obsessed with controlling everyone's sexuality, Johnson is a plausible choice.

Johnson isn't going to win except in one unlikely scenario: He wins a state or two in a close election and neither Clinton nor Trump gets to 270 electoral votes. Then the House picks the president, with each state getting one vote. It is conceivable that the House Republicans could decide that Johnson, who has been a registered Republican most of his life and is completely sane, looks better to them than Trump, who has been a registered Democrat most of his life and whose sanity is in question. That possibility aside, Johnson's presence on the ballot in all the states could flip a few states (e.g., Utah) from red to blue and thus affect the election.

Johnson's potential effect is not going unnoticed. He has been on Meet the Press, Anderson Cooper 360, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and other widely watched television programs. In general, Johnson is an upbeat guy and a free spirit (he used to be CEO of a marijuana company) who projects warmth and a sense of humor, something Clinton and Trump are sorely lacking. He wears sneakers most of the time and doesn't take himself too seriously. In terms of style and authenticity, he could attract some of the supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)—as long as they don't read his platform and see his views on the economy, which they would abhor. Still, if he gets to 15% in the polls, Hofstra University may need a third podium for the first presidential debate on Sept. 26 and then all bets are off. (V)

Trump to Deliver Major Address on Terrorism

Today, Donald Trump will present his plans for combating ISIS and radical Islamic terrorism. Of course, a central feature of the plan will be banning certain people entry to the U.S., though Trump is not expected to clarify exactly what countries would be involved, or precisely what the criteria would be. He is also expected to reject the notion of nation-building in the Middle East, and to offer some pointed critiques of President Obama.

Needless to say, any plan that involves banning people will not please Democrats (or many independents). So, Trump's audience for the speech is going to be the Republicans, who are growing disheartened by his campaign. Will they like what they hear? Certainly, criticism of Obama will play well, but much of the rest may not. Really, the speech seems to be a repackaging of everything that has already been said, with few additional specifics or new proposals. If so, it's hard to see how it will move the needle much. (Z)

Trump Adds Eight Women To His Economic Team

Donald Trump was apparently surprised and stung that his economic team was characterized by the Democrats as half a dozen billionaires named Steve. To rectify that, he added nine more people, eight of them women. Nearly all are wealthy business people or investors. Few are economists or academics. All of them have experience making money, but not making policy. Now Clinton is going to drop the "six guys named Steve" line and focus on the fact that all are wealthy and want policies that help the wealthy. Economic policy is one of the few issues in which Trump polls better than Clinton, but she is going to hit him hard on the fact that his team consists almost entirely of rich CEOs and entrepreneurs who know little about the economic challenges of single mothers in Colorado or unemployed black people in Ohio. He will respond by saying these people have all created thousands of jobs. (V)

Trump Borrows Another Anti-Semitic Image

Donald Trump has taken to using visual aids at his rallies. Among them is a poster he likes to hold up that purports to show which countries (all of them Middle Eastern) fund the Clinton Foundation. BuzzFeed News reporter Nathaniel Meyersohn noticed a bit of a problem, however. The image began life on the conspiracy site Before It's News, which has heavily racist and anti-Semitic overtones. It was first posted to Twitter by noted Trump fan and former Klansman David Duke. And it originally made prominent use of the Star of David (which was Photoshopped out before Trump's poster was made).

Trump is in the middle of a days-long rant against the media, so he and his campaign are not answering questions about the image. However, the sequence is all-but-identical to the last time this happened: image begins on anti-Semitic website, is borrowed by Trump, and is Photoshopped to remove the Star of David. On that occasion, precisely what happened, and how, was never explained. If no explanation is proffered this time, then we are left to draw our own conclusions. The best-case scenario is that Trump just happens to share a lot of ideas with racists and bigots, which is not good. The other possibility is that he or his staff are regularly frequenting white supremacist websites and Twitter feeds, which is worse. Whatever the case may be, it's time for them to learn that the source of materials gotten from the Internet will be discovered, regardless of how much Photoshopping is done. (Z)

Mike Pence Has to Dance, Dance, Dance

As we and others have noted, Mike Pence is running for two offices right now. The first is Vice President of the United States, beginning on January 20, 2017. The other, and the one he really cares about, is President of the United States, beginning on January 20, 2021. As he tries to juggle the two goals, which are often at odds with one another, he has to tap dance a very fine line. On one hand, he doesn't want to alienate his current boss, who could still kick Pence off the ticket (as happened with Thomas Eagleton in 1972, and almost happened with Richard Nixon in 1952). On the other hand, he doesn't want to leave this election permanently tainted by association with The Donald.

Pence's tap dancing skills were on full display yesterday, as he appeared on Fox News Sunday. He was asked whether or not Trump was actually serious when he claimed that Barack Obama "founded ISIS." Pence's carefully-worded answer:

I think he was being very serious. He was making a point that needs to be made, that there is no question that the failed policies of President Barack Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in the wider Middle East, created a vacuum within Iraq in which ISIS was able to arise.

In other words, Trump was serious, but he wasn't serious.

In the end, Pence is on a fool's errand. If Trump goes down in flames, there is simply no way the Governor avoids massive collateral damage. The list of people who failed in vice-presidential bids and then came back to win the presidency is very short: Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Meanwhile, given the rapid progress of acceptance for marriage equality, Pence's anti-gay stances are going to make him unelectable in 2020 anyhow. Ergo, he might as well go all in on the Veep bid, and embrace the Trumpsanity. (Z)

Today's Presidential Polls

Georgia has been red for five straight elections, and went for Mitt Romney by 8 points in 2012. However, the evidence is mounting that it's moving into swing state territory. Hillary Clinton certainly thinks so; she's expanding her campaign staff in the state. It's inconceivable that Clinton could win Georgia and lose Virginia/North Carolina, and it's nearly inconceivable that Clinton could win Virginia/North Carolina and lose the presidency. In other words, Georgia is not going to be decisive; Clinton doesn't need the Peach State, she just wants it. So, the maneuver tells us she's now gunning for a landslide. Meanwhile, polling results from Georgia and South Carolina this year suggest that the entire Southeastern seaboard (VA, NC, SC, GA, FL) is becoming purple. If so, that is very bad for the GOP. (Z)

State Clinton Trump Johnson Start End Pollster
Florida 45% 40% 5% Aug 10 Aug 12 YouGov
Georgia 41% 45% 5% Aug 10 Aug 12 YouGov
New Hampshire 45% 36%   Aug 10 Aug 12 YouGov

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Aug14 Trump Is Soliciting Election Observers To Prevent Cheating
Aug14 Can Donald Trump Be Saved from Donald Trump?
Aug14 Pointing the Finger Here, There, and Everywhere
Aug14 Trump Spokeswoman Blames Obama for Afghanistan War
Aug14 Millennial Voters Are Profoundly Unhappy with Their Choices
Aug14 Some Top Democrats Want Clinton to Renominate Garland If She Wins
Aug14 Democrats Think that the Path to Winning the House Runs through Republican Suburbs
Aug14 Cheney Is Running for Congress
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