• Five Takeaways from Trump's Choice of Bannon as Campaign CEO
• Trump Is Finally on the Air
• Trump Will Debate, Says Conway
• Why is Trump Ignoring the Olympics?
• Trump Spokeswoman Is at it Again
• And Bad Mistakes, I've Made A Few, Says Trump
• Kaine Went To Wyoming
• Clinton Foundation Will Decline Foreign Donations
• The Donald Has No Clothes
• Today's Presidential Polls
• Today's Senate Polls
Donald Trump's whole campaign is based on winning white men—angry white men. Now, two national polls show that maybe he has gone too far, even for them. An NBC/WSJ poll puts Hillary Clinton ahead of Trump with all men 43% to 42%. A Bloomberg poll puts Trump ahead, but only by single digits. Mitt Romney carried men by 27 points. If Trump's margin with men is only a few points, he will do far worse than Romney, since Trump is in big trouble with every other demographic, especially women, minorities, and young people. A big part of Trump's problem is that college-educated men favored Romney in 2012, but this year they favor Clinton. While Trump is winning more blue-collar men and evangelical men, that is not enough to offset his losses among college graduates. Simulations show that even if he gets 99% of the white male non-college vote, Trump would still lose. (V)
Donald Trump's choice of Stephen Bannon as campaign CEO is being perceived as a full-bore attack on both the Republican Party and the media. If Trump wanted to shake things up, he certainly accomplished it. Whether it was a good idea, well, only time will tell. The Hill has compiled a list of five things to take away from Bannon's appointment:
Trump wants to control the narrative. Whenever the media attack him, which is happening with increasing frequency, Trump gets furious. He wants to control how he is viewed and what the story of the day is. It is possible that by hiring Bannon (and possibly Roger Ailes), he wants them to control the news more. For example, they could dig up—or concoct—negative stories about Hillary Clinton that make the focus more about how awful she is. Since Bannon has a long history of ignoring reality, the possibilities are legion.
Trump is alone at the wheel. He listens to no one, not even his beloved daughter Ivanka or her husband, Jared Kushner, whom he respects and who has worked tirelessly for his campaign. They would never have approved of Bannon, but either they weren't asked or they were overruled.
There will be no pivot. What you see is what you get. Nobody is going to be shaking any Etch-A-Sketches. The Donald that ran in the primaries is the Donald that is running in the general election. He is doubling down on banning immigrants, building a wall, and all the rest, and hoping there are enough angry white men to carry him over the finish line (but see above).
Republican members of Congress are very nervous. Trump's relationship with Congress was bad before Bannon was hired, but it is going to get a lot worse now. Bannon has made a career out of attacking Republican leaders, and they don't like that very much. Could they do anything? In the immortal words of Sarah Palin: "You betcha." The RNC could just cut him off and announce that all of its money and resources are going into Senate and House races. The RNC could announce its new slogan: "We need to keep control of Congress to block President Clinton's far left-wing agenda."
Immigration and terrorism could become the main focus of the campaign. Democrats claim that Trump is not campaigning on the issues. That could change as Trump just harps on immigration and terrorists and the connection between the two, day and night.
Needless to say, hiring Bannon and declaring war on both the Republican Party and the mainstream media is a risky strategy and neither of them is likely to take this lying down. (V)
Hillary Clinton has been saturating the airwaves in the swing states for months and, as of yesterday, Donald Trump had run zero ads. Now, however, he is gearing up. Today, his first ads will appear in Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania and run through August 29. The budget for this batch of ads is $3.5 million. Trump trails in all those states, so this is his first attempt to catch up. (V)
Kellyanne Conway, who is managing Donald Trump's campaign alongside Stephen Bannon, was on MSNBC on Thursday and was asked about the presidential debates. Thus far, her boss has hemmed and hawed about participating, raising potential objections in what seemed an effort to create a plausible excuse for not showing up. Conway was unequivocal that Trump would show up to all three debates, however, saying, "Record ratings, right Chris? I think we'll all be very excited for those debates."
This is far and away the strongest commitment to come from the Trump camp, but we probably can't pencil him in quite yet. First of all, at the rate that Trump goes through campaign staff, Conway and Bannon—who are undoubtedly behind this newfound commitment to debating—could be long gone by the time the first debate rolls around on September 26. Second, it would still be very easy for Trump to say, "I was absolutely going to debate, but then the commission chose that biased crooked liberal Martha Raddatz to moderate." Third, and finally, Trump's "to debate or not to debate" decision really comes down to damage management. Does he want to accept the moderate damage that would come with dropping out and being called a coward? Or does he want to roll the dice and embrace his last real chance at a game changer, knowing that he could do extensive or irreparable damage if he screws up badly? This seems very much like the kind of thing he could go back and forth on for the next five weeks, as he (reportedly) did with the Veep slot. So, let's wait and see what Trump is saying on, say, September 20, before we start stocking up on popcorn. (Z)
Donald Trump is known to be a big sports fan. And the Olympics are not only one of the biggest sporting events on the calendar, they are a sporting event awash in patriotism, and showmanship, and winning. The Donald loves all of these things, so one would presume that he would be a mega-fan. But while Hillary Clinton has regularly made reference to the Games and to the U.S. team, Trump has been almost completely silent, including on his vaunted Twitter feed. What gives?
Politico's Alex Goldstein has thought about it, and has proposed an interesting answer to the question: The Olympics represent a repudiation of Trumpism. First of all, they are a model of American diversity, from hijab-wearing Muslim fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad to Mexican-American boxer Carlos Balderas. Second, with the U.S. dominating in the medal count, they suggest that America is great (note tense). "It turns out that the most effective counter to the Trump spectacle isn't another Pinocchio award bestowed by the 'liberal media,' or the Democratic efforts to persuade Americans that their country is already great," concludes Goldstein. "Instead, it's an even bigger spectacle—one that is definitively not going Trump's way." Now, if the Democrats could just get the IOC to move the Winter Olympics from January of 2018 to October of this year, then they'd really have something. (Z)
Donald Trump manages to garner a lot of the wrong kind of headlines with the things he says. Not far behind him in that regard is his spokeswoman Katrina Pierson, who seems to step in it on a near-daily basis. The latest is her assertion, apparently cribbed from Fox News, that Hillary Clinton suffers dysphasia, a rare brain disorder characterized by an inability to use or understand language. Pierson reached her "diagnosis" without benefit of either the battery of tests needed to diagnose dysphasia, nor a medical degree of any sort. Why not go whole hog and say she has terminal cancer?
Pierson, of course, is indulging in a line of attack that's become popular with Trump and his supporters, namely that Clinton's health is not good enough for her to be president. It will be interesting to see, however, how Pierson fares under the new Trump regime. There's no doubt that she gets a lot of screen time as a talking head, invited on all manner of shows to make outrageous and provocative statements. But it is abundantly clear in these appearances that the hosts don't take her seriously, and that she's being used as, for lack of a better phrase, a sideshow attraction. Quite often, the MSNBC and CNN and even Fox News journalists who interview her can barely hide their smirks as she weaves her latest tapestry of spin. And therein lies the crux of the matter: Stephen Bannon certainly has no problems with being provocative or sensationalistic, but it is not comfortable to be the butt of jokes. So we shall have to see if Pierson's TV appearances change noticeably, or if they fade away entirely. (Z)
When Donald Trump first appeared at the Republican National Convention this year, he did so with Queen's "We Are the Champions" as his backdrop. Apparently, he was listening carefully to the first verse, because on Thursday he acknowledged that he had said "the wrong thing" several times during this campaign season, and that he has some regrets. His exact words:
Sometimes, in the heat of debate and speaking on a multitude of issues, you don't choose the right words or you say the wrong thing. I have done that. And believe it or not, I regret it. And I do regret it, particularly where it may have caused personal pain. Too much is at stake for us to be consumed with these issues. But one thing I can promise you, is this: I will always tell you the truth.
It's a remarkable and very compelling statement for him to make. And if this concession represents a new approach for Trump in terms of message and tone, two things will be true: (1) It will be the most dramatic shifting of gears by a presidential candidate in American history, and (2) Stephen Bannon will be hailed as a political miracle worker, on par with Karl Rove or James Carville or Mark Hanna. Still, we'll reserve judgment until he goes, say, three days in a row without managing to spark a new commotion. (Z)
Democratic vice-presidential candidate Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) went to Wyoming yesterday. No, he didn't go to congratulate Liz Cheney on her primary victory on Tuesday, and neither he nor Hillary Clinton has any visions of picking up Wyoming's three electoral votes. Kaine is going to Jackson and Sun Valley to raise money because those are the places where rich people, including rich Democrats, often vacation in the summer. Kaine's travel is also part of a broader strategy to expand the map into red states. In some cases, like Georgia, Arizona, and Utah, there is a actually a small chance the states could turn blue this year. And in those and other red states, the Democrats' new-found interest may force Trump to invest resources defending states that should not need to be defended. In fact, Trump just opened an office in Georgia, which looks much closer than usual this year.
Kaine isn't spending all his time in hopeless states to scare Trump, of course. Next on his itinerary are fund-raising stops in Seattle, Portland, the Bay Area, LA, San Diego, and Denver, all of which are full of well-off Democrats who are probably willing to contribute if someone just asks. (V)
One of Hillary Clinton's Achilles' Heels (she has more of those than she does actual heels) is the Clinton Foundation. Inasmuch as the Foundation accepts donations from foreign businesses and governments, the Foundation opens up a very plausible path to corruption, potentially allowing for the purchase of favors in the guise of a charitable donation. It was a problem while Clinton was at State, and it would be an even bigger problem if she were to become president, so much so that leaders on both sides of the aisle have called for the Foundation to close its doors if she wins the election.
On Thursday, we learned that the Clintons will not go that far, but that they will stop accepting foreign donations if Hillary moves into the White House. Their reluctance is understandable, since there is every indication that they truly believe in the work that the Foundation is doing. Halting foreign donations seems a reasonable compromise that keeps the organization running while heading off the potential for corruption. And the odds that this reasonable compromise will put the issue to rest? About zero, of course. (Z)
The line "The emperor has no clothes" (which refers to a Hans Christian Andersen story) has been updated for 2016. Now it is: "The Donald has no clothes." Statues of a naked Donald Trump have popped up in a number of cities. They were erected by the anarchist collective Indecline, which calls the project "The Emperor Has No Balls." The sculptor goes by the name of "Ginger" and claims to have extensive experience creating monsters for horror films. Here is one of them:
You didn't expect us to put up the complete, uncropped photo did you? But if you absolutely must see it, here is the link. If you want to see one in person, however, you had best hurry because the statues may not last. The one in New York City's Union Square Park has already been taken down. Sam Biederman, the Assistant Commissioner for Communications, NYC Parks, explained the decision thusly: "NYC Parks stands firmly against any unpermitted erection in city parks, no matter how small." (V & Z)
We have three polls in close states today. Nevada was always expected to be close, but Georgia and Missouri were expected to be easy wins for the Republicans. Maybe not this year. (V)
|Georgia||43%||43%||11%||Aug 17||Aug 17||Opinion Savvy|
|Missouri||42%||45%||Aug 08||Aug 09||PPP|
|Nevada||44%||42%||5%||Aug 15||Aug 17||Suffolk U.|
The Colorado Senate race was supposed to be close. It's over and Sen. Michael Bennet gets another term. This means that the only Democratic Senate seat in play is in Nevada. There is also good news for Republicans today. The Iowa Senate race was expected to be close but Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who has been in the Senate forever, will continue to be in the Senate forever. As well as being a Senate powerhouse, he is famous for constitutent service and makes a point of visiting all of Iowa's 99 counties every year, where he gives speeches, talks to businesses, visits schools, and so on. (V)
|State||Democrat||D %||Republican||R %||Start||End||Pollster|
|Colorado||Michael Bennet*||54%||Darryl Glenn||38%||Aug 09||Aug 16||Quinnipiac U.|
|Iowa||Patty Judge||42%||Chuck Grassley*||51%||Aug 09||Aug 16||Quinnipiac U.|
|Nevada||Catherine Cortez-Masto||37%||Joe Heck||37%||Aug 15||Aug 17||Suffolk U.|
|New York||Chuck Schumer*||63%||Wendy Long||24%||Aug 07||Aug 10||Siena Coll.|
|Washington||Patty Murray*||52%||Chris Vance||34%||Aug 09||Aug 13||Elway Poll|
* Denotes incumbent
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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Aug18 GOP Scared Witless by Bannon
Aug18 Does Trump Want to Win?
Aug18 Trump's Casinos Owed $30 Million in Taxes, but Christie Forgave Most of It
Aug18 Would Cutting Trump Loose Help Republicans Downballot?
Aug18 Could the House Be in Play?
Aug18 Election Turnout in the U.S. Is Among the Worst in the World
Aug18 Green Party's Baraka Has Some...Unorthodox Opinions
Aug17 Major Shakeup for Trump's Campaign Staff
Aug17 Who Will Moderate the Debates?
Aug17 Roger Ailes May Help Trump Prepare for the Debates
Aug17 Clinton Is Already Prepping for the Debates
Aug17 Clinton Is Not Counting on Winning Blue-Collar White Men
Aug17 Trump Deposition Video Could Be Made Public
Aug17 Why Have the Media Taken Off the Gloves When Reporting about Trump?
Aug17 Cheney Wins Republican Primary in Wyoming
Aug17 How the Tea Party Movement Was Murdered
Aug17 Stein's Shaky Science
Aug17 McLaughlin Dies at 89
Aug16 Trump Reveals Anti-terrorism Plan
Aug16 Trump Speech Fails to Impress
Aug16 Rudy Giuliani Has a Bad Day
Aug16 Trump Has To Turn His Campaign Around, and Fast
Aug16 Wall Street Journal Gives Trump Until Labor Day To Fix Things
Aug16 Manafort May Have Been Paid $13 Million by Former Ukrainian President
Aug16 What Will it Take For Johnson, Stein to Join Debates?
Aug16 McMullin Gets on Utah Ballot
Aug16 Priebus May Be Back for More
Aug15 RNC Might Abandon Trump
Aug15 What Will Happen To Trumpism After the Election?
Aug15 The RedState Gathering Was Not a Happy Meeting
Aug15 Gary Johnson, Serious Candidate
Aug15 Trump to Deliver Major Address on Terrorism
Aug15 Trump Adds Eight Women To His Economic Team
Aug15 Trump Borrows Another Anti-Semitic Image
Aug15 Mike Pence Has to Dance, Dance, Dance
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