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Ties 29
Trump 221
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Dem 48
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GOP 52
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TODAY'S HEADLINES (click to jump there; use your browser's "Back" button to return here)
      •  Democratic Convention, Day 1: Hillary Can Sleep Well Tonight
      •  Trump Gets a Big Bounce
      •  FBI Investigating DNC Email Hack
      •  DNC Vice Chair Apologizes to Sanders
      •  Sanders Can't Control His Supporters
      •  Bill Clinton Will Campaign in Utah
      •  Clinton Hires Wasserman Schultz
      •  Big Money Didn't Do So Well This Year
      •  Today's Presidential Polls
      •  Today's Senate Polls

Democratic Convention, Day 1: Hillary Can Sleep Well Tonight

Hillary Clinton had to be nervous when the Democratic Convention was gaveled to order Monday afternoon, as there was potential for all kinds of trouble. As it turns out, however, all's well that ends well in Philadelphia:

  • At the outset, there were tensions between the Clinton supporters and the Sandersnistas. Every time Clinton's name was mentioned in the early going, the boos rained down. Later, comedian Sarah Silverman and comedian-turned-Senator Al Franken (D-MN) took the stage, with Silverman (a former high-profile Sanders supporter) declaring that, "Hillary is our Democratic nominee, and I will proudly vote for her." That got a great round of applause, but as it died down, Silverman heard a smattering of boos. This prompted her to declare, "To the Bernie-or-Bust people, you are being ridiculous!" That was not well received, to say the least.

  • Thereafter, however, the boos largely died down as the Democrats paraded out a series of A-list performers (Demi Lovato, Paul Simon) and speakers. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), who is regarded as a possible presidential candidate in 2020 or 2024, took his turn. And Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), hero of the progressive wing of the Party, took hers. Neither address was particularly strong; Booker shouted too much, and Warren's style works better in smaller settings. Still, they kept the crowd engaged, and not booing.

  • The most important speeches of the night were from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and First Lady Michelle Obama and, to Clinton's great relief (surely), they were both home runs. Sanders summoned up some real passion as he explained that while he was as disappointed as anybody in the results of the process, "Hillary Clinton must become the next President of the United States." He warned, in particular, of the havoc that a President Trump would wreak on the Supreme Court, and "what that would mean to civil liberties, equal rights, and the future of our country." Both lines drew huge cheers from the crowd.

  • Obama's speech, meanwhile, was almost universally lauded as the finest political speech we've seen in 2016. She must be a reader of this blog, because she took our advice and went positive, telling the crowd: "Don't let anyone tell you that this country isn't great. This right now is the greatest country on Earth." She also spoke of how important it was for the Democratic Party to rally around its nominee and break the final glass ceiling. The L.A. Times called it "stunning," The Atlantic described it as a "speech for the ages," and even right-wing pundit Buck Sexton conceded it was "the most memorable and effective speech of the night." Perhaps most impressively, Donald Trump—who was live-tweeting the convention—had absolutely nothing to say about the First Lady. If you missed it, CNN has it here. Or you can just wait for the 2024 Republican Convention.

  • The narrative for Monday, then, is that the Democrats started off in a bad position (DNC email-gate) and managed to right the ship. Politico's headline, for example, was "Democrats pull convention back from the brink" while The Hill's was "Dems flirt with disaster on convention's first day." This may well be correct, but let's look at it in a different way: Maybe the DNC email scandal wasn't as bad as it seems. First of all, it gave intrigue to the convention, which gets people to tune in. Second, it allowed a "unity" narrative to supplant what might well have been a "Democrats are kinda boring" narrative. And third, as a bonus, the scandal has now resulted (tentatively) in Donald Trump's being tied to Vladimir Putin, which surely won't help him with voters. Point is, Hillary Clinton may actually end up better off for having had the scandal. It's not supposed to work that way, but then again, her husband's approval ratings actually went up after he was impeached. Politics is a strange game.

Speaking of Bill Clinton, he'll be the star attraction on Tuesday. Will he give us one last high-profile display of his legendary political skill? Or are his best days behind him? We shall soon find out. (Z)

Trump Gets a Big Bounce

In the CBS poll, Donald Trump got only a 2% convention bounce, but in the new CNN/ORC poll the bounce is 6 points, propelling Trump into the lead nationally, 48% to 45%. The poll also shows that the country is engaged in class warfare. Trump expanded his lead with white working-class voters from a 20% margin to an astonishing 39% margin. Among college-educated voters, Clinton actually gained a little ground and now has a 5-point edge. The poll also showed that Ted Cruz's speech may have backfired. Before the convention, 60% of Republican voters had a favorable impression of him; now that is down to 33%.

The crosstabs of the poll reveal more of the class war. One of the questions was:

Regardless of how you plan to vote, do you think Trump's speech reflected the way you, personally, feel about things in the United States today or not?

About 45% said his "midnight in America" speech reflected how they felt and 48% said it did not. But the breakdown is telling. Whites felt his speech reflected their feelings by 52% to 41%. Non-college whites said it reflected their feelings 60% to 34% White evangelicals felt things were awful by a margin of 73% to 22%. But white college graduates felt that his speech did not reflect how they felt, by a margin of 53% to 39%. So once again we see a real split between college graduates, who think things are pretty good, and working-class whites and evangelicals, who think things are pretty bad, but for different reasons. The working-class whites are worried about jobs and the economy, whereas the evangelicals see that they are losing ground on abortion and same-sex marriage. The poll strongly suggests Clinton needs to make a very strong pitch to college-educated voters to move them permanently from the Republican column to the Democratic column. Maybe she could give a speech in Latin (read from a teleprompter, of course). (V)

FBI Investigating DNC Email Hack

It seems that the FBI spends all its time studying emails. First it was Hillary's, now it is the DNC's. The FBI is concerned that the hacking and timing of the release suggests that a foreign government is trying to influence a U.S. election. Evidence the FBI already has points to groups that have been known to do hacking for the Russian government in the past, which would be disconcerting. The FBI believes the hackers may have been inside the DNC system for a year and no doubt have a lot more data, which could be released as an October surprise, just before the election, in order to get Trump elected. (V)

DNC Vice Chair Apologizes to Sanders

Donna Brazile, who will take over as interim DNC chair later this week, apologized to Bernie Sanders for the "salacious, very mean spirited emails" in the WikiLeaks dump. She also said that some of the leaked emails had been tampered with. This raises even more issues, if the emails that were released were edited to make them even more damaging than they were. She also said that the process was not rigged. (V)

Sanders Can't Control His Supporters

Bernie Sanders spoke to his supporters in Philadelphia on Monday and, while he talked about the revolution he wanted, how many votes he got, and how much they had helped him, they all cheered. But when he got to the part of the story about how they had to unite the Democratic Party in order to defeat Donald Trump, the cheers turned into boos. The supporters want their revolution right now and are not interested in delaying it just to win an election. Sanders was at a loss. Although both he and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) are on Clinton's bandwagon now, a substantial number of his supporters are not going along for the ride. If Trump narrowly wins, a lot of Democrats are going to blame them, and they will absolutely reject any blame. Welcome to 2000 all over again.

Sanders wasn't the only person unable to control a crowd yesterday. When Debbie Wasserman Schultz tried speaking to the Florida delegation, many of them jeered and booed her. She tried to talk about the election and the need for Clinton to beat Trump in Florida, but to little avail. Only after she left the room and Cory Booker took the stage did the crowd quiet down. (V)

Bill Clinton Will Campaign in Utah

As a sign that Democrats think that Utah is in play, Bill Clinton is scheduled to campaign in the Beehive State on August 11. Utah is one of the reddest states in the nation, having gone for the Republican candidate in 12 straight presidential elections (and 15 of the last 16). But this year could be different on account of the largely Mormon population's aversion to Donald Trump, a foul-mouthed, twice-divorced casino owner who persecutes people based on their religion, something Mormons know all about. At the very least, Trump will have to devote some effort to saving a state that should be an easy hold. (V)

Clinton Hires Wasserman Schultz

Sometimes it seems that the normally ultra-cautious Hillary Clinton is completely tone deaf. After Debbie Wasserman Schultz was forced to resign her position as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee for taking sides in the primary, Hillary Clinton immediately hired her as honorary chair of Clinton's 50-state program. Even if that job has no duties and doesn't pay anything, the optics are terrible. The Bernie-or-bust people are furious with Wasserman Schultz and might have calmed down with her forced departure, but Clinton's hiring her brings back all the fury—just when Clinton wants to run a peaceful convention without a lot of fighting. This was a completely unforced error. (V)

Big Money Didn't Do So Well This Year

Buying a nomination is not quite the sinecure it used to be. A lot of big money donors are scratching their heads now and wondering: What happened? Jeb Bush raised $100 million for his primary campaign and it did him no good at all. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) raised tens of millions of dollars, much of it from billionaires, but he didn't make it either. Hillary Clinton had both large and small donors, but she was matched financially by Bernie Sanders, who raised money in small donations averaging $27 each. Most amazing of all, Donald Trump hardly spent any money and won the Republican nomination without much difficulty.

As we enter the general-election phase, we are in uncharted territory. Hillary Clinton is following the old playbook and will try to raise and spend $1 billion. Donald Trump doesn't seem terribly interested in raising or spending money. Whether the primary scenario will play out the same way in the general election remains to be seen, though. (V)

Today's Presidential Polls

The post-convention bounce plus Rasmussen's house effect seem to have given us an unexpectedly uneven result in swing-state Nevada. Believe it once there are four or five more polls showing the same thing. (Z)

State Clinton Trump Johnson Start End Pollster
Nevada 38% 43%   Jul 22 Jul 24 Rasmussen
Ohio 39% 42% 06% Jul 22 Jul 24 PPP

Today's Senate Polls

Again, it seems unlikely that the Nevada senate race is truly that lopsided. (Z)

State Democrat D % Republican R % Start End Pollster
Nevada Catherine Cortez-Masto 37% Joe Heck 46% Jul 22 Jul 24 Rasmussen
Ohio Ted Strickland 38% Rob Portman* 43% Jul 22 Jul 24 PPP

* Denotes incumbent

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Jul25 Daily Tracking Starts Today
Jul25 Democrats Are As Divided as Republicans as Convention Opens
Jul25 Bloomberg to Endorse Clinton at Convention
Jul25 Debbie Wasserman Schultz Will Resign This Week
Jul25 How Clinton and Kaine Match Up on Key Issues
Jul25 Kaine's Background Is Just Getting Better Known
Jul25 Pence Complicates Trump's Pitch to Union Members
Jul25 Trump Gets Small Bounce from Convention
Jul25 Trump Releases a Very Trump-like Ad
Jul25 Gore Will Skip DNC
Jul24 Clinton Formally Introduces Kaine as Her Running Mate
Jul24 Kaine Is a Media-Savvy Micromanager
Jul24 Kaine Could Be a Game Changer
Jul24 Kaine Accepted Many Gifts in Virginia
Jul24 Democratic Convention Goal: Make Clinton Likable
Jul24 Five Myths about Political Speechwriting
Jul24 McAuliffe Likely Won't Appoint Himself to Kaine's Seat If It Becomes Vacant
Jul24 Black Eye for DNC on Eve of Convention
Jul24 The GOP's Curious Stance on LGBTQ Issues
Jul23 It's Kaine
Jul23 Maybe Trump's Speech Was Brilliant
Jul23 Trump Would Reject Cruz's Endorsement
Jul23 Republican Insiders: Trump Nailed It
Jul23 Pollster Frank Luntz Predicts Trump Will Pass Clinton in the Polls Next Week
Jul23 How Will Clinton Respond to the Republican Convention?
Jul23 Looking Back at 2012 Campaign Promises
Jul23 Trump Begins Choosing His Cabinet
Jul23 Musicians to Trump: Stop Using Our Songs
Jul22 Republican Convention, Day 4: Trump Swings and Misses
Jul22 Hillary's Speech
Jul22 Ailes Is Forced Out as Head of Fox News
Jul22 Trump's Battle with Kasich Heats Up
Jul22 Bill Clinton Said to Favor Kaine
Jul22 The 2020 Race Is in Full Swing
Jul22 McConnell Upbraids Trump on NATO
Jul22 A Trio of Victories for Voting Rights
Jul21 Republican Convention, Day 3: GOP on Cruz Control
Jul21 Cruz's Speech Is the Only News Story Today
Jul21 More Takeaways from Cruz's Speech
Jul21 Trump Employee Falls on Her Sword for Melania Trump's Plagiarism
Jul21 Tim Ahead of Tom in the Tim/Tom Race for Veep
Jul21 Hillary for Prison Is a Best-selling T-shirt in Cleveland
Jul21 Trump Offered Kasich the Job of De Facto President
Jul21 Trump Willing to Turn His Back on NATO Allies
Jul21 Republican Convention, Day 3: GOP on Cruz Control
Jul21 Cruz's Speech Is the Only News Story Today
Jul21 More Takeaways from Cruz's Speech
Jul21 Trump Employee Falls on Her Sword for Melania Trump's Plagiarism
Jul21 Tim Ahead of Tom in the Tim/Tom Race for Veep
Jul21 Hillary for Prison Is a Best-selling T-shirt in Cleveland