• Trump University Documents Released
• Trump Has A Few Other Lawsuits as Well
• Obama Beginning to Wade into the Contest
• I Can Watch It on TV
• Clinton to Attack Trump in National Security Speech Today
• Dynamic Scoring about To Become a Political Football
• Class and Gender Are the Big Divides This Year
• How Should Clinton Deal With the E-Mail Scandal?
Yet another poll shows the California Democratic primary to be very close. In fact, the new Marist poll shows it to be a statistical tie:
Other recent polls have shown everything from a tie to Clinton with an 18-point lead. In terms of the delegate count, it hardly matters if Clinton wins by 2 points or loses by 2 points but if Sanders pulls this one off, he will probably continue to fight until the bitter end, whereas if he loses, he might decide to drop out. (V)
A federal judge ordered the records of a fraud case against Trump University released last Friday and yesterday they were given to the Washington Post, which had sued to get them. The Post is now analyzing and starting to report on them. The first look strongly suggests that Trump University used high-pressure tactics against people who were the most vulnerable, steering them to the most expensive courses. A Trump U. sales manager, Ronald Schnackenberg, testified in court how he was reprimanded for not pushing a struggling couple to sign up for the full $35,000 program, despite his own conclusion that this would ruin them economically. In his court testimony, Schnackenberg said that Trump University was a fraudulent scheme. Event manager Corrine Sommer recalled that her Trump University colleagues encouraged prospective students to open as many credit cards as possible to pay for classes they could not afford. Sales executive Jason Nicholas said they used a deceptive pitch, saying that Trump himself would be actively involved in the students' education, adding: "This was not true. Trump University was a facade, a total lie."
While a lot of mud has been thrown in the campaign so far, and more is surely forthcoming, this mud could stick because it goes after Trump's strength: his business success. If it turns out that part of his success was based on conning naive people into buying a worthless product, that has a different ring to it than making brilliant business deals by outsmarting other top businessmen.
Hillary Clinton wasted no time lambasting Trump as a con man who is trying to scam America just as he scammed the Trump U. students. It is noteworthy that the Democrats are not going to paint Trump as the second coming of Mitt Romney—it's worse. Romney was depicted as an amoral man who bought up companies, stripped them of their assets to pay himself and his partners large bonuses, and then closed down the companies and fired the workers. Trump is going to be shown as someone who tried to steal money from vulnerable and unsuspecting individuals who could ill afford what he was selling. Trump will be depicted as personally cruel and rapacious and someone who wanted to profit from others' misfortune. In contrast, while Romney was a patrician and a skilled economic technocrat who knew how to find distressed companies and squeeze every penny out of them, he didn't actively try to do things that would bankrupt individuals. They were just collateral damage.
Trump is not letting Clinton's charges go unanswered. He has already released a video in which former students praise the school and say they never felt pressured into doing anything they didn't want to do. This issue is not going away any time soon and will almost certainly be one of the main attack points that the Democrats will be using until the election. (V)
Although the Trump University suits (one in New York and one in California) are getting all the headlines, they are not the only litigation involving one Donald J. Trump. USA Today has done some bean counting, and has found that The Donald has been involved in a staggering 3,500 suits during his career; about 1,900 as plaintiff, 1,450 as defendant, and 150 involving bankruptcy. At least 70 suits have been filed since Trump declared his presidential candidacy, and about 50 cases are still pending.
This could easily become a campaign weapon in one of two ways. Perhaps the Democrats (or an enterprising young reporter) will find a case or ten among the 3,500 that casts Trump in as unflattering a light as the Trump University case. Maybe he sued a little old lady so he could tear down her house and build a parking lot, for example. Alternatively, the blue team could just use the total number of lawsuits against Trump; USA Today is already using the moniker "litigator-in-chief," which definitely has a certain ring to it. (Z)
For weeks, we've been hearing about how President Obama is eager to hit the campaign trail on behalf of the Democratic nominee, whoever she may be. However, political decorum demands that he respect the process as long as it's still playing out, so he's largely had to remain on the sidelines.
While getting involved in the Sanders-Clinton tilt is verboten attacking presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump is not. And so, Obama is now hitting The Donald hard, and often. In a speech in Indiana on Wednesday, for example, the President ripped Trump's economic plan to shreds, calling his ideas for regulating banks "crazy" and declaring that a Trumpian tax policy would only benefit the rich. "In today's economy," Obama also observed, "we can't put up walls around America." In case you hadn't heard, Trump may have had a few suggestions along those lines.
Fairly soon, perhaps next week, the Democrats will have a presumptive nominee. At that point, Obama can go full force, and we will thus see the rare sight of a sitting president hitting the campaign trail on behalf of his party's nominee. Between George W. Bush's unpopularity, Bill Clinton's scandals, Ronald Reagan's failing health, LBJ's "damned war," Ike's dislike of Nixon, Calvin Coolidge's reticence, and Woodrow Wilson's stroke, the last White House resident to truly campaign in this way was Theodore Roosevelt, way back in 1908. Given the 108-year gap, there is literally no telling exactly what impact Obama might have, though he is certainly confident he can move the needle quite a bit. (Z)
A number of Republicans in tight election races are going to skip the Republican National Convention, giving feeble excuses like, "I can watch it on TV." Needless to say, their real problem is that they are desperately trying to avoid being connected to Donald Trump in any way, shape or form. Even the top two Ohio Republicans, Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), haven't decided if they will attend the convention in their home state. George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, and Jeb Bush won't be there and neither will Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). At least nine Republican governors have either said they are not coming or have refused to say if they will be present. One elected delegate, Josh Claybourn of Indiana, has renounced his seat at the convention because he would have been compelled to vote for Trump and said he can't do it. In addition, corporations who have sponsored the convention in past years, including Coca-Cola, Microsoft, and Hewlett-Packard, are skipping this one. (V)
Hillary Clinton is scheduled to make a major speech today in San Diego on national security. Her goal will be to paint Donald Trump as totally unfit to command the military, both because he knows nothing about national security and because he has the wrong temperament for it. Trump will probably reply that what we need to improve national security is a big wall along the Mexican border and a ban on all Muslims entering the country. Nevertheless, if Clinton scores a direct hit, Trump may be more inclined to choose Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) as his running mate. That way he can say that before making any national security decisions, he will consult with Corker, who understands the material well. (V)
When the Republicans took over Congress, one of the first things they did was require an obscure government office with 50 tax experts in it, the Joint Committee on Taxation, to use dynamic scoring when evaluating the federal budget. This is about to become very political. Very briefly, dynamic scoring requires this office, which produces the official report on how Congressional tax plans will affect the economy, to guess how individuals and businesses will react to tax cuts. Republicans believe that tax cuts will produce more economic activity and thus more tax revenue for the government. George H.W. Bush and the Democrats think it is voodoo economics to say that lower tax rates will produce more revenue. There is quite a bit of empirical evidence that tax cuts don't produce more revenue. When Bill Clinton raised taxes, government revenue went so far up that the federal budget was in surplus when he left office in 2001. When George W. Bush cut taxes shortly thereafter, the deficit exploded. Nevertheless, the supply siders are still hoping that they can convince neutral experts that tax cuts increase government revenue.
To give an example, what happens if Congress cuts individual tax rates? Do people work more, because their effective hourly wage has gone up? Or do they work less, because they can now maintain the same standard of living with less work? Or consider this. If the government cuts taxes and has to borrow money to cover the shortfall, does that drive interest rates up? What if a business gets a tax break for buying new equipment but has to pay a higher interest rate on the money it borrows to pay for the new equipment? Will the company still buy the equipment and how does that affect government revenue? The JCT now has to consider all these factors and many more when it reports on the Republicans' budget. The report could make a huge difference in public reaction. If the JCT says that tax cuts pay for themselves, the public is much more likely to accept them than if the JCT says the Republicans' budget will greatly increase the federal debt. (V)
Typically in presidential elections, whites vote for the Republicans and nonwhites vote for the Democrats. This year the dynamic is different. This year the split is much more along class and gender lines. For example, in 2012, Mitt Romney won 61% of non-college whites and 56% of white college graduates, not a big difference. A recent WaPo/ABC poll showed that this time Trump is getting 65% of the non-college whites and only 46% of the whites with a college degree, a far bigger gap. The gender gap is just as pronounced. Romney won white men 62% to 35% but Trump is winning them 69% to 22%. Romney won white women handily, 56% to 42% but Trump is barely breaking even, ahead 47% to 43%.
Why are white voters splitting along education and gender lines so strongly this time? A lot of it has to do with immigration and terrorism. More than 60% of non-college whites want to ban Muslims from entering the country and 62% want to deport undocumented immigrants. College-educated whites are nowhere near that level of hostility. (V)
Hillary Clinton's email scandal does not appear to be going away anytime soon, and Clinton has not been helped by her mealy-mouthed and insincere-seeming responses to the issue. The Hill's Charles D. Ellison has thought carefully about the issue, and he has an idea for the Democratic frontrunner: Flip the script.
The proposal is that Clinton should quickly and briefly own up to her errors whenever asked about the server, but then promptly segue into a discussion of how her choices reflected the abysmal state of cybersecurity, and how that is the issue we should really be talking about. Ellison even helpfully suggests a few stats that Hillary might deploy, like that the data breaches we know about cost $575 billion annually, or identity theft costs Americans $25 billion annually, or the 21.5 million Americans whose personal data was exposed in one fell swoop last year when the Office of Personnel Management was hacked.
It's interesting advice, and maybe even good advice, that might create a compelling counter-narrative. Still, Clinton's cautious nature and tendency to stick to her guns mean that we won't likely be hearing this from her anytime soon. (Z)Email a link to a friend or share:
---The Votemaster and Zenger
Jun01 Charlie Cook: General Election Is Not as Close as It Looks
Jun01 California Poll: Clinton 13 Points Ahead of Sanders
Jun01 Jerry Brown Endorses Clinton
Jun01 Libertarians Off To a Good Start
Jun01 Sessions to GOP: Adapt To Trump or Die
Jun01 Trump's Donation to Veterans: $5.6 Million
Jun01 Things Still Quite Ugly on the GOP Side of the Contest
Jun01 Kristol May Have His Horse
May31 Weld Could Help the Libertarian Party Raise Money
May31 Can Trump Win?
May31 Ryan Still Not Endorsing Trump
May31 McConnell Has Advice For Trump
May31 Never Trump Folks Not Giving Up Yet
May31 What Do the PUMAs Think of the Bernie-or-Bust Crowd?
May31 Trump Should Be Careful about Bringing Up Old Sex Scandals
May31 Sanders is Now Openly Mocking Trump
May31 Clinton to Hit California Hard
May30 Libertarian Party Nominates Johnson and Weld
May30 Hillary Clinton Doesn't Know How to Handle Trump
May30 Daisy Ad's Creators Have Some Suggestions for an Updated Version
May30 Arnold Schwarzenegger Declines to Back Trump
May30 Rubio Speaks Up
May30 With Sanders Out, Clinton's Numbers Will Rise
May30 Cue the Clinton E-Mail Conspiracy Theories
May29 Judge Orders Release of Trump University Documents
May29 Trump's Veeps
May29 Bob Dole Speaks Out
May29 Trump's Delusions of Competence
May29 Bernie Sanders Lashes Out at DNC, Gets Smacked Down
May29 McAuliffe Launches PR Offense To Defuse Probe
May29 Libertarians Sense An Opportunity
May29 Weld Is Not Received Warmly at the Libertarian Party Convention
May28 Trump Won't Debate Sanders after All
May28 Clinton Leading Trump among Middle-Income Rust-Belt Voters
May28 Cruz Vows to Fight Trump on the Platform
May28 What Trump's Energy Speech Tells Us
May28 Trump's Managerial Style Is Becoming a Problem
May28 Trump Collecting Poisonous Endorsements
May28 Clinton Broadens Her Money Network
May28 There Is a Lot of Bad Political Analysis Right Now
May28 Republicans Continue Putting Pressure on Rubio To Run for Reelection
May27 Trump Clinches the Republican Nomination
May27 Trump Wants White, Male Veep
May27 Sanders and Clinton Almost Tied in California
May27 Sanders Not Actually Winning True Independents
May27 Trump to Top Aide: You're Fired
May27 About that Trump-Sanders Debate...
May27 Maybe the Presidency Isn't the Toughest Job in the World
May27 Fundamentals Still Favor Clinton in the General Election