• Desperation Sets in for Trump
• Ryan Getting Desperate, Too
• How the Clinton Campaign Is Playing Its Hand
• Insiders Think Trump's Chances Are Fading Fast
• Trump Didn't See It Coming--but Should Have
• Democrats Sue North Carolina over Voter Registration Deadline
• CNN: Eight Republicans Sent into Distant Orbit by Trump's 2016 Odyssey
• Charlie Cook Calls the Election for Clinton
• The Debates as Boxing Matches
• Today's Presidential Polls
• Today's Senate Polls
At some point these stories aren't going to be news any more (unless we get a "Woman Gropes Trump" story), but we are not quite there yet. Yesterday, another woman, Kristin Anderson, said that Donald Trump was sitting next to her on a couch at a Manhattan nightclub in the early 1990s and he slid his fingers up her inner thigh and grabbed her p***y. On The Tape, that is the technique he said he used, and apparently that part at least is true. Anderson said that she and her friends were grossed out, but decided that they should just move on. When she saw the video last week, it all came back. Anderson said there was no come-on. He didn't talk to her or make any attempt to be friendly with her. He didn't buy her a drink or invite her to come home with him or anything else. Just grab that p***y. She said she felt like some kind of toy stuffed animal on the couch. Anderson is not a dyed-in-the-wool Hillary Clinton supporter coming forward just to damage Trump. She said she might write in Mitt Romney or Oprah Winfrey rather than voting for Trump or Clinton.
That was #1. Later in the day there was a #2, which was even worse. Summer Zervos was a contestant on "The Apprentice." She met with Trump in 2007 to ask for some career advice, but Trump had something else in mind. He kissed her repeatedly and touched her breasts and tried to get her into his bedroom. She managed to get away. Yesterday, she gave a press conference and talked about it. Here is a short video of a very emotional Zervos reading a prepared statement of precisely what Trump did. It sounds like she is reading from a soft-core porn novel.
Trump responded to his accusers with what can be described as the "ugliness defense." At a rally in Greensboro, NC, he sarcastically commented about Jessica Leeds, one of his accusers: "Yeah, I'm gonna go after her. Believe me, she would not be my first choice. That I can tell you. You don't know. That would not be my first choice." No doubt this makes beautiful women nervous, although less attractive ones can apparently now relax. On the other hand, Trump also said that deeply troubled women are "the best in bed." We are waiting for some reporter to ask what he would do if faced with the agonizing choice of an ugly, deeply troubled woman, or a beautiful woman with no troubles at all. Sometimes it is hard to remember that we are in the middle of a presidential campaign rather than some daytime soap opera. (V)
Donald Trump's campaign is, of course, in deep trouble. The pollsters know it. The insiders know it (see below). The pundits know it—FiveThirtyEight, for example, gives Hillary Clinton between an 82% and 88% chance of winning (depending on the model), while Charlie Cook has already called the election for the Democrats (see below). The predictions markets know it—PredictWise has Clinton at 91%, while CNN's predictions market pegs it at 92%. The bettors know it, too—PaddyPower is currently laying 1-to-6 odds on Clinton, which implies roughly an 86% chance of victory.
Judging by his behavior in recent days, Trump also knows he is in trouble. He's acting like a wounded lion, as he always does when things turn against him. To start with, he has largely abandoned the use of teleprompters, returning to the halcyon early days of the campaign, when he spoke off the cuff, and all was well with the polls. In fact, yesterday, at his rally in North Carolina, he physically dismantled the teleprompter he has been using, claiming it didn't work, and that he was not going to pay the firm that supplied it. It's hard to tell now if the device really failed or Trump just wanted to make a point about not being scripted any more.
Most of his verbiage these days, as it was back then, is reserved for defending himself, attacking just about anyone who crosses his mind, and spending so little time on actual policy that some crowd members have taken to shouting, "stay on the issues."
Trump's favorite target to attack, of course, is Clinton. Regardless of the negative response from across the political spectrum, he continues to press for her to be investigated and imprisoned. President Obama is another favorite, though The Donald has shifted away from birth certificate questions, and toward questions about Obama's sexual past. Specifically, he wonders why no women have come forward to accuse the President of sexual misconduct. After all, Obama's a man, and all men treat women as possessions, to be used and discarded and grabbed by the p****y as needed. Right?
That said, Trump can also improvise, and he's got an interesting new target to slam as part of the conspiracy against him. Presumably noting that his followers dislike liberals, foreigners, Mexicans, and the wealthy, The Donald has taken to attacking telecom magnate Carlos Slim. He checks all the boxes: liberal, wealthy, Mexican, foreigner. Exactly how Slim is aiding Clinton has not been made clear. Perhaps Trump keeps that information in the same file with his plan for defeating ISIS.
As they say, "there is none so desperate as one with nothing to lose." So, as deep into the gutter as this campaign has gotten, it would seem that there's still time and potential for it to go deeper. The good news is that it's just over three weeks to Election Day. (Z)
Entering 2016, Paul Ryan (R-WI) had to feel very good about his chances of keeping his job as Speaker, what with the gerrymandering and the divisions within the Democratic Party. But things took a turn for the worse, of course, and now he's faced with the unenviable task of trying to keep together a Republican coalition that is bursting at the seams, with the two main factions bitterly at odds with each other.
This being the case, Ryan has turned to a strategy laid out in paragraph one, page one of the politicians' playbook: Focus on the common enemy. That, of course, is the Democrats, and he has taken to preaching doom and gloom if the blue team takes control of Congress. On Friday, for example, he went on talk radio to declare:
This is the nightmare scenario facing our country right now: If Hillary Clinton wins and sweeps in a Democratic House and a Democratic Senate, she will have the same kind of open-field running that Barack Obama had in those first two years. President Obama got most of what he wanted in his first two years when he had total control of Congress.
Translation: "Republican voters, do you really want another Obamacare?"
The change in tone and tactics is interesting primarily for one reason: If Paul Ryan, who is surely as dialed into his party's Congressional prospects as anyone, thinks that the GOP majority could be at risk, then it must really be at risk. (Z)
The Tape, which is now a week old, was a gift from heaven for the Clinton campaign. They could not have invented something more damaging if they'd hired the best screenwriters in Hollywood. And though they cannot say it publicly, they are surely delighted that 95% of the talk is about p***ygate and its fallout, while 5% is about the Wikileaked e-mails.
Time has a good item about exactly how Hillary Clinton and her team are proceeding right now, in response to this week's developments. First and foremost, they are staying out of the way. The fewer headlines that Clinton claims, the more space that is available for the Trump accusers that are turning up every day. Their messaging and ads are being refocused on affirming the case for Clinton (as opposed to pressing the case against Donald Trump), on appealing to women and moderate Republicans, on helping out downballot Democrats, and on newly swinging states like Arizona, Georgia and Utah.
Clinton has one more debate to prepare for, on Wednesday. Barring a disaster there, she will surely double down on the changes described above, particularly spending her time and money on securing a Democratic Congress. It could be an early Christmas for the blue team on November 8. (Z)
Politico asked its panel of swing-state strategists, operatives, and activists whether they thought their party's candidate would win their state. Only 27% of the Republicans thought that Trump would win their state. The survey went out just as some of the women who related their experiences with Trump had come forward, so this might be regarded as a "best-case scenario." One Iowa Republican said: "Donald Trump is in a virtual meltdown as a surge of requested early ballots start reaching voters." An Ohio Republican said: "Trump has thrown away the college-educated woman bloc and also hurt himself with college-educated men." According to a Colorado Republican: "Colorado was always Hillary's to lose, but Donald Trump just decided to hand it to her." A North Carolina Republican was more optimistic: "The RNC has put together a good grassroots operation that's hitting its stride. They're doing 9,000-10,000 doors a day..." Another Colorado Republican had this to say: "It's a bloody train wreck, painful to watch the way the race for the presidency of the greatest country in the world is accelerating into the gutter in ways we have not seen in generations."
Republican insiders were divided on whether Paul Ryan was wise to stop defending Trump while at the same time not retracting his grudgingly given endorsement. About 53% of the insiders said it was smart of Ryan, while 47% said he shouldn't have done it. A Colorado Republican put it like this: "Ryan, like the rest of the GOP, is in a no-win situation," adding "It's all over but the crying." A Florida Republican approved of Ryan trying to save his members, saying: "Remember, always put your oxygen mask on first, so you can help others." A Michigan Republican was more blunt: "Ryan and the other Republicans should just shut up." A New Hampshire Republican took a longer view: "We all have to be able to look our children in the eye when this is all over."
Meanwhile, Democrats on the panel were virtually gloating. Some 99% said that Clinton would carry their state. (V)
All campaigns have oppo research teams, whose job it is to dig up dirt on the opposition. The better campaigns also have self-oppo research teams, whose job it is to dig up dirt on their own candidate in order to better prepare for attacks the other side may be planning. In effect, the candidate pays people to find all the scandals the candidate has been trying to hide for years. Both of Trump's initial campaign managers, Corey Lewandowski and Paul Manafort, asked Trump to agree to self-oppo teams. He refused. The managers were afraid there might be deep dark secrets lurking out there somewhere, but Trump wouldn't let them go hunting. The result was that the campaign team was blindsided by p***ygate and had no coherent response to it. Not that knowing about this stuff in advance would have helped the campaign staff to make it go away, but at least they could have had more time to look for inconsistencies in the women's stories or other things that cast doubt on them. But Trump said no, and that was that. (V)
The North Carolina Democratic Party sued the state's election board yesterday over its refusal to extend the voter registration deadline in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. The Democrats said that citizens who adhered to the warnings to evacuate should not be disenfranchised. The North Carolina Republican Party said it opposed any extension. North Carolina is by any measure one of the top three battlegrounds, the others being Florida and Ohio.
In Georgia, U.S. District Judge William Moore ordered voter registration to continue until Tuesday in Chatham County, which includes Savannah, on account of the hurricane. South Carolina also extended its voter registration deadline by four days and Florida by seven days. (V)
CNN described the race for president thusly: "Donald Trump's star has entered the supernova phase of this cosmically weird campaign season." It says that the shock waves could vaporize the future plans of at least eight of his prominent Republican supporters:
- Ted Cruz. After failing to grab the brass ring himself, Cruz began planning his 2020 campaign immediately. At first
he refused to endorse Trump, and was lauded by many conservatives as a man of principle. But Trump's gravitational pull
was too much for him, and he was sucked into Trump's orbit. Now that Trump is imploding, Cruz has the worst of both worlds.
He is not respected by conservatives and is tied to someone falling like a stone.
- Paul Ryan. After reluctantly endorsing Trump, Ryan called him the "textbook definition of a racist."
Now he is not defending him but also not unendorsing him. If someone ever updates John F. Kennedy's Profiles in Courage,
Ryan is not likely to make the cut.
- Reince Priebus. He dreamed of leaving his post as Chairman of the Republican National Committee with the White House,
Senate, House, and Supreme Court safely in Republican hands. Alas, it is not likely to be. After Mitt Romney's 2012 loss, he
commissioned an autopsy report that said the Party had to become more inclusive. Instead, he got a candidate who daily criticized
women, Latinos, blacks, and now "international bankers" (which his followers understand to mean Jews). He could have laid down the
law and perhaps prevented Trump from being nominated, and once he was nominated, he could have condemned him vigorously,
and publicly said that his top goal was keeping Congress Republican as a counterweight to a President Clinton. He didn't.
- Mike Pence. The Indiana governor is a deeply religious Christian, but when it became clear last week that the other guy
on the ticket had behaved in very un-Christian ways, he could have thunderously damned Trump in Old Testament terms and resigned from the
ticket, thus making him Governor Integrity for the 4-year run-up to 2020, when he would have been the establishment's enormous
favorite. Instead, history will recall that his loyalty was to Trump.
- George P. Bush. Jeb Bush's son was elected as Texas land commissioner, a not unimportant job considering how much land Texas
has that he must manage. He clearly aspires to higher office. His toadying to the man who humiliated his father is not going to play
well down the road.
- Chris Christie. He started out as the popular governor of a blue state and ended as Trump's manservant, whose main use
seems to be fetching Donald's orders from McDonalds. Even if he isn't in jail in 2020, he is dead meat, well done. Would you
like fries with that?
- Pam Bondi. She twice was elected attorney general of Florida, and was a potential future governor until she begged Trump for
$25,000, got it, and then dropped the fraud case against Trump University. For abandoning her gubernatorial dreams, she should
have asked for half a million, at least.
- Rudy Giuliani. When he left office as "America's mayor" (a term he thought up himself), he was seen as a moderate, competent Republican who could be a model for how Republicans could win blue states down the road. He has since become one of Trump's nastiest defenders, often defending the indefensible. No more "Mr. Nice Guy" and no more political future.
When the dust settles, even more rising stars may be completely obscured by a thick layer of it. (V)
Charlie Cook, a well-respected nonpartisan election guru who has been poring over polls and election results for decades, and is noted for his extreme caution, yesterday tweeted: "Take a close look at the new Fox news poll. This race is OVER." When asked to explain his very early call, he said the Fox News poll was devastating for Trump, from start to finish. "Trial heats, favorable/unfavorable, candidate attributes, trust on handling issues, role model for children are all horrific for Trump" according to Cook. The poll had Clinton 7 points ahead of Trump in both 2-way and 4-way races. (V)
Colbert King has an amusing write-up of the presidential debates written in the way a sports reporter would cover a series of boxing matches. It's a metaphorical (but true) way of looking at the debates. (V)
Hillary Clinton continues to have a small but consistent lead in Florida, a state that Trump must win, or lose the race. Indiana is a state Obama won in 2008 but lost in 2012. Trump is still ahead there, but it is getting closer. We also have a poll from a Republican pollster, Data Orbital, showing Clinton leading Trump by 1 point in Arizona. When a partisan pollster shows the other side winning, it is probably true, and possibly even worse than is being reported. Nevertheless, for consistency, we don't include partisan pollsters in the database, even if a particular poll seems plausible. (V)
|Florida||46%||42%||5%||Oct 12||Oct 13||PPP|
|Indiana||41%||45%||9%||Oct 11||Oct 13||Monmouth U.|
|New Hampshire||41%||38%||11%||Oct 10||Oct 12||MassINC|
Yet another poll shows Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) leading in his quest for a second term (and a second run for the White House in 2020). Former senator Evan Bayh is still ahead in Indiana. This seat could easily be one of those determining which party controls the Senate. And finally, New Hampshire remains a tossup, despite the state's blue lean. This shows how difficult it is to unseat an incumbent. (V)
|State||Democrat||D %||Republican||R %||Start||End||Pollster|
|Florida||Patrick Murphy||38%||Marco Rubio*||44%||Oct 12||Oct 13||PPP|
|Indiana||Evan Bayh||48%||Todd Young||42%||Oct 11||Oct 13||Monmouth U.|
|New Hampshire||Maggie Hassan||47%||Kelly Ayotte*||47%||Oct 10||Oct 12||MassINC|
* Denotes incumbent
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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Oct14 Michelle Obama Makes Emotional Pitch to Women
Oct14 Donald Trump Has a Double Standard
Oct14 Trump: If Clinton Falls in China, They'll Just Leave Her There
Oct14 Total TV Time Bought by the RNC for Trump to Date: $0
Oct14 Trump Pulls Out of Virginia
Oct14 Only Trump Will Protect You
Oct14 Daily News Pushes Another Trump Scandal
Oct14 Democratic Elector May Refuse to Vote for Clinton
Oct14 Whither the GOP?
Oct14 Could Nonvoting Republicans Affect the House?
Oct14 Bad News for Christie
Oct13 Some Republicans Are Recanting Their Unendorsements of Trump
Oct13 Trump Supporters Not Willing to Face Reality
Oct13 Trump Accusers Coming Out of the Woodwork
Oct13 Evidence that the Tape Was Disastrous
Oct13 Trump Sinking in Utah
Oct13 Early Indications From Florida Favor Democrats
Oct13 Five Takeaways from the WikiLeaks Emails
Oct13 Topics for the Third Debate Announced
Oct13 Whither the Senate?
Oct13 How to Read the Polls
Oct13 About That LA Times/USC Tracking Poll...
Oct12 Trump Unbound
Oct12 Trump Does What No One Else Could
Oct12 Trump Is Blowing Up the Republican Party
Oct12 Trump Releases Dangerous Video
Oct12 That Apprentice Footage Isn't Going Away
Oct12 Republican Absentee Ballots Are Down in North Carolina
Oct12 Gore Campaigning with Clinton in Florida
Oct12 It's All about Demographics
Oct12 Clinton's Main SuperPAC Is Starting to Desert Her
Oct12 Pelosi Liking Her Chances
Oct11 Second Presidential Debate Postmortem
Oct11 Second Poll Says Clinton Won the Debate
Oct11 Clinton Leads by Double Digits Nationally
Oct11 Body Language Experts Analyze the Debate
Oct11 Republican Candidates for Congress are Boxed In
Oct11 Conway: Comment about Jailing Clinton was just a Quip
Oct11 Professional Athletes Deny That They Denigrate Women in Their Locker Rooms
Oct11 Federal Judge Extends Florida Voter Registration Deadline
Oct11 Five Things Clinton Needs to Do to Keep Her Lead
Oct11 Jeff Sessions: Grabbing a Woman by Her P***y Is Not Sexual Assault
Oct11 Mark Burnett Holds Trump's Fate in His Hands (or Hard Disk)
Oct11 What's a Lepo?
Oct11 Trump Taj Mahal Closes its Doors
Oct10 Mud Flies in Nastiest Debate in American History
Oct10 Five Takeaways from Politico about a Brutal Debate
Oct10 Seven Takeaways from CNN about the Debate