• Trump Continues to Claim the Election is Rigged
• Trump's Newest Target: Saturday Night Live
• Are the States Realigning?
• Latino Registration Is Not Surging
• Pence Contradicts Trump on Several Issues
• Five Republican Megadonors Ponied Up $24 Million in the Past 3 Months
• Psychological Warfare Is Causing Big Problems for Clinton
• An Interview with Steve Schmidt
• Rudy Giuliani is Becoming Unhinged
• Friend Backs Zervos' Account
• Today's Presidential Polls
• Today's Senate Polls
Despite an constant stream of women claiming that Donald Trump behaved inappropriately towards them, pure partisanship is keeping the presidential race close, albeit with Hillary Clinton slightly ahead. Major polls were released yesterday from ABC/WaPo, CBS, NBC/WSJ, and Lake Research/Tarrance Group, as follows:
|Pollster||Clinton||Trump||Johnson||Stein||Type of poll|
|ABC/WaPo||47%||43%||5%||2%||Likely voters nationwide|
|CBS||46%||40%||6%||2%||Registered voters in 14 swing states|
|NBC/WSJ||48%||37%||7%||2%||Registered voters nationwide|
|Lake Research/Tarrance Group||47%||39%||8%||2%||Registered voters nationwide|
What is especially interesting is that the polls show that 70% of the voters believe the women who have come forward, but that doesn't seem to be changing many votes.
There is no obvious answer to why the ABC and NBC polls are so far apart. Clinton can't be both 4 points ahead and 11 points ahead at the same time. One of them is clearly way off, most likely the NBC/WSJ poll. Still, it appears that she has at least a modest lead, maybe more. (V)
Donald Trump is apparently preparing to lose on Nov. 8, because he spent the weekend claiming the election is "rigged." If he were to win, it would be easy for the Democrats to contest the results just by using his own words. However, if he were to lose, this would be the excuse why he lost and why he presumably would not concede. Leaders of both parties are beginning to see Trump's campaign as part kamikaze mission and part temper tantrum, but are afraid of how his followers might react to defeat.
If Trump continues to claim the election was rigged, even after a clear defeat, Republican leaders, especially Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), will be in a tough spot. If they say nothing—or back Trump—that could mean the end of democracy in America, and would make governing it nearly impossible. They would also have to contend with a very angry Hillary Clinton, who would nevertheless be sworn in on Jan. 20. If they take matters out of Trump's hands and concede for him, they will have to deal with angry Trump supporters who already have almost no faith in the Republican leadership, and would have even less after a concession. It could get quite dicey. (V)
"Saturday Night Live" launched its 42nd season three weeks ago, and each of the three new episodes has begun with a sketch lampooning the presidential/vice-presidential debates. In each case, Alec Baldwin's bruising take on Donald Trump has figured prominently. The Donald was quite enthusiastic when he was a part of the joking, as when he hosted an episode back in November and tweeted: "Amazing evening at Saturday Night Live!" Now he's the butt of the jokes and, to nobody's surprise, he's not happy. Following this Saturday's episode, he took to Twitter and declared:
Watched Saturday Night Live hit job on me. Time to retire the boring and unfunny show. Alec Baldwin portrayal stinks. Media rigging election!
So, to review, that's Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, NBC, the New York Times, Paul Ryan, Carlos Slim, "Saturday Night Live," and about a dozen female accusers who have been implicated in the anti-Trump conspiracy in just the last week. It's really only a matter of time until Santa Claus, the Trilateral Commission, Queen Elizabeth, Oprah Winfrey, and little green men from Mars join the list.
Trump declares that Baldwin's portrayal "stinks," but this is unquestionably a case of "he doth protest too much, methinks." For the first 5-10 years of its existence, the program did not try to match every detail of the people they were imitating. Thus you had Chevy Chase playing Gerald Ford with no makeup whatsoever, and Dan Aykroyd portraying Jimmy Carter with brown hair and a mustache. Since the mid-1980s, however, the goal has been a spot-on match, sometimes realized more fully, sometimes less so. Baldwin's Trump is one of the bull's-eyes, along with Tina Fey's Sarah Palin, Larry David's Bernie Sanders, Will Ferrell's George W. Bush, Phil Hartman's Bill Clinton, and Jon Lovitz's Michael Dukakis. By complaining, all Trump does is let everyone know how much the portrayal is bothering him. Even Richard Nixon knew enough to grit his teeth, screw on a smile, and tell Laugh-In to "Sock it to me." (Z)
Politico's Kyle Cheney has an interesting piece in which he tries to read the tea leaves of early voting. There is bad news for the GOP in Florida and North Carolina; in both states the number of requests for Democratic absentee ballots have increased while requests for Republican ballots have decreased. As a consequence, the two parties appear to be nearly even in early voting. This may well portend a Hillary Clinton win, since Democrats generally vote in person in much larger numbers than Republicans. And if Clinton takes North Carolina and Florida, the election will be over.
With that said, there is also a bit of good news for the Republicans. In Iowa and Ohio, Republicans are requesting absentee ballots at a rate in excess of 2012, while Democratic requests have tailed off. In other words, the exact opposite of what's happening in Florida and North Carolina. Now, Ohio and Iowa have 24 EVs compared to 44 for Florida and North Carolina. Further, the Buckeye and Hawkeye states are not part of the Democrats' "blue wall," so Clinton can afford to lose them. Still, as psephologist Michael McDonald notes, it may portend a permanent shift in loyalties. "We are in bizarro world," he says, "We've got non-uniform movement here in the country. Dare I say a realignment?"
In view of this, we thought we would take a look at current polling data, and how it compares to recent trends. With the caveat that any conclusions here are very, very tentative, let's start by looking at the states where Hillary Clinton is doing well:
It's pretty clear that the Democrats' blue wall, and Hillary Clinton's personal blue wall align pretty closely. The Democrats have 244 "safe" EVs, while Clinton currently has 275 "safe" EVs. She's not likely to lose any of the states that have gone Democratic six or more times in a row. The states with sizable populations of non-college white men are trending away from the blue team a bit, while the states with sizable Latino populations are trending toward, but we cannot know yet if that is just a Trump-inspired anomaly or something more permanent.
Now, the swing states:
Again, the states with heavy Latino populations look to be moving in the direction of the blue team. So too are the coastal states of the South, which have lots of black voters, and have seen an influx of high-tech companies and workers from outside the region. North Carolina's research triangle, for example, is essentially Silicon Valley (and its 90% Democratic demographic) dropped squarely in the middle of a Southern state. On the red side, a bit more evidence that the Midwest could be moving out of the Democrats' orbit.
The most momentous change, if it is for real, would be Texas turning into a swing state. We're not buying it quite yet, but the Lone Star State does have a lot of Latinos and a lot of tech, and has grown more cosmopolitan in the last two decades. If the GOP can't count on Texas' 38 EVs, they're in real trouble.
And finally, the states where Trump is doing well:
Those R-4s and R-5s are states that Bill Clinton managed to win. They're clearly out of reach for the Democrats now, barring a cataclysm of some sort. But the solid South and the mountain states are not much of a foundation to begin an election with, either. Trump has only one double-digit EV state that's completely safe, and another two that are fairly safe. He will likely start the day on November 8 with just more than 100 EVs in the bank. That's a tall mountain to climb. Even if the candidate was Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN) or Paul Ryan or Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), it's hard to see too many states they could be confident in bringing back into the "safe GOP" column. Texas and Mississippi, perhaps, but not too many others. The upshot is that if a realignment is underway, it looks like the GOP could be gaining some medium-sized Midwestern states, but at the expense of several smallish Southwestern states, several large Southern coastal states and, just maybe, Texas. (Z)
A study by USA Today of the 50 counties with the largest Latino populations, covering 10 swing states, shows that while voter registration has increased compared to 2012, it has only increased reflecting the growth in the Latino population. There is no "Trump effect," as Democrats had hoped for and Republicans had feared. Latino registration has increased by 3.8%, compared to 3.5% last time. Nevertheless, Latinos could play an important role in the election outcome, since they are now 12% of the overall electorate, compared to 10% in 2012. (V)
Mike Pence has essentially come to terms with the fact that he will join the ranks of the unemployed when his term as governor of Indiana ends in January. It is clear that he doesn't care much anymore about what Donald Trump thinks of him, and is focusing on his 2020 run for president. Yesterday, he contradicted Trump on a number of issues—and he knows full well that Trump cannot abide anyone contradicting him. Among other points that Pence made on "Face the Nation" are:
- He felt that Trump's disparaging all the women who came forward since The Tape was wrong
- He doesn't believe the election is being rigged
- He concedes that the Russians are probably responsible for feeding information to WikiLeaks
- He will not condone the kind of voter intimidation that Trump has talked about
Trump is probably not going to like this, but unlike contestants on "The Apprentice," Pence can't be fired. (V)
According to campaign filings reviewed by the Wall Street Journal, despite Republicans' initial fear that the big donors would sit this one out, they came through for Donald Trump in the past quarter. Donald Trump's top two superPACs received $10 million from casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, $6 million from WWE executive Linda McMahon, $5 million from Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus, $2 million from Mountaire Corp. CEO Ronald Cameron, and $1 million from TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts. They also raised $6 million in smaller donations, for a total of $30 million. They finished the quarter with $13 million cash on hand. (V)
The Clinton campaign believes that the WikiLeaks dump of John Podesta's emails is a Russian psy-ops action designed to create chaos within the campaign. It might well be succeeding. Chelsea Clinton, for example, was not happy to learn that former Clinton aide Doug Band called her a "spoiled brat kid," and Podesta didn't defend her. Longtime Clinton fundraiser Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild was furious when she read an email from the CEO of the Center of American Progress saying: "I have to [see] that crazy lady De Rothschild person." Podesta and others think that the worst is yet to come, as WikiLeaks has tens of thousands of often blunt emails not yet released.
The hack could have consequences downstream, though. Insiders say that Clinton is "pissed." Also, Vice President Joe Biden said on "Meet the Press" yesterday:
We're sending a message. We have the capacity to do it. He'll know it. It will be at a time of our choosing—under circumstances that have the greatest impact.
The CIA is reportedly preparing options for retaliation. (V)
Steve Schmidt, a conservative Republican who was the chief strategist for Sen. John McCain's presidential run, is not one to mince words. Here are a few quotes from a recent interview:
- I think the Republican Party has an outstanding chance of fracturing
- You have a massive reckoning coming due that will play out over years on the serially putting party above country
- [Some Republicans say:] I'm voting for him but I don't endorse him. It's a chickenshit position
- Donald Trump is obviously manifestly unfit in every conceivable way to occupy the office of the American head of state
In short, Schmidt thinks that Trump has surrounded himself with people who have made a living in the Clinton conspiracy business, and not only is it a terrible strategy for this election, but it is bad for the country and is going to wreak havoc with the Republican Party for years to come. (V)
In an effort to show his loyalty, or vent his frustrations, or who knows exactly what, Rudy Giuliani has developed a willingness to say just about anything these days, regardless of how bad it makes him look. On Thursday of last week, for example, he launched into an extended anti-Hillary Clinton harangue, blasting her for not bothering to visit Ground Zero after the September 11 attacks. It took just minutes for Twitter to be flooded with photos of Clinton visiting Ground Zero, escorted by Giuliani. "America's Mayor" was compelled to apologize for that one.
On Sunday, however, he was back to firing from the hip. Appearing on CNN's State of the Union, Giuliani opined:
I'm sorry, dead people generally vote for Democrats rather than Republicans. You want me to (say) that I think the election in Philadelphia and Chicago is going to be fair? I would have to be a moron to say that ... I've found very few situations where Republicans cheat. They don't control the inner cities the way Democrats do. Maybe if Republicans controlled the inner cities, they'd do as much cheating as Democrats do.
There's so much to criticize here, it's hard to know where to start. First of all, though he claims special expertise on election fraud due to his time as a federal prosecutor, Giuliani's history is very shaky. Yes, Democrats have committed their fair share of voter fraud, but so too have Republicans, all the way back to Abraham Lincoln (see, for example, Lincoln's advice to Norman Judd for manipulating the outcome of the elections in Illinois in 1858). And that fraud, of course, has not been limited to the "inner city." For decades, in fact, rural Texas towns were the unquestioned champions of having dead people vote (this cost LBJ one election, and won him another). Of course, these days, election fraud is much harder to perpetrate, as Washington law firm Ashby Law helpfully pointed out shortly after Giuliani's appearance on CNN.
On top of his errors of fact, there are also Giuliani's casual racism and his conspiracy-theory paranoia. For those who missed it, the message is: "These dishonest, troublesome minorities are going to steal the election, like they always do." He barely bothered to hide his meaning with a dog whistle; during the course of the interview Giuliani used the term "inner city" at least six times.
Clearly, the former New York City mayor does not care what anyone thinks beyond Donald Trump and Trump's base. But let us remember that his end game is a spot in the Cabinet, preferably the Attorney Generalship. Arguably, the biggest challenge facing the new AG is going to be the ongoing tensions/violence between police and minority citizens, particularly black citizens. With declarations like the ones he made on Sunday, Giuliani will have left himself unable to confront that challenge with any credibility. So, in his dogged pursuit of a Trump administration post, Giuliani is arguably cutting off his nose to spite his face. (Z)
Summer Zervos is one of the dozen or so women that accused Donald Trump of sexually assaulting them after The Tape was released. Trump has denied everything, and in the case of Zervos, he got some backup: Her cousin, John Barry, who said on Saturday that she was just using the whole thing for attention so she could get back on television.
Now, Zervos has fired back. At a press conference on Sunday, her friend Ann Russo confirmed the story:
At this time, she confided in me that after her appearance on "The Apprentice" she met with Mr. Trump to explore job opportunities. Summer told me that he was verbally, physically and sexually aggressive with her and that she rebuffed his advancements.
Nearly all of the accusers have corroboration like this, from friends or relatives who recall the various incidents. Meanwhile, outside of Barry, no one besides Trump has come forward to contradict the accusations, while quite a few women who have worked with Trump have said they find the stories to be very credible. Even in a court of law, Trump might be found guilty; in the court of public opinion, he's already climbing the stairs to the gallows. (Z)
Virginia is clearly a lost cause for Donald Trump, which is why his campaign yanked all workers and resources from the state this week. Hard to know what to think about Utah, especially since third-party candidate Evan McMullin is a wild card in terms of his impact. (Z)
|Nevada||46%||40%||4%||Oct 12||Oct 14||YouGov|
|Utah||20%||37%||7%||Oct 12||Oct 14||YouGov|
|Virginia||44%||29%||11%||Oct 11||Oct 14||Christopher Newport U.|
This Senate race is going to be a nail-biter to the end. In fact, because Nevada is in the West, the outcome of this matchup could be the big story at the end of the day on Election Day if Hillary Clinton has sewn up the White House, and control of the upper chamber hangs in the balance. (Z)
|State||Democrat||D %||Republican||R %||Start||End||Pollster|
|Nevada||Catherine Cortez-Masto||39%||Joe Heck||39%||Oct 12||Oct 14||YouGov|
* Denotes incumbent
Email a link to a friend or share:
---The Votemaster and Zenger
Oct16 Trump Raises $100 Million in September
Oct16 Trump Breaks Ties with Ohio Republican Party
Oct16 Trump Wants Pre-Debate Drug Test
Oct16 Another Day, Another Trump Accuser
Oct16 Summer Zervos Cousin: She's Making It Up
Oct16 Why Does Putin Oppose Clinton?
Oct16 Wikileaks' Drip, Drip, Drip Continues
Oct16 Conservative Women Are Still Supporting Trump
Oct16 Democrats Have Big Cash Advantage in Senate Races
Oct15 More Women Say that Trump Groped Them
Oct15 Desperation Sets in for Trump
Oct15 Ryan Getting Desperate, Too
Oct15 How the Clinton Campaign Is Playing Its Hand
Oct15 Insiders Think Trump's Chances Are Fading Fast
Oct15 Trump Didn't See It Coming--but Should Have
Oct15 Democrats Sue North Carolina over Voter Registration Deadline
Oct15 CNN: Eight Republicans Sent into Distant Orbit by Trump's 2016 Odyssey
Oct15 Charlie Cook Calls the Election for Clinton
Oct15 The Debates as Boxing Matches
Oct14 Trump Calls the Claims of Sexual Advances Vicious and Absolutely False
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