Clinton 334
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Trump 204
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Click for Senate
Dem 50
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Ties 3
GOP 47
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  • Strongly Dem (202)
  • Likely Dem (71)
  • Barely Dem (61)
  • Exactly tied (0)
  • Barely GOP (87)
  • Likely GOP (36)
  • Strongly GOP (81)
270 Electoral votes needed to win This date in 2012 2008
New polls: MI
Dem pickups vs. 2012: AZ NC
GOP pickups vs. 2012: IA OH

Trump Delivers Gettysburg Address; Republicans Prepare for Civil War

In a revised version of the Gettysburg Address, yesterday in Gettysburg, Penn., Donald Trump outlined what he would do in his first 100 days in office as president. His top priority is suing the women who have come forward to accuse him of sexual assault. Then he went on to announce that he would go after concentrations of power, saying he would oppose AT&T's plan to buy Time Warner. He also said that the Washington Post, which is owned by Amazon, would be paying massive taxes. Of course, the Post is not owned by Amazon. It is the personal property of Amazon's CEO, Jeff Bezos. And to date, no one has suggested that the Post is somehow avoiding taxes. He also said that he wants to undo Comcast's purchase of NBC. On these issues, he sounded more like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) than like a Republican.

On immigration, he wants a 2-year minimum sentence for those who have been deported and come back. He also wants to freeze federal hiring, to reduce the size of the government. Other items on his agenda include amending the Constitution to have term limits for Congress, renegotiating the NAFTA agreement, and suspending immigration from terror-prone regions. He will also ask Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act. None of these proposals are really new, except blocking AT&T's buying Time Warner, and even that is just a specific instance of his long-established hatred for the media and predilection for punishing media companies.

When reporters asked, "Why Gettysburg?" Trump replied that Abraham Lincoln's speech there emphasized unity, military veterans and African-American voters. Dan Balz of the Washington Post pointed out another aspect of the Gettysburg symbolism: The Republican Party is already in a bloody civil war and there is no General Ulysses S. Grant in sight to end it quickly. The best case scenario for the Republicans, at the moment, seems to be President Hillary Clinton, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and a very small Republican House majority that is badly split between mainstream Republicans and Freedom Caucus Republicans. The worst case is that the Democrats win all the marbles. Even if Trump loses, his followers are not going to suddenly get on their knees and start worshiping Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI). The civil war within the Republican Party is going to claim many victims before peace is established. (V)

Clinton Begins Helping Senate and House Candidates

In a sign that she is increasingly confident of victory in 16 days, Hillary Clinton is changing her strategy. Instead of just targeting states she thinks she might be able to win, like Ohio and North Carolina, she is starting to put serious money into states she knows she can't win, like Indiana and Missouri. The reason? To help down-ballot Democrats. She knows that without a Democratic majority, she won't be able to get judicial nominations through the Senate, and maybe not even her cabinet. Under current Senate rules, a minority can still filibuster Supreme Court nominations (but not other judicial nominations) and legislation, but if Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) becomes majority leader, that could change.

Clinton's message has been subtly changing recently. Instead of harping on what a disaster a Trump presidency would be, she is talking about how only with a Democratic majority in both chambers of Congress could the gridlock in Washington be broken. Taking back the Senate is probably doable if Clinton wins by 5 points or more. Republican incumbents are fighting tough battles in about eight or nine states, whereas Democrats are defending only one difficult seat, in Nevada.

Taking back the House will be much more difficult due to gerrymandering. Nevertheless, if Democrats can cut into the Republicans' majority and reduce it to, say, 10 seats, it will put Paul Ryan in a terrible bind. The speaker is elected by the entire House, not by the majority party. If the Freedom Caucus decides to vote for one of its members as speaker, Ryan won't have enough votes to keep his job. In that case, he may be forced to cut a deal with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). The deal might be something along the lines of: "I'll tell my members to vote for you as speaker if you agree to let an immigration bill come to the floor and let every member vote his or her conscience on it, with no pressure from you to oppose it." Such a deal would drive the Freedom Caucus members crazy, but there wouldn't be much they could do about it. Of course, if the Republicans have a massive majority in the House, Ryan could get elected speaker without help from the Democrats, so the size of his majority does matter. Clinton, of course, knows all this very well, which is why she is also doing her best for Democratic House candidates where that could make a difference. (V)

What It's Like to Be a Target of Trump Supporters

Donald Trump's most fervent supporters are not big fans of Muslims, or Mexican immigrants, or Democrats, or Black Lives Matter, or a host of other groups. However, some of their fiercest vitriol is reserved for those on the right who dare to oppose their candidate. The National Review's David French has written a disturbing piece about what it's like to be on the receiving end of their anger.

For example, French's daughter is African American, having been adopted from Ethiopia. He has been advised many times that this means he is "race-cucking" or "raising the enemy." Further:

I saw images of my daughter's face in gas chambers, with a smiling Trump in a Nazi uniform preparing to press a button and kill her. I saw her face photo-shopped into images of slaves. She was called a "niglet" and a "dindu." The alt-right unleashed on my wife, Nancy, claiming that she had slept with black men while I was deployed to Iraq, and that I loved to watch while she had sex with "black bucks." People sent her pornographic images of black men having sex with white women, with someone photoshopped to look like me, watching.

Beyond the sexual stuff and the photoshopped images, French and his wife have had their lives threatened many times. They have had people hack into their phone calls. They have had to call the police, in fear that intruders had broken into their house. As a result of all this, they have found it necessary to get concealed weapons permits, and to train their entire family in gun usage. French observes that, "I have contributed to National Review for more than ten years now, and have been deeply involved in many of America's most emotional culture-war battles for more than 20. I've never experienced anything like this before." We can only hope that 2016 is an aberration, and not the new normal. (Z)

Clinton Is Getting Serious about Utah

Maybe Hillary Clinton thinks she has a chance to win Utah, or maybe she is just feinting to force Donald Trump to spend money in a very red state, but Clinton is adding staff and sending surrogates to Utah. Recent polling has shown the state to be a three-way statistical tie among Clinton, Trump, and independent candidate Evan McMullin. Five new Clinton staffers are going to be setting up shop in the Beehive State this week. Clinton recently set up a "Mormons for Hillary" group there, and also wrote an op-ed for the influential Deseret News. So far, there are no plans for Clinton or Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) to campaign in Utah in person, but that could change if Clinton's chief pollster—Joel Benenson—thinks she really has a shot at Utah's 6 electoral votes. (V)

Did Trump Try Pay to Play with a Woman?

Appearing at a news conference in Los Angeles Saturday, Jessica Drake became the latest woman to lodge accusations of inappropriate sexual behavior against Donald Trump. She says that she met the GOP nominee in 2006 and was invited to visit his hotel suite. Drake recalls that when she appeared, accompanied by two friends, "He grabbed each of us tightly, in a hug and kissed each one of us without asking permission." She says that she left after half an hour, and later got a phone call from a Trump assistant asking her to return alone, and offering $10,000 and the use of The Donald's private jet. Drake declined.

The Trump campaign declared that, "This story is totally false and ridiculous," and made clear that Drake is going be added to the list of people who are going to be sued for slander. It's looking like there are going to be a lot of lawsuits by the time we get to Election Day. (Z)

Adelson Fed Up with Trump

Most of the biggest GOP donors, like the Kochs, decided to sit this one out when it became clear that Donald Trump would be the candidate. The most generous donor who did not jump ship is casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who pledged $100 million to help elect Trump. But now, Adelson is reportedly finished with The Donald, and will cut off the cash spigot at the $25 million he's already given.

Adelson has not commented publicly, but behind the scenes, he is reportedly irritated by Trump's missteps and his failure to seize upon opportunities, like the Wikileaks emails. He's also tired of hearing about the media and about "crooked Hillary," tired of attacks on Paul Ryan and other Republicans, and wants Trump to talk more about policy. There's also a personal element to this, as Adelson—who had an acrimonious relationship with Trump before the campaign ever started—feels his advice has not been treated like the diamond-encrusted gold that it is. Apparently, Adelson has never been advised that a tiger can't change its stripes. He should have known better. (Z)

Trump Could Run Nixon's Playbook on November 9

Donald Trump may have backed himself into a corner. On one hand, he has made clear many times that he does not intend to accept the election results if Hillary Clinton wins. On the other hand, he could look pretty silly if the results are overwhelming, and he can't actually provide evidence of fraud. CNN's Julian Zelizer has pondered this quandary, and suggests that Richard Nixon, circa 1962, could provide a template for how Trump might extract himself.

In that year, Nixon—by then a former vice-president, and a narrow loser in the presidential election of 1960—was running for governor of California. He and his staff thought victory was in the bag, but when the returns were counted, Democrat Pat Brown won by five points. Nixon was bitter, angry, skeptical of the results, and persuaded that the media had done him in. Sound familiar? He declined to concede on election night, throwing something of a mini-tantrum. The next morning, when it was clear that Brown had won handily, Nixon dashed off a brief note of concession, and then apparently left his staff to deal with the press. As campaign press secretary Herbert Klein tried to concede on his boss' behalf, Nixon appeared suddenly, briefly acknowledged his loss, and then launched into an extended harangue against the press, including his famous declaration, "You won't have Nixon to kick around anymore because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference."

This was not Tricky Dick's finest hour, of course, and it caused many to predict (incorrectly) that he had just committed political suicide. Still, it allowed Nixon—who had a huge ego, and was hypersensitive to criticism—to acknowledge defeat in a manner that he felt saved face. It might well be that Trump, who is Nixonian in many ways, could see things in the same way. (Z)

Voter Fraud in Indiana?

Voter fraud is a big story in Indiana these days. Actually, it's two different big stories. The first involves claims by Secretary of State Connie Lawson (R) that she has found thousands of "fraudulent" voter registration forms, in which voters' first names and birth dates were incorrect. The discrepancies were discovered when these voters attempted to check their registration status online, and were unable to do so due to the incorrect data. Lawson claims that "someone" deliberately changed the forms before they were input, though other Republican officials say that is just one possible explanation. Another is human error, and yet another is that Indiana's Statewide Voter Registration System was compromised by hackers.

The second big story centers on the group Patriot Majority USA, which, despite what its name might suggest, is primarily focused on registering black voters. Some of the tens of thousands of registrations they collected—as many as several hundred, or as few as a dozen, it's unclear—reportedly contained false information. Consequently, the Indiana State Police raided the offices of Patriot Majority USA, arrested several people there, and seized all of the voter registration forms they had collected. This could have the effect of keeping 45,000 Hoosiers—many of them black—from voting.

The fact that these two stories broke so close to each other naturally has people asking questions about the involvement of Indiana governor and GOP vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence. It is well within the realm of possibility that he's working behind the scenes to keep his state, and its Class 3 Senate seat, in Republican hands. The police raid, which goes far beyond the usual handling of such cases, certainly gives credence to that hypothesis. It is unlikely that this will be untangled in time for the 2016 election, but depending on what we learn in the next year or two, this could certainly become Pence's version of Bridgegate. (Z)

Log Cabin Republicans Reject Trump

The Log Cabin Republicans, a conservative gay group, applauded Donald Trump for being the most LBGTQ friendly Republican presidential candidate in history, and then promptly decided not to endorse him. The group's leaders noted that while Trump himself may not be bigoted against LGBTQ people, he has surrounded himself with advisers with records of opposing LBGTQ equality. Many of them support the First Amendment Defense Act, a bill introduced into the Senate by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and into the House by Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID). If enacted into law, it would make it legal for people and companies to refuse to do business with same-sex couples. The Log Cabin Republicans oppose this bill. (V)

Elections Really Were Rigged--Long Ago

Donald Trump has repeatedly said the election is going to be "rigged," without producing a shred of evidence to substantiate his claim. However, in the 19th century, elections were commonly rigged. Up through the 1880s, the political parties ran the elections and printed the ballots, all voting was public, and candidates were chosen by the party leaders, typically after receiving bribes. Only in 1888 did the Australian (i.e., secret) ballot make its way to America, when the city of Louisville adopted it. Other cities and states soon adopted it and then state governments began running elections.

The claim of "rigging" is just one part of a larger "culture of grievance," first brought out into the open by Sarah Palin in 2008. She played brilliantly to blue-collar white Americans, especially men, who were reeling from breathtaking cultural, demographic, and economic changes, none of which they liked. Like King Canute, she promised to turn back the tide, and was about as successful as he was at doing so. Trump is now promising the same thing that she was, and his followers hope and pray he can bring back the 1950s. In other words, the claim isn't only about rigged elections. More generally, it is about a large group of people who suddenly have found themselves in a very different country than they grew up in, and they are lashing out, not only at the elections per se, but at the media, at the elites, at universities, and many other groups and forces they cannot control. (V)

Professors Sticking By Models, Predictions of Trump Victory

Way back in March, a pair of academics made headlines with their predictions of a Donald Trump victory in November. Helmut Norpoth, of SUNY Stonybook, has a statistical model that he says works for every election since 1912, except 1960. Allan Lichtman, of American University, uses a series of 13 true/false questions, or "keys," that he says has enabled him to project every winner since 1984.

To their credit, perhaps, both men are sticking with their models and their predictions to the bitter end. Lichtman has it with seven "keys" for Trump, versus six for Clinton, which he says translates into a narrow Trump victory. The professor hedges his bets a bit, though, noting that, "I believe that given the unprecedented nature of the Trump candidacy and Trump himself, he could defy all odds and lose even though the verdict of history is in his favor." In other words, Lichtman is kind of covered regardless of the outcome, though a Hillary blowout will leave him with some egg on his face, and explaining to reporters in 2020 how well his model works with "traditional" candidates.

Norpoth, by contrast, is not waffling at all. He insists that Trump still has an 87% chance of victory, and that the polls are all "bunk." His reasoning is that pollsters are asking for "opinions" and not "actions," and that the two don't line up. He seems to be unaware that most pollsters control for this very problem by asking respondents whether or not they intend to vote (hence the term "likely voters").

In any case, these predictions created some anxiety amongst Democrats back when they were originally made, because they ostensibly had scholarly heft. We avoided commenting at the time for fear of giving them more attention than they deserve, but now we can reveal what we thought then: Lichtman and Norpoth are peddling pseudoscientific nonsense. Lichtman's keys involve far too much subjectivity. For example, Number 10 is, "The incumbent administration suffers no major failure in foreign or military affairs." Outside of something very plain, like the Bay of Pigs, this could easily go either way. Did Barack Obama have any major failures? Syria? Afghanistan? Libya? Paris? If those count, then it is hard to imagine any president who makes it through even four years without triggering the key. Meanwhile, it is remarkable that Norpoth can even keep a straight face when he claims that the election of 1912 or 1932 or 1956 is somehow relevant to and predictive of what might happen in 2016.

It's also worth keeping in mind that most presidential elections aren't all that close. Since 1932, there have only been maybe four or five elections (1948, 1960, maybe 1968, maybe 1976, 2000) that were in any sort of doubt on Election Day, and for one of those—2000—both predictions are arguably correct. It's therefore not all that hard to build a model that has an "impressive" track record for accuracy. Heck, if you just pick the obvious favorite in elections that have one, and then flip a coin for the rest, you'd still be batting about .900 for the past century. This is worth keeping in mind when a professor or two comes out of the woodwork in January of 2020, confidently predicting the inauguration of President Cruz. (Z)

Today's Presidential Polls

Michigan looks fairly safe for Hillary Clinton. (V)

State Clinton Trump Johnson Start End Pollster
Michigan 41% 36% 7% Oct 16 Oct 19 Marketing Resource Grp.

Today's Senate Polls

Has Gov. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) really broken away from Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)? It seems unlikely. This poll is surely an outlier. (V)

State Democrat D % Republican R % Start End Pollster
New Hampshire Maggie Hassan 48% Kelly Ayotte* 39% Oct 11 Oct 17 U. of New Hampshire

* Denotes incumbent

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Oct22 Early Ballots in Swing States Favor Democrats
Oct22 Trump Math Just Doesn't Add Up
Oct22 Money Talks
Oct22 Trump to Speak at Gettysburg
Oct22 Only Half of Republican Voters Would Accept Clinton as President
Oct22 What Would Happen if Trump Loses and Does Not Concede?
Oct22 Clinton Preparing for the Possibility that She Wins but Trump Won't Concede
Oct22 Clinton Releases Devastating New Ad
Oct22 Clinton Transition Team Gets to Work
Oct22 Wikileaks Claims Responsibility for Internet Outage
Oct22 Back-room Maneuvering for the DNC Chairmanship Is Starting
Oct22 Evan Bayh Under Fire
Oct22 Richard Branson Describes a Tale of Two Lunches
Oct22 Presidential Candidate Released from Hospital after Bout with Pneumonia
Oct22 Senate Starting to Look Brighter for Democrats
Oct22 Early Ballots in Swing States Favor Democrats
Oct22 Trump Math Just Doesn't Add Up
Oct22 Money Talks
Oct22 Trump to Speak at Gettysburg
Oct22 Only Half of Republican Voters Would Accept Clinton as President
Oct22 What Would Happen if Trump Loses and Does Not Concede?
Oct22 Clinton Preparing for the Possibility that She Wins but Trump Won't Concede
Oct22 Clinton Releases Devastating New Ad
Oct22 Clinton Transition Team Gets to Work
Oct22 Wikileaks Claims Responsibility for Internet Outage
Oct22 Back-room Maneuvering for the DNC Chairmanship Is Starting
Oct22 Evan Bayh Under Fire
Oct22 Richard Branson Describes a Tale of Two Lunches
Oct22 Presidential Candidate Released from Hospital after Bout with Pneumonia
Oct21 Debate Takeaways Galore
Oct21 Third Presidential Debate Postmortem
Oct21 Why Clinton Went for the Kill
Oct21 Trump Tweeted That He Won the Debate
Oct21 Betting Markets Don't Look Good for Trump
Oct21 Could the Election Be Rigged?
Oct21 Whither the GOP?
Oct21 What Would Trump TV Look Like?
Oct21 Facebook's Algorithm May Kill Democracy
Oct21 Larry Sabato Shocks CNN with a Prediction of 352 Electoral Votes for Clinton
Oct20 Third Debate is Dangerously...Presidential
Oct20 Clinton Aiming at Breaking 50%
Oct20 Clinton Leading with White Catholics
Oct20 Write-in Votes Do Not Count in Most States
Oct20 McMullin Leads in Utah
Oct20 New Landmark: 200 Million People Are Registered to Vote
Oct19 The Final Debate Is Tonight
Oct19 Six Witnesses Corroborate Natasha Stoynoff's Story of Being Assaulted by Trump
Oct19 Millennials Are Starting to Come Around to Clinton
Oct19 Trump Will Host Obama at Debate
Oct19 Trump Wants Term Limits for Congress