Clinton 303
image description
Ties 44
Trump 191
image description
Click for Senate
Dem 49
image description
Ties 2
GOP 49
image description
  • Strongly Dem (215)
  • Likely Dem (48)
  • Barely Dem (40)
  • Exactly tied (44)
  • Barely GOP (46)
  • Likely GOP (50)
  • Strongly GOP (95)
270 Electoral votes needed to win This date in 2012 2008
New polls: AZ NC NY PA WI
Dem pickups vs. 2012: (None)
GOP pickups vs. 2012: (None)

Trump Resumes Hard Line on Immigration

Donald Trump had a whirlwind day on Wednesday, first traveling to Mexico to meet with President Enrique Peña Nieto, then visiting Arizona, where he delivered his long-awaited major address on immigration. As predicted, The Donald left some people very happy, some very angry, and had absolutely everyone talking.

The meeting took place in the presidential residence in Mexico City, and involved both a private chat and a public exchange of remarks. Immediately after, Trump seemed to have gained the upper hand. He got a chilly reception in Mexico, yes, but he's not trying to appeal to Mexican voters, and the voters he is trying to attract probably like it that he's hated in Mexico. Meanwhile, Trump got some photo-ops with a foreign leader, which made him look very presidential. Peña Nieto, meanwhile, was ripped to shreds by the Mexican commentariat for abetting Trump's electoral chances.

By the late afternoon, however, things began to balance out. On his return to the United States, Trump was asked the single-most obvious question: "Is Mexico going to pay for the wall?" He said that the question had not been discussed, but Peña Nieto quickly pounced and said it had. Taking to Twitter, he declared (in Spanish), "At the start of the conversation with Donald Trump, I made it clear that Mexico will not pay for the wall." Thus, we are left to decide who is telling the truth, and who is not. For those who are having a hard time choosing, CNN has helpfully put together a list of meetings where Trump managed to hear something different from what was actually said.

Meanwhile, the immigration speech took place on Wednesday evening in front of a raucous (but relatively small) crowd of 5,000, who punctuated the address with chants of "Build the wall!" and "Lock her up!" There was so much red meat for the base that ushers should really have been handing out Lipitor at the doors. Trump began by expressing his "tremendous feeling for Mexican-Americans," and then offering a litany of ways in which undocumented immigrants are ruining America. If Mexican-Americans are wonderful, and undocumented Mexicans are horrible, it seems like there's an easy solution here, but that's not how Trump sees it. He insisted that there would be no path to citizenship or amnesty, and that all 11 million people in the United States illegally would be subject to action. "You can call it deported if you want. The press doesn't like that term. You can call it whatever the hell you want. They're gone," Trump declared. He also said that he would hire a huge number of new Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents who would be tasked with deportation. The ICE agents are a new detail, as is Trump's semi-acknowledgement that the deportations would take years, rather than happening instantaneously. Still, substantively, he's exactly where he was at the start of the campaign. So much for "softening."

It's not just deportations where Trump is back at square one, either. He alluded indirectly to his Muslim-banning plan on Wednesday, saying, "It's our right as a sovereign nation to choose immigrants that we think are the likeliest to thrive and flourish and love us." And despite his squabbling with Peña Nieto, he's also sticking with the Mexican wall shtick. "Mexico will pay for the wall! 100%!" he thundered. "They don't know it yet, but they're going to pay for the wall." The building of the wall is highly tenuous, Mexico paying for it even more so, but the crowd was 100% convinced that it's going to happen.

The reaction to the speech was swift. The far right wing of the GOP was thrilled. David Duke, for example, issued forth with a series of enthusiastic tweets, while Ann Coulter called it "the most magnificent speech ever given." Take that, Abraham Lincoln. On the other hand, several of Trump's Latino advisers promptly withdrew their support.

So, did Trump help his campaign on Wednesday? It is very hard to see how. Photo-ops with Enrique Peña Nieto convey gravitas, but arguing with him just hours later does not. Meanwhile, the speech will undoubtedly connect, but with voters that Trump already had in the bag. It is simply inconceivable that any fence-sitters would have been won over to Trump by what they heard—if virulent America-first rhetoric was what they really wanted to hear, they wouldn't still be fence sitters. The Clinton campaign certainly sees things in this way. According to a spokesman, they were a little distraught after the confab with Peña Nieto, but then relaxed after what they're calling the "Nuremburg Speech." They also did not issue a direct statement in response to Trump's address; instead, they distributed the flattering remarks offered up by Duke, Coulter, and other fringy types, making the unsubtle point that "this is who Trump speaks for." Polls suggested that perhaps The Donald had gained a bit of ground in the last week, but surely those gains—if real—were squandered on Wednesday night.

Hillary Clinton's campaign reacted almost immediately to Trump's trip by releasing a video that attacks him where he claims to be strong: his negotiating skills. It starts with video of clips of Trump at rallies asking the crowd who will pay for the wall, to which it roars "Mexico." This is followed by a clip from Trump's press conference yesterday saying he and the Mexican president didn't discuss who would pay for the wall, contradicting what Peña Nieto had said earlier. The ad rips Trump for choking and then lying about it. It ends calling him a bad negotiator, something that goes to the core of what Trump claims is his great strength. (Z & V)

Supreme Court: North Carolina Voter ID Law May Not Be Enforced in 2016

After the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder in June 2013, Republican state legislatures began passing laws making it harder to vote in various ways, including imposing photo ID requirements, and cutting down on days and hours of voting, if possible. North Carolina was one of the states that passed a law making voting harder, especially for minorities and poor people who frequently lack ID, and even the birth certificates needed to get ID. These people often have jobs with no possibility of taking time off from work to go to a state office that may be open only a few hours in the middle of the day to get the needed ID. The Dept. of Justice sued North Carolina, and a ruling by District Judge Thomas Schroeder upheld the law. But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit wasn't impressed with his 485-page ruling and reversed Schroeder, saying that the law was surgically tailored to make it harder for Democrats to vote. For example, the law allows driver's licenses and U.S. passports as valid IDs, but deems photo IDs issued by state colleges and state welfare agencies as invalid. The appeals court could not think of any conceivable reason for the disparity, except to target Democrats (since students and poor people are strongly Democratic constituencies). North Carolina appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, asking it to stay the decision of the 4th Circuit Court.

It takes five votes on the Supreme Court to issue a stay (suspension), and as usual on anything controversial and partisan, the Court split 4-4, so the stay was denied. This means the decision of the 4th Circuit court is binding on (only) the states in the 4th Circuit (Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina). The result is a huge victory for the Democrats for the moment, since North Carolina may not impose photo ID requirements this election. Eventually the case will be decided on its merits by the full Supreme Court, and that will be entirely dependent on who wins the presidential election and gets to appoint the ninth justice. And you thought the administration of justice didn't depend on politics. Silly you. (V)

Republican Senators Won Their Primaries with Amazing Ease

Donald Trump's grabbing the Republican nomination is clearly the biggest surprise of the year, but #2 is how easily Republican senators this year won their primaries. The average senator beat his closest opponent by 54 points. It wasn't always like this. In 2014, Pat Roberts (R-KS), Thad Cochran (R-MS), and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had very close primaries. In 2012, former Indiana senator Richard Lugar lost his primary; so did Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Bob Bennett in 2010. But this year, despite the drama in the presidential race, Republican Senate incumbents did just fine. (V)

Trump Is on the Air, But Less Than Advertised

A week ago, the Trump campaign trumpeted that it was going to spend $10 million on ads in nine states this week. Now that the time has actually been reserved and the ads are starting, it turns out to be just under $5.3 million, and only in five states (Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania). In his books, Trump has often said that exaggerating your position (what other people call lying) and strength is a powerful negotiating tool, and clearly he is using that during his campaign.

As in the "Adventure of Silver Blaze" (i.e., "the dog that didn't bark" story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), where Trump is not advertising is as interesting as where he is advertising. He is not up in Colorado, Virginia, or New Mexico. Neither is Hillary Clinton. This strongly suggests that the campaigns agree on something: all three states, and their combined 27 electoral votes, are likely to go to Clinton and it is too late for ads. Combined with her 242 "blue wall" states, Clinton is likely to get at least 269 EVs. All she needs is one more. (V)

Trump Just Booting Up in Florida

In early August, Donald Trump said he would soon have 24 offices open in Florida. Currently there are zero offices open. The former executive director of the Republican Party of Florida said: "It's troubling. Where are they? Where are they? We remain hopeful." Karen Giorno, a senior Trump advisor who oversees Florida, said: "The leases are being signed." Trump's salvation may be the RNC, which is opening a slew of offices nationwide. It intends to open 100 offices and hire 400 staffers to run them. Time is getting short however. Furthermore, Clinton has a huge lead in the ground war. In the 11 key swing states, Trump has 50 offices in total, compared to the 200 Clinton has, so he is definitely playing catch-up.

The widespread use of absentee ballots means Trump and the RNC really have to get moving fast. The ballots will be mailed out in many states starting in September. In some states, votes cast by mail-in absentee ballots can be as much as half the total vote. The Democrats are preparing a huge effort to get people to vote as early as possible. Once those votes have been cast, they can't be changed later, even if Trump begins to do better and more people decide he is acceptable after all. Since Trump is also slow to get going in the air war, the ground war is crucially important. (V)

Grassley Sees the Handwriting on the Wall

Not on Donald Trump's wall. On that other wall. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA), yesterday said he is open to considering Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court in a lame duck session of the Senate after the election (English translation: Hillary is going to win and stick us with a much younger and more liberal nominee, so let's cut our losses). Currently, the official Republican position is that the next president should make the appointment, so if Grassley means what he said, he is rejecting the Republican position. Of course, the real Republican position is: "We want the most conservative nominee we can get and don't care who does the nominating." If Trump wins, there is zero chance Garland will be considered in a lame-duck session of the Senate, but if Clinton wins, Grassley might well be willing to toss the official Republican position out the window and quick-like-a- bunny approve Garland for fear of Clinton giving him someone he likes even less. Also, there is a fair chance he won't be chairman of the Judiciary Committee come January, but merely ranking member on Chairman Pat Leahy's committee. (V)

Sunnis and Shiites in America

Thomas Friedman wrote a column about how America has become like the Middle East. There, the Sunnis and Shiites hate each other now, have hated each other for 1,300 years, and will probably continue to hate each other for another 1,300 years. The split occurred in 632, after Mohammed died. Some people thought religious leaders should elect his successor, and others thought succession should be hereditary, so his son-in-law should take over. The schism has lasted to this day.

Friedman makes the point that America has the red staters against the blue staters, with almost nothing in between. They live different lives, have different views of the world, think the other ones are simply wrong, and see no solution except imposing their will on the other side. The only politics they know is scorched-earth politics. If your side is ahead in some way and in some place, why should you concede anything to "them" if victory is within your grasp? If your side is weak, you can't compromise without giving away the store. Sunnis stick with Sunnis and Shiites stick with Shiites. It's rule or die, baby. Nothing else matters. Exactly the same with the Democrats and Republicans. Sad, but largely true. (V)

What Are the Candidates' Positions on All the Issues?

An organization called ProCon has produced a website with an amazingly detailed list of issues and the stands of Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Gary Johnson, and Jill Stein on (almost) all 70 issues the group has focused on. The issues are grouped into these broad themes:

  • Crime and Justice
  • Economy and Taxes
  • Education
  • Elections
  • Energy
  • Foreign policy
  • Guns/Second Amendment
  • Health Care, Abortion, and End-of-life issues
  • Immigration
  • Labor and Wages
  • Marijuana and alcohol
  • Military and war on terror
  • Race
  • Science and Environment
  • Sex and Gender

Each of these is further subdivided into more specific issues, such as "Parental consent for teen abortions," "fracking," "NSA surveillance," and "gun control." For each issue, the editors have created a page quoting the candidates' speeches or websites on the issue. In some cases, candidates who ran in the primaries are also listed, along with their positions. Everything is sourced. In some cases, no position could be found, but it is an amazingly thorough compendium of positions. For example, did you know that Jill Stein and Mike Huckabee have the same position on reinstating Glass-Steagall? Both are for doing so. (V)

Today's Presidential Polls

The main takeaway in the presidential polls today is that Clinton is still ahead in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, but it may be closer than some earlier polls suggest. But these could just be fluctuations. (V)

State Clinton Trump Johnson Start End Pollster
Arizona 40% 44% 8% Aug 27 Aug 27 Gravis
North Carolina 43% 45% 8% Aug 27 Aug 29 Emerson College
New York 52% 34% 8% Aug 28 Aug 30 Emerson College
Pennsylvania 41% 38% 7% Aug 25 Aug 29 Franklin+Marshall Coll.
Wisconsin 41% 38% 10% Aug 25 Aug 28 Marquette Law School
Wisconsin 43% 38% 7% Aug 27 Aug 30 Monmouth U.

Today's Senate Polls

No real news here. These polls closely agree with previous ones. (V)

State Democrat D % Republican R % Start End Pollster
North Carolina Deborah Ross 41% Richard Burr* 45% Aug 27 Aug 29 Emerson College
New York Chuck Schumer* 60% Wendy Long 23% Aug 28 Aug 30 Emerson College
Pennsylvania Katie McGinty 43% Pat Toomey* 38% Aug 25 Aug 29 Franklin+Marshall Coll.
Wisconsin Russ Feingold 48% Ron Johnson* 45% Aug 25 Aug 28 Marquette Law School
Wisconsin Russ Feingold 54% Ron Johnson* 41% Aug 27 Aug 30 Monmouth U.

* Denotes incumbent

Email a link to a friend or share:

---The Votemaster and Zenger
Aug31 Incumbents Triumph in Florida, Arizona
Aug31 Trump to Meet with President of Mexico Today
Aug31 Clinton Will Use Psychological Warfare Against Trump in Debates
Aug31 Trump Hired Foreign Models in Violation of U.S. Law
Aug31 Judge Curiel Rules that Trump University Case Can Proceed
Aug31 FBI Will Release Report of Clinton Email Investigation
Aug31 Koch Brothers Pull Portman Ads
Aug31 U.S. Chamber of Commerce Opposes Bayh in Indiana
Aug30 Election Security, Already a Contentious Issue, Is Getting Worse
Aug30 Today's Trump Campaign Management Drama
Aug30 The Trump-GOP Long Game
Aug30 Why Trump Would Hate the Presidency
Aug30 It Is Debate or Bust for Johnson
Aug30 McCain Is Fighting for His Political Life
Aug30 Could the U.S. Adopt a Multiparty System?
Aug30 Abedin, Weiner Split
Aug30 Election Security, Already a Contentious Issue, Is Getting Worse
Aug30 Today's Trump Campaign Management Drama
Aug30 The Trump-GOP Long Game
Aug30 Why Trump Would Hate the Presidency
Aug30 It Is Debate or Bust for Johnson
Aug30 McCain Is Fighting for His Political Life
Aug30 Could the U.S. Adopt a Multiparty System?
Aug30 Abedin, Wiener Split
Aug29 Trump's Feud with the Pope is Starting to Pay Dividends--to Clinton
Aug29 College Republicans Have a Real Problem
Aug29 Trump Blasted for Wade Tweet
Aug29 Was He Raised by Wolves?
Aug29 Is There Precedent for a Trump Comeback?
Aug29 Trump Immigration Speech Is Back On
Aug29 Trump Hires Bill Stepien
Aug29 Debbie Wasserman Schultz's Future Is on the Line Tomorrow
Aug29 Helping People Leave the Country Has Become a Cottage Industry
Aug28 Trump Has a Long History of Racial Discrimination
Aug28 Who is the KKK Candidate?
Aug28 The Candidates' Debate Prep Styles Couldn't Be More Different
Aug28 In New Ad, Clinton Attacks Trump for Making His Merchandise Overseas
Aug28 Pence Is Fulfilling His Attack Dog Role Well
Aug28 Republican Strategists Look Beyond Trump
Aug28 How Will Gary Johnson Do on Election Day?
Aug28 Holton's Job Is to Make People Like Hillary Clinton
Aug28 Old Polls Added to the Database
Aug27 Trump Doubles Down on Calling Clinton a Bigot
Aug27 Bannon Registered to Vote in an Empty House
Aug27 Bannon May Have Made Anti-Semitic Remarks
Aug27 Teamsters Back Clinton
Aug27 Trump's Doctor Wrote Health Report in 5 Minutes
Aug27 Clinton Foundation Causing Headaches from All Sides for Hillary
Aug27 Hillary Clinton's First Term Was Peaceful
Aug27 Johnson Is Running Radio Ads in Swing States