Clinton 297
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Ties 44
Trump 197
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Click for Senate
Dem 50
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Ties 1
GOP 49
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  • Strongly Dem (198)
  • Likely Dem (62)
  • Barely Dem (37)
  • Exactly tied (44)
  • Barely GOP (46)
  • Likely GOP (50)
  • Strongly GOP (101)
270 Electoral votes needed to win This date in 2012 2008
New polls: IA KS NC VA WV
Dem pickups vs. 2012: (None)
GOP pickups vs. 2012: IA

Debate Moderators Named

The bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates revealed the names of the four debate moderators yesterday. NBC's Lester Holt will moderate the crucial first debate on Sept. 26 at Hofstra University on Long Island. ABC's Martha Raddatz and CNN's Anderson Cooper will team up to moderate a town-hall style event on Oct. 9 at Washington University in St. Louis. Fox News' Chris Wallace will handle the third debate, on Oct. 19 at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. The runner up was Elaine Quijano of CBS, who will moderate the face-off between Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN) on Oct. 4 at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia. Since all four debates are being held at universities, we can no doubt expect a high-level intellectual discussion of the issues, in a mud-free environment. Or maybe not. (V)

Clinton E-Mail Report Released

As promised, the FBI made public their report on Hillary Clinton's e-mail server. It says, in written form, exactly what FBI Director James Comey communicated in verbal form: Clinton was careless, and was woefully ill-informed about what she was doing. Fairly instructive in terms of how poorly Clinton & Co. grasp the nuances of technology is a story that when old Blackberries needed to be "wiped," the work was done by smashing them with a hammer. For those who want more gory details, Politico has compiled a "greatest hits" list of the 12 juiciest bits.

We do not know anything new and important now that we did not know a week ago, so the primary impact of today's release will be to return the e-mail server to the headlines, such that the GOP can resume wielding it as a hammer to strike Clinton over the head. On cue, Donald Trump railed against his opponent, declaring that she's either lying about the emails or that "she's not an intelligent person." If form holds, the e-mails will again recede from view next week, only to return once the contents of the newly-discovered trove of messages are revealed. So, Clinton won't be getting rid of this particular headache anytime soon. Or ever. (Z)

Trump's Campaign Is Run by Volunteers

Donald Trump loves to talk about how he is a great negotiator who can make great deals, and as far as his campaign staff goes, it appears to be true. Ten of the top people in his campaign are not being paid. These include his former campaign manager Paul Manafort, Manafort's deputy Rick Gates, his finance chairman Steve Mnuchin, his national political director Rick Wiley, and half a dozen others at the top. Not paying top campaign staff is extremely unusual. In contrast, Hillary Clinton's campaign manager, Robby Mook, earns $10,000 a month. The difference between the campaigns is largely that Trump "hires" extremely wealthy people to work with him, and for these people $10,000 a month more or less means zilch. (V)

About Trump and Roger Ailes...

Slate's Michelle Goldberg makes an interesting observation. Roger Ailes was just fired from Fox for conducting a widespread and decades-long campaign of intimidation and sexual harassment against his employees. Normally, that sort of thing is a career-ender. Ailes, however, has transitioned smoothly into a role as adviser to Donald Trump, a man who could be president.

It would seem that Trump's campaign management is aware that this should be a black eye. Kellyanne Conway was on Rachel Maddow's show recently, and declared that Ailes has nothing to do with the campaign. This despite the fact that video evidence—including footage of Ailes and Conway attending meetings together—says otherwise. In any case, perhaps Conway's spin is working. Or perhaps Trump has worked with so many people that have a history of ill-treatment of women that one more doesn't raise eyebrows. Or perhaps people don't take sexual harassment seriously. Whatever the case may be, it really is remarkable that Ailes' involvement is flying almost entirely under the radar. (Z)

New Poll: Clinton Is as Unpopular as Trump

Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are deeply unpopular, but until now, Trump was even less popular than Clinton. Now a new ABC/WaPo poll shows that she has essentially caught up with him. Among registered voters, 59% have an unfavorable opinion of Clinton and 60% have an unfavorable opinion of Trump. The rise in her unpopularity may be due to the spate of news stories this week about the Clinton Foundation. Until this election, the most unpopular candidate ever was George H.W. Bush, who was disliked by 53% of the voters in July 1992. (V)

Democratic Advisers Are Expecting a Landslide Victory

One of the paid consultants to Hillary Clinton's campaign, Jeff Berman, was quoted yesterday in Politico saying: "Hillary Clinton has many paths to 270 electoral votes, more than any candidate in a generation." He and other consultants see no way Donald Trump can possibly win Pennsylvania or New Hampshire, two potential battlegrounds. Colorado, Virginia, and New Mexico are probably lost causes for the Republicans, and these states plus the "blue wall" add up to 273 electoral votes. Ohio, Florida, Iowa, and Nevada are perennial battlegrounds, but in this view they are just a bunch of cherries on the sundae.

With this as a base and her haul of $143 million in August, plus a super PAC that is on track to bring in double what it did for Obama in 2012, Clinton is expanding the field and putting serious effort into Arizona, Utah, Georgia, and especially North Carolina—the easiest of the four to add to the states Obama won in 2012. Her biggest problem is to avoid becoming overconfident. It is essential that her voters think that the race is nip and tuck, and that their vote is essential. With the race tightening in the past week, it is possible that overconfidence will soon turn to angst. (V)

Fallout From Trump Immigration Speech Continues

For a week or two, Donald Trump walked both sides of the street when it came to immigration, with the result that he was alienating Republican partisans on both sides of the issue. His speech on Wednesday was designed to resolve that problem, by making very clear where he stands. Of course, embracing the immigrant-averse wing of the party necessarily meant turning his back on those who would prefer a more measured policy. Now, quite a few interested parties are making clear their displeasure.

To start with, many of Trump's Latino advisers have resigned, or signaled that they are likely to do so. RealClearPolitics, in fact, is calling it an "exodus." Trump's son Eric says he is shocked by this response. If this is true, then one wonders what he thought would happen.

Meanwhile, recent polling suggests that Trump's support among Latinos has fallen to its lowest level of the campaign. A survey conducted by Latino Decisions, for example, says that Hillary Clinton leads Trump among Latino voters 70 to 19. By way of contrast, Mitt Romney took 27 percent of the Latino vote in 2012 (and was, of course, crushed by Barack Obama). Further, only 21 percent of Latinos say the Republican Party truly cares about the Latino community.

So, Trump isn't just hurting himself with Latino voters, he's hurting the GOP long-term. This is very bad for the Republican Party, as they hope to tap into that constituency in the future. Chairman Reince Priebus knows this as well as anyone, and so was furious at the hard-line speech. The RNC was prepared to congratulate Trump on Twitter and via a press release for adopting a more moderate, statesmanlike stance on immigration. When he decided to throw the gauntlet down instead, they took the unusual—and very pointed—step of issuing no statement whatsoever. Once again, then, it is unclear whether or not the Trump Campaign and the Party apparatus will be able to play nice together, at a time when Trump badly needs their help with ground game. (Z)

The Real Trumpettes of Bel Air

While the core of Donald Trump's support comes from blue-collar men, there are pockets of support geographically, ideologically, and—especially—financially far, far removed from his base. A group of very wealthy high-society women founded Trumpettes USA to support the real estate billionaire. They don't want to be traitors to their class.

At a gathering in the home of socialite Toni Holt Kramer in fancy Bel Air, California, the unsubtly wealthy women were completely unmoved by criticism of Trump as a racist ("Black Lives Matter and all that bullshit"), and some don't think a woman should be president ("You think ISIS is going to listen to her?"). One of their regrets is that Trump dropped the birther issue. All of them have a visceral negative reaction to President Obama as well as to Muslims. They want a strongman to run the country, preferably more of a Benito Mussolini type than a Hugo Chavez type. They all believe that Trump's business experience more than makes up for his complete lack of governing experience.

Interestingly enough, like Trump, many of these women are not lifelong Republicans. They tend to go where the money and power are, and that means they have many Democratic friends as well. If Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, a billionaire Democrat, were running against, say, Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ), or Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), or (heaven forbid!) Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN), who is not wealthy but is devoutly religious, the Trumpettes would be at Cuban's side gushing about how much they love basketball (except maybe for the fact that so many of the stars are black). (V)

North Carolina Republican Concedes Purpose Behind Voter ID Laws

The official reason for the Voter ID laws adopted by nearly two dozen GOP-controlled legislatures in the past four years is to combat voter fraud. The real reason, plain to anybody who connects the dots, is to disenfranchise core Democratic constituencies, particular minority voters.

Now, longtime Republican operative and consultant Carter Wrenn has gone on record admitting that this is the case. Speaking to the Washington Post, he said:

Of course it's political. Why else would you do it? Look, if African Americans voted overwhelmingly Republican, they would have kept early voting right where it was.

This sort of overt acknowledgment isn't likely to affect many voters, since those who were likely to care about this issue did not require Wrenn's confirmation. However, it will provide some very useful verbiage for lawsuits challenging Voter ID laws, in North Carolina in particular, but also elsewhere. So, Wrenn will likely come to regret his frankness. (Z)

Today's Presidential Polls

Iowa is probably not getting enough attention as a state that Hillary Clinton could lose; she's not terribly well liked there. Overall, the race does seem to be tightening, though it's hard to make too much of a trend that's less than a week old. (Z)

State Clinton Trump Johnson Start End Pollster
Iowa 39% 44% 8% Aug 31 Sep 01 Emerson College
Iowa 43% 40%   Aug 05 Aug 25 IPSOS
Kansas 37% 48%   Aug 05 Aug 25 IPSOS
North Carolina 48% 44%   Aug 12 Aug 25 IPSOS
Virginia 44% 43% 11% Aug 30 Sep 01 Emerson College
West Virginia 39% 47%   Aug 05 Aug 25 IPSOS

Today's Senate Polls

Chuck Grassley is certainly looking like he'll be safe; it depends largely on how much attention the Merrick Garland obstruction gets. Right now, that issue has receded into the background. (Z)

State Democrat D % Republican R % Start End Pollster
Iowa Patty Judge 40% Chuck Grassley* 51% Aug 31 Sep 01 Emerson College

* Denotes incumbent

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Sep02 Most Clinton Voters Will Vote for Republicans for Congress
Sep02 Most Clinton Voters Will Vote for Democrats for Congress
Sep02 Are There Millions of Secret Trump Voters Out There?
Sep02 Trump Hires Head of Citizens United
Sep02 Trump Is Given a Script to Memorize for Interview at Black Church
Sep02 A Wall Wouldn't Work
Sep02 Reid: Maybe It's Time to Curtail the Filibuster
Sep02 Clinton Really Should Be Talking More About Climate Change
Sep02 Clinton Raised $143 Million in August
Sep02 Blue States Make Voting Easier
Sep02 Gary Johnson Is Doomed
Sep02 Could the House Be in Play?
Sep01 Trump Resumes Hard Line on Immigration
Sep01 Supreme Court: North Carolina Voter ID Law May Not Be Enforced in 2016
Sep01 Republican Senators Won Their Primaries with Amazing Ease
Sep01 Trump Is on the Air, But Less Than Advertised
Sep01 Trump Just Booting Up in Florida
Sep01 Grassley Sees the Handwriting on the Wall
Sep01 Sunnis and Shiites in America
Sep01 What Are the Candidates' Positions on All the Issues?
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