• Trump Denies Having Spoken to Bondi
• Trump Evolves on Amnesty, Again
• Banks Want No Part of Trump Wall Plan
• Trump: Voters Don't Care About My Taxes
• Trump Commits to Debating
• Clinton Blames Coughing Fit on Allergy to Trump
• Hillary Clinton's New Plane Takes Off
• Clinton Will Not Go to Mexico
Like all politicians, Donald Trump has made many promises. Politico decided to look at some of the big ones and make an estimate of the probability they would be enacted under a Trump administration. Here are nine of them, with the probability of enactment in parentheses:
- Making America great again (100%). He would simply claim that his election is proof that America is great again.
- We're going to say "Merry Christmas" again (100%). He will just say "Merry Christmas" on Dec. 25th every year.
- Oreos will be made in America again (99%). Since Oreos are already made in America, this is easy.
- Serving McDonald's food to China at a state dinner (45%). He could do it, but reprisals would be certain, so maybe he wouldn't.
- Repeal Obamacare (33%). If Republicans control the House and Senate and Democrats don't filibuster, yes, otherwise no.
- Be the greatest jobs president ever (5%). Bill Clinton's economy created 23 million jobs. Currently only 21 million are unemployed.
- Build a wall with Mexico (3.8%). He'll have to convince Congress to cough up $20-30 billion, figure out how to build over Indian reservations and waterways, and deal with sit-ins.
- Deport 11 million illegal immigrants (0.01%). He's not even trying any more. Already the number has dropped to 6 million and going lower every day.
- Get 95% of the black vote in 2020 (0%). The last time a Republican got even a majority of the black vote was 1932.
In short, the only ones he could pull off are the ones that can't be measured, like making America great again. (V)
Donald Trump said yesterday that he never spoke to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi about the $25,000 he donated to her 2014 campaign just as she was deciding whether to prosecute Trump University for fraud. Shortly after the donation came in, she dropped the case. Nevertheless, the case for fraud was strong enough that attorneys general in New York and California went forward with their prosecutions. Trump said that he has known her for a long time and likes her. Possibly noteworthy is the fact that he didn't bother to donate to his "old friend's" campaign in 2010, when she needed the money more.
It is entirely possible that Trump never spoke to her. Of course, he might have emailed her or had someone else contact her. But even in the best case, where there was no contact, the whole situation doesn't look good. She is investigating him for fraud. He donates to her campaign. She drops the fraud case. This is how things work. There doesn't have to be a written contract or even a phone call in which he asks her: "If I give you $25K, will you drop the case?" Everyone understands the quid pro quo implicitly. Why would a New York real estate developer make a donation to a minor official in Florida out of the blue when he had never done that before?
When an attorney general or prosecutor is investigating someone for fraud, does it make sense that the official doing the investigating not contact the target? One would think she would have had quite a list of questions for him about the case, at the very least asking him to explain the students' claims that he had defrauded them. The idea that there was no contact between them seems very far fetched. (V)
Several weeks ago, Donald Trump suggested he was open to the possibility of legal status for some undocumented immigrants. This was a rather dramatic change of course from his earlier statements on the subject, and put him very much in line with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Barack Obama, and others whose policies he had previously blasted. Then, last week, Trump gave a speech in which he said that, if he becomes president, undocumented immigrants would "have one route and one route only [to legal status]: to return home and apply for reentry like everybody else." This seemed clear, but various Trump spokespeople struggled this weekend to explain his policy. So, on Sunday, reporters asked The Donald whether he was ruling out a path to legal status or not. "I'm not ruling out anything," he replied. "We're going to make that decision into the future. OK?"
At this point, who knows if this constant shifting back and forth reflects a lack of ability to stay on message, or is in fact a calculated decision. However, what we can definitely say is that immigration, like abortion, gay marriage, and a handful of other issues, is something that people feel very strongly about. For most politicians, even slight wavering on these subjects is wholly unacceptable to their followers. And so, if Donald Trump successfully manages to walk both sides of the amnesty street for the next two months, it will be one of the great feats in the history of modern American politics. (Z)
Donald Trump says that Mexico is going to pay for a wall along the U.S. border. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto says they are not. According to a page on Trump's website, he has a plan to overcome the Mexicans' opposition. By executive order, he will expand provisions of the Patriot Act, and will require banks to ascertain the citizenship status of persons wishing to initiate wire transfers. Those who are not citizens will be barred from sending money abroad—say, to relatives in Mexico. The Trump campaign believes that this will put enormous pressure on the Mexican government, and that they will agree to pay within the week.
It turns out, however, that there is a fly in the ointment: The banking establishment wants no part of the plan. As a practical matter, they say it would be impossible to identify who is and who is not documented, since a wire transfer only requires a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN), and TINs are available to anyone in the U.S., regardless of citizenship status. Further, the banks—cautious, as they tend to be—do not wish to be on the vanguard of enforcing immigration policy, nor do they like any plan that would cut into their profits. So, it may be back to the drawing board for Trump. (Z)
Appearing in Ohio on Monday, Donald Trump was asked—yet again—about his tax returns. And—yet again—he declined to share them, saying that he is currently under audit. This despite the fact that being under audit does not actually prohibit Trump from releasing his returns. Trump also expanded on his reticence, insisting that, "I think people don't care. I don't think anybody cares, except some members of the press." He also declared that he had provided the "most extensive financial review of anybody in the history of politics."
Statements like these surely must drive reporters up the wall. First of all, if only the press cares about Trump's returns, why do non-members of the press keep asking? That includes a great many politicians, both Democratic and Republican. Similarly, why is Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN) releasing his? If people don't care about the presidential candidate's returns, then they should be really uninterested in the Veep's returns. Further, it is unclear what Trump could possibly mean by the "most extensive financial review" line. All he has provided is a 104-page disclosure form, which is required of every candidate who runs for federal office. In fact, his finances may well be the most mysterious and opaque of any major-party candidate in American history. (Z)
Now that the presidential debate moderators have been announced, everything is known in terms of the debate arrangements. On Monday, Donald Trump said he "respects" the various moderators who have been chosen, and that he expects to be in attendance for all three debates, calling them an "obligation." However, he also left some wiggle room, saying that attending was his plan "at the moment" and that certain things—like a natural disaster, for example—might keep him from participating.
Trump also gave some insight into his approach to the debates. He said he is "doing some" prep work, but that he doesn't want to over-prepare because, "I've seen people do so much prep work when they get out there, they can't speak. I've seen that." He also said he will not be doing a trial run against a Clinton stand-in, that he expects to "call her out" on a lot of things, and that he's confident in his approach, since it worked so well in primary season. It is true that Trump did well against five to nine squabbling Republicans, but a one-on-one against someone with as much debate experience and policy expertise as Hillary Clinton is a very different creature, indeed. Truth be told, while Trump's image is best served by a devil-may-care, gunslinger attitude, it would not be surprising if his team persuades him to secretly practice. Though we may never know, at least not until the tell-all books are released in 2017. (Z)
Hillary Clinton began coughing as soon as she took the stage at a rally in Cleveland yesterday. However, she managed to turn it into a joke by saying every time she thinks about Donald Trump, she has an allergic reaction. The fit lasted long enough to get attention on social media, with some people saying this is evidence that she is in poor health. More likely it is evidence that she has given hundreds of speeches in the past year and after a while they begin to take a toll.
Interestingly enough, Trump was also in Cleveland yesterday, and their planes were parked next to each other on the tarmac. The candidates did not cross paths, however. Trump was there to talk to union leaders about the loss of manufacturing jobs in America and what he would do to restore them. He also repeated his opposition to trade deals.
Trump does very well among blue-collar men with only a high school education, but "blue collar" and "union member" aren't synonymous any more. The old stereotype of burly men working on an auto assembly line doesn't represent unions any more. Almost half of all union members nowadays work in public sector jobs, especially education and law enforcement. Also, 45% are women and 31% are nonwhite. In fact, only 31% of union members are white men. So Trump's dominance among white blue-collar men doesn't mean he will do well with union members. (V)
Hillary Clinton has leased a Boeing 737 for her campaign. The plane is painted with her "Stronger Together" slogan and has her logo on the fin. It is large enough to accommodate a large number of reporters. The plane's first campaign flight was yesterday from Westchester County Airport in White Plains, NY—the airport closest to her home in Chappaqua—to Cleveland. (V)
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto invited both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton to visit him in Mexico. Trump, of course, quickly hopped on a plane. Now, Clinton has made clear that she will not be following suit, even with a fancy new plane at her disposal.
Given the shellacking he has taken from all quarters in Mexico, Peña Nieto would be delighted for Clinton to make an appearance, just to change the narrative for a while. However, Clinton is a bit too shrewd to allow herself to be used in this way. Further, she's already got 80%-plus of the Latino vote in her pocket; how much more can she really hope to get? Finally, she absolutely does not want it to look like she is following Donald Trump's lead. Surely just thinking about the tweets he would issue forth with, were she to go to Mexico, makes her cringe. So, it's thanks, but no thanks, Mr. Peña Nieto. (Z)Email a link to a friend or share:
---The Votemaster and Zenger
Sep05 A Tale of Two Scandals
Sep05 Even Trump's Advisers Are Unclear on His Deportation Plans
Sep05 About that Tightening Presidential Race...
Sep05 Who Supports Gary Johnson?
Sep05 Major Virginia Newspaper Endorses Johnson
Sep05 What's Trump Doing in Michigan?
Sep05 Kellyanne Conway: We Don't Need Pennsylvania
Sep05 Pence to Release Tax Returns This Week
Sep05 FiveThirtyEight: An Assessment
Sep05 What Happened to Rudy Giuliani?
Sep04 Clinton Has Huge Lead over Trump Among Latinos
Sep04 Clinton Foundation Gets Best Possible Rating from Watchdog Group
Sep04 Trump Speaks at a Black Church
Sep04 Is Clinton Repeating LBJ's Mistake?
Sep04 40 Down, 10 to Go
Sep04 Clinton Backs Regulation of Drug Prices
Sep04 Johnson and Stein Getting on the Ballot in More States
Sep04 Trump Visit a Disaster for Mexican President
Sep04 Don't Forget to Register
Sep03 Debate Moderators Named
Sep03 Clinton E-Mail Report Released
Sep03 Trump's Campaign Is Run by Volunteers
Sep03 About Trump and Roger Ailes...
Sep03 New Poll: Clinton Is as Unpopular as Trump
Sep03 Democratic Advisers Are Expecting a Landslide Victory
Sep03 Fallout From Trump Immigration Speech Continues
Sep03 The Real Trumpettes of Bel Air
Sep03 North Carolina Republican Concedes Purpose Behind Voter ID Laws
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