Clinton 298
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Ties 4
Trump 236
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Click for Senate
Dem 50
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Ties 1
GOP 49
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  • Strongly Dem (144)
  • Likely Dem (82)
  • Barely Dem (72)
  • Exactly tied (4)
  • Barely GOP (56)
  • Likely GOP (74)
  • Strongly GOP (106)
270 Electoral votes needed to win This date in 2012 2008
New polls: AR GA
Dem pickups vs. 2012: (None)
GOP pickups vs. 2012: IA NV OH

Ted Cruz Caves and Endorses Trump

Conservatives cheered when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) told the people attending the Republican National Convention, and those watching it on television, to "vote your conscience." Finally, they thought, we have a principled politician who puts conservative principles above expediency. No longer. Yesterday Cruz officially endorsed Trump on his Facebook page. Cruz said the reason for the flip-flop is that Hillary Clinton is unacceptable as president. Apparently he didn't know this in July; someone must have just told him.

More likely, several factors led to his change of heart. First, Trump is doing much better in the polls now than he was in July. Brushing off someone who you think is going to get crushed is much easier than brushing off someone who might win. Second, Cruz got a lot of negative feedback from the establishment for not supporting the Republican Party's nominee. He probably wasn't expecting so much. Third, his failure to endorse Trump has sparked talk of a primary challenge to Cruz in 2018, possibly from Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), the second richest member of Congress.

Many conservatives denounced Cruz for endorsing Trump. Glenn Beck said Friday was "a profoundly sad day for me." Conservative columnist Quin Hillyer said the endorsement was "a terrible mistake." Cruz's former speechwriter, Amanda Carpenter, called his decision "very disappointing." Cruz's top political aide Jason Johnson's only reaction was to post a photo of himself with his eyes closed. Cruz's endorsement is unlikely to win Trump many votes, but it could hurt the Senator in 2020 if another conservative runs for president.

At this point, Cruz has to walk a tightrope. If he doesn't act sort of enthusiastic about Trump, he is going to be accused of being a phony and not a team player. If he is too enthusiastic about Trump, he is going to be accused of bending with the prevailing winds and not being a principled conservative. It won't be easy for him. (V)

Cincinnati Enquirer Endorses Clinton

Donald Trump may have gotten Ted Cruz, but he lost the Cincinnati Enquirer, who on Tuesday gave its endorsement to Hillary Clinton, declaring:

In these uncertain times, America needs a brave leader, not bravado. Real solutions, not paper-thin promises. A clear eye toward the future, not a cynical appeal to the good old days. Hillary Clinton has her faults, certainly, but she has spent a lifetime working to improve the lives of Americans both inside and outside of Washington. It's time to elect the first female U.S. president—not because she's a woman, but because she's hands-down the most qualified choice.

Generally speaking, newspaper endorsements are not of much interest, since they don't move the needle very much anymore. This one's a bit more significant, though, because (a) Ohio is a swing state, and (b) the Enquirer hasn't endorsed a Democrat since they threw their support behind Woodrow Wilson in 1916. And he was a very different kind of Democrat. That means they went for Hoover in the midst of the Great Depression, preferred Goldwater over LBJ, believed Dewey would defeat Truman, and thrice gave their blessing to Richard Nixon. Endorsing Donald Trump, however, was a bridge too far. (Z)

Clinton's E-mails Will Not Be Released Before the Election

Yesterday, federal judge James Boasberg ordered the State Dept. to release about 1,050 pages (about 580 messages) of Hillary Clinton's newly-discovered emails before the election, but the rest of the 15,000 new emails will be subject to release after, in order to give the State Dept. time to check them for confidential information. Actually, of the 15,000, the State Dept. has already determined that 9,400 were purely personal and will not be released at all. That leaves 5,600 to be reviewed, but it is thought that many of those are duplicates of emails that have already been released. All in all, this development is a victory of Clinton and a defeat for Judicial Watch, the conservative organization that wanted them so it could release them before the election. (V)

Each Candidate Has Different Things to Think about before the Debate

The first debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is Monday, and each of the candidates has different things to be concerned about, according to a piece by NPR's Mara Liasson:

Hillary Clinton's concerns
  • She has to make it clear why she wants to be president
  • How will she deal with the burden of high expectations?
  • How will she deal with the fact that aggressive women are perceived negatively?
  • She can't win the debate but she has to avoid losing it
Donald Trump's concerns
  • Can he dominate, as he did in the primaries, yet still be presidential?
  • How does he handle a woman?
  • Will he change his style from the primary debates?
  • Can Trump manage the post-debate spin?

Historically, candidates can't win an election by debating, but they can certainly lose one. But this year is so strange, the normal rules don't apply. (V)

Trump's Money Woes Are Causing Internal Squabbles

Hillary Clinton is over $200 million ahead in the fundraising race, and that is starting to become an issue as we head into the home stretch. Using her money, Clinton will be able to dominate in both the air war and the ground war. On Thursday, some of Trump's top financial people gathered and began pointing fingers. Some blamed the finance chair, Steve Mnuchin, while others said that Trump is running a weak campaign. Still others blamed the RNC for withholding donor lists. Part of the problem is that nobody has contacted some of the biggest donors. The campaign argued that it is well known that they don't support Trump, so why bother? Others said that if you don't try, you can't possibly win. (V)

Trump Campaign: No Hablamos Español

We are fond of mentioning the Sherlock Holmes story "Silver Blaze" (second time this week!), in which the key to the case is a dog that didn't bark. The point is that sometimes we learn more from what a campaign is not doing than what they are doing. And in that vein, Politico's Shane Goldmacher points out that there is no Spanish-language aspect to Trump's campaign. No commercials have been produced, and none are planned. There isn't even a Spanish-language version of the campaign website.

Needless to say, this is a sharp break with recent tradition. Every major party candidate from Bill Clinton forward has had at least some messaging in Spanish. This makes very clear that the Trump campaign has decided that the Latino vote is a lost cause. There are also two other inferences that can potentially be made. The first is that if Trump is not interested in Latinos, he's probably not interested in black voters either, affirming that all of his talk about "helping" the black community is really aimed at white voters. The second is that the Trump campaign seems to be treading very lightly when it comes to the support of voters who may be not so racially-enlightened. It would take a decent intern about a day to put together a translated version of the website. For any other campaign, that would be a no-brainer: Why not take a shot at a few extra Latino votes? But for Trump, the odds are that a link to a Spanish-language site would be a net negative, since it would aggravate some (many?) of his supporters. And so it's "adios" to multilingualism. (Z)

Eric Trump Says His Father Began With "Just About Nothing"

There is an old saying about people who were born on third base and think they hit a triple. This seems to have been custom-made for Donald Trump, who has persuaded himself and his family that he is essentially a Horatio Alger-style rags-to-riches story. On Friday, Eric Trump did an interview with Fox News and declared that his father has "gone from just about nothing [and] become the epitome of the American dream."

There's no doubt that the Trumps really believe this, but it's not remotely true. Even The Donald acknowledges that he got started with a "small" loan from his father Fred—$1 million (or, $4 million in modern dollars). And as the Washington Post's fact checker notes, it didn't stop there. Trump benefited from his $100,000 per year salary from his father's company, as well as several subsequent loans totaling at least $14 million. Fred Trump also served as guarantor on at least $70 million in bank loans. And then, when Fred died, Donald inherited unknown millions—probably not the $200 million that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) claimed in the Republican debates, but certainly in the tens of millions. So Trump was definitely born with a silver spoon in his mouth—several of them, probably. (Z)

Trump Adviser's Ties to Russia Being Investigated

It used to be that the Democratic candidate was the one accused of being in the bag for the Russians. Not any more, though. There are Donald Trump's kind words for Vladimir Putin, of course, along with his occasional interviews on Russian TV. There are former campaign chair Paul Manafort's close ties to both the Russian and the Ukrainian governments. And now there's Carter Page, one of Trump's foreign policy advisers, who turns out to be quite friendly with Putin & Co.

Given the history here, having an adviser with close ties to Russia is at least a moderate-level problem. But it might get much worse. Recently, Page has traveled to Moscow several times. The investigators are looking into the possibility that Page was meeting with Russian officials who played a role in the nation's "illegitimate and unlawful actions in the Ukraine," and that he was possibly carrying messages on behalf of The Donald. If this were proven to be the case—which seems unlikely, especially with a mere 45 days left until the election—it would certainly be the October Surprise of all time. (Z)

Today's Presidential Polls

Arkansas is pretty red, of course, but one might expect Hillary Clinton to do a little better in her onetime home state. (Z)

State Clinton Trump Johnson Start End Pollster
Arkansas 34% 55% 3% Sep 15 Sep 17 Hendrix Coll.
Georgia 38% 44% 5% Sep 20 Sep 22 JMC Analytics

Today's Senate Polls

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) both broke a minor sweat earlier in the campaign, but they are starting to breathe easy now. It's hard to topple an incumbent. (Z)

State Democrat D % Republican R % Start End Pollster
Colorado Michael Bennet* 52% Darryl Glenn 43% Sep 13 Sep 21 Quinnipiac U.
Georgia Jim Barksdale 28% Johnny Isakson* 41% Sep 20 Sep 22 JMC Analytics
Georgia Jim Barksdale 34% Johnny Isakson* 55% Sep 13 Sep 21 Quinnipiac U.
Iowa Patty Judge 43% Chuck Grassley* 55% Sep 13 Sep 21 Quinnipiac U.

* Denotes incumbent

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Sep23 Ad Spending Reveals the Campaigns' Priorities
Sep23 Why Isn't Clinton 50 Points Ahead of Trump?
Sep23 75 Ambassadors Endorse Clinton
Sep23 Trump's Primary Opponents Give Advice on How to Debate Him
Sep23 How Trump Can Win the Debate
Sep23 Trump Warns Lester Holt About Fact-Checking
Sep23 Running for President for Fun and Profit
Sep23 Judge Rejects Attempts to Unseal Trump's Divorce Records
Sep23 Heck's Son Embarrasses Campaign
Sep22 Trump Attacks Washington Post Story about His Foundation
Sep22 Clinton's Bad September Could Help Her in the End
Sep22 Trump Supporters Respond to Fake Story about Trump's Taxes
Sep22 Trump Would Boost National Debt by More Than $5 Trillion
Sep22 Trump Endorses Stop-and-frisk as Solution to Inner-City Crime
Sep22 Cruz Considering Trump Endorsement
Sep22 About a Third of All Voters Are Voting Against Rather Than for a Candidate
Sep22 Trump Attacks Yellen for Helping Clinton
Sep22 Trump Could Continue to Run His Business from the White House
Sep22 Democrats Advise Clinton to Let Trump Hang Himself in Debate
Sep22 Political Commentary Is Full of Myths
Sep22 Billionaire Republican Commits $2 Million to Defeat Trump in Florida
Sep21 $258,000 of Trump Foundation's Money Went to Settle Personal Legal Issues
Sep21 Ethics Lawyers, Scientists Speak Out Against Trump
Sep21 Terrorist Acts Don't Help Trump
Sep21 Times Editor Confirms Change in Approach
Sep21 Donald Trump, Jr. Gets More Blowback about Skittles Tweet
Sep21 Trump Disparages Black Communities
Sep21 Local Issues Dominate North Carolina Races
Sep21 Karl Rove: Electoral Map Favors Clinton
Sep21 Trump Says that Holt Will Be Fair
Sep21 Senators Sniping at Each Other Over Judicial Nominees
Sep21 We Are Removing the Ipsos Polls from the Database
Sep20 50 Days and Counting
Sep20 Most Americans Never See How Nasty the Campaign Is
Sep20 Bush 41 to Vote for Clinton
Sep20 Trump Smashes GOP Small-Donor-Fundraising Record
Sep20 Trump Calls U.S. Leaders Stupid
Sep20 Journalists May Be Shifting Gears on Trump
Sep20 Topics for the First Debate Announced
Sep20 Trump's Tax Plan May Cost $1.5 Trillion More than He Says
Sep20 Trump, Jr. Compares Refugees to Skittles
Sep20 Politics Makes It Unlikely that Garland Will Be Confirmed
Sep20 Senate Races Updated
Sep20 Why Clinton Lost
Sep19 RNC May Penalize Republicans Who Don't Support Trump
Sep19 Republicans Embrace Trump's Approach to the Truth
Sep19 Clinton Struggles in Florida
Sep19 Democrats Concerned About Clinton's Latino Strategy
Sep19 Will Black Voters Turn Out for Clinton?
Sep19 North Korea Nuke Test Has Foreign Policy Experts Speaking Out About Trump