Clinton 298
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Ties 4
Trump 236
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Click for Senate
Dem 49
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Ties 1
GOP 50
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  • Strongly Dem (144)
  • Likely Dem (62)
  • Barely Dem (92)
  • 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: PA
Dem pickups vs. 2012: (None)
GOP pickups vs. 2012: IA NV OH

Nevada Is Proving Difficult for the Democrats

Nevada was supposed to be an easy state for the Democrats. Obama won by double digits in 2008 and by 7 points in 2012. Furthermore, the state is heavily Latino, and Latinos dislike Republicans in general and Donald Trump in particular. But somehow, Trump has been leading in most polls in the state, and Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV) has also been leading former Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto. What is going on there?

Probably the main reason the Republicans are doing well in the Silver State is the demographics. While there are indeed many Latinos, the whites in the state are largely blue-collar workers, including most people working for the casinos, hotels, and the rest of the tourist industry. There are relatively few college-educated whites, who tend to support Clinton.

Also a big factor is money. The Koch brothers have decided not to invest at all in the presidential race, and are placing all their bets on down-ticket races. In particular, they are helping Heck, and his coattails are helping Trump indirectly. The Koch brothers are running a major data-driven operation in Nevada, something the RNC is not doing. Nevertheless, Harry Reid has a powerful machine, and he is going to turn it up full blast to help his anointed successor, Cortez Masto, so it could be anything from a comfortable Democratic sweep to a comfortable Republican sweep. (V)

Trump Accepts Cruz's Endorsement

In July, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said he wasn't going to endorse Donald Trump. But that was just fine with Trump, who said he wouldn't accept the endorsement if offered. Guess what? Friday, Cruz endorsed Trump and then Trump accepted it, despite his earlier pledge not to accept it. No wonder that people have little faith in politicians, when promises have an expiration date of two months. (V)

Cruz Begins 45-day Walk Along a Fine Line

Ted Cruz hit the campaign trail on behalf of Donald Trump Saturday, just 24 hours after what is calling "TEDMAGEDDON." Each time he faced questioning, either from media or from voters, Cruz had two primary topics of conversation. The first was Hillary Clinton, and why she simply can't become president. The second was himself, and how he hated to change course, but he simply had no choice. "There was no option that wouldn't result with people who are deeply, deeply unhappy," he explained.

The vigilant reader will notice that the topics of conversation did not include Donald Trump, and why people should vote for him. Not only was Cruz silent on that matter, but when he was asked, "Do you consider Donald Trump to be fit to be president?" the Senator declined to answer, observing only that "I think we have one of two choices." Cruz also pointedly refused to dial back his previous criticisms of The Donald. We observed yesterday that Cruz's endorsement is unlikely to help all that much; that is particularly true if his lack of enthusiasm remains so palpable. (Z)

No Fortune 100 CEO Is Backing Trump

In 2012, a third of the CEOs of Fortune 100 companies backed Mitt Romney. This year exactly zero CEOs of Fortune 100 companies back Donald Trump. It isn't as if they have all lost interest in politics, though. Nineteen of them have donated to other Republican candidates, and 11 others are backing Hillary Clinton. (V)

New York Times Endorses Clinton

The New York Times has a noticeably poor relationship with the Clinton family. However, they are also highly critical of Donald Trump, and have endorsed Democrats in every election since 1956. Thus, which candidate the paper would ultimately endorse was hardly a state secret. On Saturday, they made it official, bestowing their blessing on Hillary Clinton:

In any normal election year, we'd compare the two presidential candidates side by side on the issues. But this is not a normal election year. A comparison like that would be an empty exercise in a race where one candidate—our choice, Hillary Clinton—has a record of service and a raft of pragmatic ideas, and the other, Donald Trump, discloses nothing concrete about himself or his plans while promising the moon and offering the stars on layaway. (We will explain in a subsequent editorial why we believe Mr. Trump to be the worst nominee put forward by a major party in modern American history.)

So, this is only endorsement, Part I. Part II (or, perhaps more accurately, the anti-endorsement) is still coming. Meanwhile, a pop quiz: Name one newspaper that has endorsed Donald Trump. Three, two, one...time's up. The answer(s): the National Enquirer, the New York Post, the New York Observer, and the Santa Barbara News-Press. Of course, if we eliminate papers owned by Trump's friends (the Enquirer and the Post) and by members of his family (the Observer), that leaves us with just the News-Press, whose circulation of 25,000 ranks it as roughly the 300th-largest paper in America. So, it seems fair to say that the newspaper editors, like the scientists, and the diplomats, and the foreign policy experts, and the ethicists are almost uniformly in Hillary Clinton's corner. (Z)

Clinton Is Actively Chasing the Biggest Minority Group

Do you know what the biggest minority in the U.S. is? Blacks? Nope. Latinos? Nope again. It is the disabled. One in five Americans has some kind of disability, but since they span all races, genders, income and educational levels, and geographic regions, they are invisible. Pollsters always ask about race, educational attainment, and income, but never: "Do you have a disability?" So almost nothing is known about their voting preferences.

Hillary Clinton understands that this is a large group, and has video footage showing Donald Trump mocking a disabled reporter. Furthermore, she has a long history of fighting for the disabled, first for the Children's Defense Fund, then later when she supported the United States' joining the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Her pitch to them is both to use the power of the presidency to help national attitudes (e.g., appoint some disabled people to visible positions in the government) and also economic, since many disabled people have trouble finding work, even though they can do the job (e.g., jobs that mostly involve using computers can be done by people in wheelchairs, as well as by deaf people). If Clinton can convince people with disabilities that she will help them and Trump will mock them, it could bring in unexpected votes. (V)

Philippe Reines Is Playing Trump in Clinton's Mock Debates

Hillary Clinton's long-time aide Philippe Reines is playing Donald Trump in Clinton's practice debates. He is a practitioner of the no-holds-barred style of politics that Trump favors. He is one of the few people who knows her well enough to be able to attack her where she is vulnerable and get under her skin. He is smart, quick on his feet, and not afraid to push her buttons.

Normally in debate prep, what matters most is learning the opponent's positions on every issue, but Trump has almost no positions, so that is both impossible and unnecessary. What Reines has to do is act like Trump, which means firing off one liners and hitting below the belt much of the time. Reines is one of the few people in Clinton's inner circle who get away with saying things like "you must be awful in bed, thus forcing Bill to stray." Trump could easily say that, so Clinton needs to prepare for that and worse. (V)

Trump Might Put Gennifer Flowers in the Front Row Monday

Hillary Clinton said she is going to put Billionaire Mark Cuban in the front row of the debate to rattle Trump. Cuban has repeatedly said he doesn't think Donald Trump is a billionaire at all, let alone someone worth $10 billion. Trump is now countering by threatening to put Gennifer Flowers in the front row to rattle Clinton. Bill Clinton admitted to having an affair with Flowers. Yesterday Trump tweeted:

If dopey Mark Cuban of failed Benefactor fame wants to sit in the front row, perhaps I will put Jennifer Flowers right alongside of him.

One might think that if Trump values Flowers so much, he could at least spell her name correctly. The takeaway here is that Trump will use every trick in the book to rattle Clinton and make the debate about anything other than policies. What he has to be careful about is not coming over as a third-grade schoolyard bully. (V)

Trump Could Be a Harbinger Rather than an Aberration

Many people think (and Republicans hope) that Donald Trump is sui generis, and if he loses in November, the old order will be restored. Zack Beauchamp makes a convincing case that this is wishful thinking. To start with, there are similar politicians and parties in Europe already, including Viktor Orban in Hungary, Geert Wilders in The Netherlands, Marine Le Pen in France, the Northern League in Italy, the Finns Party in Finland, and more. All of them are xenophobic and despise immigrants. All of them have platforms somewhere between traditional conservatism and the Ku Klux Klan.

A vast amount of social science research shows that the rise of Trump and his European counterparts is not really due to economics, although that plays a role. Beauchamp starts his argument with an interesting example. Early in World War II, Lithuania was occupied by the Soviet Union, A year later, the Nazis captured it from the Soviets. In the city of Kaunas, the Nazi invasion triggered a wave of attacks against Jews, but in nearby Vilnius nothing like that happened. Why? A political scientist at M.I.T., Roger Petersen, studied this and wrote a book about it. In short, it is all about resentment. In Kaunas, the Soviet invasion allowed local Jews in the Kaunas Communist Party to rise to positions of power. The locals rebelled against this. In Vilnius, most of the leadership positions in the Communist Party were held by Christian ethnic Poles, so there was no backlash when they took over.

A 2010 paper studied 157 cases of ethnic violence in countries from Chad to Lebanon and found a strong correlation between a group's decline in status and power and the likelihood it turns violent against another group. When the government is weak, the resentment of the group losing its power is channeled into violence, but when the government is strong, the resentment is funneled into politicians like Trump and Marine Le Pen, who rail against the newcomers and promise to restore the old order.

Beauchamp's article goes on to discuss many more examples, all of them about how the resentment of the previously dominant group plays out when its power and status is reduced. The conclusion is roughly that white Christian blue-collar workers used to dominate America and they don't any more, and their resentment at their new situation—far more than just the loss of jobs—is the driving force behind their support of Trump. After all, jobs have been lost to automation for decades but there has never been a "kill the robots" movement. But when Sarah Palin came on the scene saying that real American white Christians were victims, the groundwork was laid for Trump's ascendancy.

In Beauchamp's view, the key battle of the 21st century won't be Capitalism vs. Communism, as it was in the 20th century, but between people who support the new multicultural, multi-ethnic order, and those who oppose it. (V)

Appeals Court Strikes Down Ohio Voter Purge

One of the big stories of this election cycle is the efforts by various GOP-controlled states to restrict voting by using some combination of Voter ID laws, reduced numbers of polling hours/places, prohibitions on straight-ticket voting, and purges of voter rolls. These are all baldfaced attempts to reduce Democratic votes, particularly those cast by minorities.

Earlier this month, Ohio Republicans got a victory when the Supreme Court declined to force the state to reinstate a week's worth of early voting. On Saturday, however, the shoe was on the other foot. The Sixth Court of Appeals reversed a lower court ruling, one that said that it was ok for the Buckeye State to engage a massive purge of voters. Such purges are supposed to remove voters who are dead, or have relocated, but this one was so broad that it would have denied tens of thousands of legitimate voters their rights. Secretary of State Jon Husted (R) says he plans to appeal. (Z)

Today's Presidential Polls

This poll has the Keystone State closer than any taken since the conventions. Either things are tightening up in Pennsylvania, or this poll is an outlier. Our bet: Outlier. (Z)

State Clinton Trump Johnson Start End Pollster
Pennsylvania 40% 38% 8% Sep 19 Sep 23 Muhlenberg Coll.

Today's Senate Polls

This poll suggests that the Senate race in Pennsylvania has tightened at the same exact pace as the presidential race. That's somewhat unlikely, hence our supposition that we're looking at a (slight) outlier. (Z)

State Democrat D % Republican R % Start End Pollster
Pennsylvania Katie McGinty 40% Pat Toomey* 41% Sep 19 Sep 23 Muhlenberg Coll.

* Denotes incumbent

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Sep24 Ted Cruz Caves and Endorses Trump
Sep24 Cincinnati Enquirer Endorses Clinton
Sep24 Clinton's E-mails Will Not Be Released Before the Election
Sep24 Each Candidate Has Different Things to Think about before the Debate
Sep24 Trump's Money Woes Are Causing Internal Squabbles
Sep24 Trump Campaign: No Hablamos Español
Sep24 Eric Trump Says His Father Began With Just About Nothing
Sep24 Trump Adviser's Ties to Russia Being Investigated
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