Justice Department Weighs Appeal of Special Master Ruling
Quote of the Day
Biden’s Approval Keeps Ticking Back Up
Republicans Anxious About Cash-Strapped Campaigns
Tensions Linger Between Obama, Biden Camps
Putin and Xi to Hold Summit Meeting
• Trump Gone Wild
• Just a Minute, Man
• The State of the Unions
• It's Truss
• Oh, Those Russians!
• New Polls
Traditionally, political campaigns begin after Labor Day. That's today, so we are live now! As the campaign rolls on, you will notice that our scores may differ from other aggregators due to two differences in methodology. First, we always use the most recent poll in every state and also all polls up to a week before that one. These are averaged, weighted equally. Other folks have different algorithms.
Second, we try to pick neutral pollsters. Basically, there are two kinds of pollsters. One group is in the polling business (e.g., SurveyUSA and Mason-Dixon). This group also includes some colleges and universities. A few lean one way or the other (e.g., PPP), but their goal is to produce accurate polls and get a good reputation for accuracy. We accept all of their polls. The second group are campaign consultants. They do polling to help candidates win elections. They are judged not by how accurate their published polls are, but by how many elections they won. If doctoring the results of a poll before publishing it helps the candidate, then of course they do it. We avoid these polls like the plague. If a news organization hires a Democratic consultant and a Republican consultant to work together, that's fine with us.
In addition we won't use any pollsters FiveThirtyEight has rated below C-, even if they are neutral. Honest but incompetent isn't our thing.
So far, there are no Senate polls in 17 states: Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, North Dakota, Oklahoma (x2), Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota and Vermont. For these, we use the most recent Senate election as the score. Fortunately, none are swing states. Alaska is pretty much unpollable due to the ranked choice voting. We'll just assume Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) will win.
In the menu to the left of the map are other resources. We are trying to bring them up to speed, but if you find bugs, let us know. More tomorrow on this.
Also, a small request. we would greatly appreciate it if you would spread the word about the site, especially on social media. If any of you have good ideas about PR, we are interested.
Yesterday, in a decision that was expected, U.S District Court Judge Aileen Cannon granted Donald Trump's request for a special master to go through the documents that were seized from Mar-A-Lago, and to remove any that are covered by attorney-client privilege or, potentially, executive privilege.
Our view, as two people who concede that we are not lawyers and are not in possession of all the facts, is that this isn't too big a deal. Surely, the Department of Justice has already gone through everything with a fine-toothed comb, and this new development won't impede their investigation very much, if at all. And since the DoJ is likely to hold off on charges until mid-November or later anyhow, a slight delay shouldn't have much effect.
Was it the right decision, though? Since Cannon was appointed by Trump, there is much supposition that she's in the bag for him, and is doing his bidding. We are definitely not in a position to weigh in on this question. Luckily, however, reader A.R. in Los Angeles is, as a lawyer who is most certainly not in the bag for Trump. Here's A.R.'s assessment:
I don't think it's entirely out of bounds. The judge is not wrong when she urges some caution in searching a former president's home—though she doesn't seem concerned enough with what has already been found there that precipitated the search. But the bottom line is that a special master can be limited to looking only at those documents that may plausibly involve either attorney-client or executive privilege. Once those are identified, the judge can decide two things: (1) whether the privilege is properly invoked; and (2) if it is, whether the DoJ should still get the document.
As the judge herself acknowledged, the privilege claims may ultimately fail, but Trump has a right to raise them. I think the DoJ has to just give this one to Trump. The worst thing they could do, in my humble opinion, is appeal. The Eleventh Circuit is too unpredictable and even if you win, you could end up in front of SCOTUS, which is the last place you want to be—not to mention that would drag everything out for, what, a year at least? Everyone admits the investigation is in the early stages, so a special master won't derail anything, and this will keep Trump's attorneys busy through the election. Then, if the judge does something wacky like expanding executive privilege for former presidents, the DoJ can appeal that. But the most likely outcome is they'll get what they want in the end—it'll just take longer—just like everything when it comes to TFG.
Thanks for the benefit of your expertise, A.R.!
Other than approval of the special master request, the most interesting/notable thing that happened at yesterday's hearing is that Chris Kise took his seat as lead counsel for the first time. And, by necessity, he previewed the theory of the case that he's apparently going with: That Trump declassified all of these materials by fiat, and that therefore this is all much ado about nothing. Kise specifically compared the documents to an overdue library book.
We will remind readers of several reasons that this is a dubious legal theory. First, there is no indication that Trump actually declassified the documents. Waving your hand and saying "declassified!" isn't enough. Second, the crimes that the FBI is investigating are not predicated on whether the documents were classified or not, they are predicated on the notion that Trump took government property to which he was not entitled. Third, excepting on the show Seinfeld, there are no library cops. But if there were, even a library cop would take a dim view of things if they came to your house, asked for your overdue books, you said "here's all of them—100%, for sure," and you were lying.
Still, it's Kise's job to come up with the best theory he can, and apparently he's decided this is it. He's unlikely to switch theories on a regular basis, as the mood strikes him—this is presumably "the one." Of course, he's also going to have to deal with the mess that his predecessors made as they flopped around, often making legal filings that directly contradict the "Trump declassified everything!" argument.
If Joe Biden wanted to play hardball (which he most certainly doesn't) he could announce: "Oh, by the way, on my first day as president I waved my magic reclassification wand and automatically reclassified every document my predecessor declassified." Then the documents Trump had in Florida would be classified. But, of course, Biden won't do this. (Z)
Donald Trump is in desperation mode right now. First, he wants to distract attention from his rather serious legal troubles. Second, he is feeling persecuted, and when he's feeling persecuted he has a preternatural need to tell everyone how he's as pure as the driven snow and he's been treated so, so, so unfairly. Third, he knows full well that his control of the Republican Party is at risk, and that if his candidates take a beating in November, more and more GOP pooh-bahs will jump off the S.S. Trump.
The predictable result of all of this, particularly now that the campaigns are in full swing, is that Trump is going to hit the campaign trail and he's going to say all kinds of outrageous things. As we noted yesterday, the former president held a rally in Pennsylvania this weekend for the benefit of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mehmet Oz and Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano.
In our piece yesterday, we noted that the former president said a great many unhinged things about the FBI, the deep state, and Joe Biden. However, he also got very personal and very nasty in his remarks about Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Lt. Gov. John Fetterman:
This guy is a disaster. He comes in with a sweatsuit on. I've never seen him wear a suit. A dirty, dirty, dirty sweatsuit. It's really disgusting. You know, I'm a clean freak. I'm a clean freak, Oz! I don't like those dirty sweatsuits. They're disgusting. Fetterman may dress like a teenager getting high in his parents' basement, but he's a raging lunatic hellbent on springing hardened criminals out of jail in the middle of the worst crime wave in Pennsylvania history.
We will point out, first of all, that there are a lot of people out there who wear sweats more often than they wear suits. More importantly, we just can't see how appearing at a rally like this works to Oz's benefit. Yes, it may help him with the MAGA faithful a bit (though many of them are well aware that Oz has scrubbed Trump from his website). What it won't help with is moderate Republicans and independents, and you can't win in the Keystone State without a lot of those voters. The rally just affirms the perception that Oz is on the same page as the whackadoodle Mastriano, and that Oz is not about substance and instead is about insults and personal attacks. These things are turnoffs for everyone except Trump's base.
We're not the only ones who feel this way. Dean Obeidallah, writing for CNN, observes that the former president did a first-rate job... of proving the current president's point about MAGA extremism:
Trump knows his base better than anyone. He understands that a subset of his MAGA supporters have shown themselves willing to commit violence in his name. Some of those who were arrested over the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, have explained to prosecutors that their actions were an answer to Trump's call, at a speech before they stormed the building, to "fight like hell." That was the sentiment shared by Trump supporter Stephen Ayres, who told the January 6 committee in July that Trump had called him to Washington on January 6. "We basically were just following what he said," Ayres testified.
Trump knows all of this. He nevertheless is following the same playbook as he did after the 2020 election that preceded the January 6 attack, but this time with repeated dangerous attacks upon our law enforcement and judiciary.
Before January 6, one could dismiss Trump's words as heated political rhetoric. But in a post-January 6 America, we ignore Trump's words at our own peril—and that of our democracy. Biden raised alarm bells in his speech on Thursday about the threat posed by Trump and some members of the MAGA movement. "History tells us that blind loyalty to a single leader and a willingness to engage in political violence is fatal to democracy," the President said.
Biden is right.
Meanwhile, Charlie Dent, who is no Trumper but who knows something about the Republican mindset, having been elected to seven terms in the House as a member of the party, said that Trump's performance was a "major gift" to Democrats:
Most Republican candidates don't want anything to do with Donald Trump in this general election. They want this to be about Joe Biden and the Democrats, but to the extent Trump inserts himself into this conversation, he's giving the Democrats a major gift right now
I am not so sure that the former President Trump did anyone any good with that speech tonight. Just by showing up in Pennsylvania, he is making the election much more about himself.
Trump, of course, is not going to stand down and he's not going to change his style. And even if most Republican candidates decide to keep their distance, there are more than enough MAGA-maniac candidates that The Donald can hold a rally every day and not run out of Republican office-seekers happy to join him on stage. In short, he's already succeeding in making this election about Donald Trump, he will continue to do so, and there's just about nobody who thinks that works to the benefit of the Republican Party. (Z)
Yesterday, we had a very brief item on today's primaries in Massachusetts. In that item, we noted that there was little of interest in terms of the top-of-the-ticket races we generally focus on. Polling makes clear that the Democratic nominee will be Maura Healey (D), who is the only member of her party who is still actively campaigning. She will end up facing off against former state representative Geoff Diehl or businessman Chris Doughty, will enter the general election with a double-digit lead over either of them, and will be the next governor of Massachusetts. There is no Senate race this year. So, our headline was "Massachusetts Will Hold a Boring Primary Tomorrow."
While we aren't dialed into the lower-level races, we have readers who are. And we were taken to task by reader H.R. in Jamaica Plain, MA, who is very much dialed-in when it comes to local politics. We thought we would pass along H.R.'s message, to give you a little more insight into what to look for today:
I guess it might seem boring to you, looking only at the gubernatorial race, but here are some "all politics is local" thoughts about today's primary being not so boring:
I guess we will know who will win each of these races in a day or two. In any case, I'm not bored, though I am frustrated by the flaws in our electoral system revealed by some of what I've reported here.
- There's only one candidate in the Democratic primary for governor because the party power structure aligned itself behind a single candidate, who refused, for the most part, to debate her opponents. They couldn't get enough traction to compete and dropped out one by one. Still, she will be our first elected woman governor (one before was promoted from lieutenant governor and "acting") and we will be putting a Democrat back in the governor's chair, which should be quite interesting for Massachusetts come January.
- Both attorney general and state auditor are open (no incumbents), and there are real contests for both these seats on the Democratic side of the aisle. The most progressive candidate for AG (in my opinion) dropped out a week before Election Day (after early voting and vote-by-mail were already going on), but the two remaining candidates are running neck and neck and are quite different from each other. Shannon Liss-Riordan is self-funded (her wealth comes from class-action lawsuits), while Andrea Campbell has strong grassroots funding; so, not boring.
- For secretary of state, William Galvin (D), the 7-time incumbent, who happens to be a white man, is being challenged by Tanisha Sullivan (D), a much younger Black woman who asserts that she can increase the voter participation of people of color, which he hasn't been able to do. He said 2018 was the last time he would run, but changed his mind. He'll be 72 at the beginning of the next term in January.
- Suffolk County (where Boston is located and where I live) has a hotly contested race for DA, where both candidates have been subjects of Boston Globe articles reporting potentially scandalous acts. This race is quite consequential, because the acting DA (Kevin Hayden, D, appointed by Gov. Charlie Baker, R, when the elected DA, Rachael Rollins, D, became U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts) is rolling back many of Rollins' criminal legal system reforms. That's not the scandal, though. The scandal is that he's been looking the other way when police officers have engaged in egregious misconduct.
Meanwhile, Hayden's opponent in the Democratic primary, City Councilor Ricardo Arroyo, has been waylaid by a scandal from almost 20 years ago that appears to have been brought to the Globe's attention by either the DA's office or someone from the police department. In short, he was twice accused of sexual assault, once during high school and once several years after. Arroyo was not convicted, and insists he's innocent and that it was a misunderstanding. That did not persuade the Globe, which gave its endorsement to Hayden.
Note that the police do not like the reforms instituted by Rollins, which Arroyo plans to continue and strengthen. The police opposition is despite the fact that crime has been going down in Boston since these reforms were put in place (counter to many other U.S. cities). Meanwhile, the po-pos tend to like it when the DA is soft on (police) crime, as Hayden apparently is. This race has substantive differences in the approach of each candidate, but the potential serious character flaws of each has frustrated the electorate.
Thanks for the insight, H.R.! This will also give us more to write about when the results are reported this evening. (Z)
Labor Day is a holiday whose origins are somewhat less than noble. As readers probably know, the capitalists of the Gilded Age were not the most enlightened fellows. They not only exploited their labors mercilessly, they flaunted their wealth, to the point that they were effectively rubbing the noses of the workers in it. These would be the same grossly underpaid workers who made the wealth possible in the first place.
Case in point: George Pullman, who made millions building and operating railway cars. He constructed a largely self-contained town around his manufacturing operation—Pullman, IL, which has now been absorbed into Chicago—and required all of his manufacturing employees to live there. The workers got to live in cramped, poorly maintained row houses while paying above-market rates for rent. The managers got to live in Victorian-style single-family homes. And Pullman himself lived in a luxury hotel in the center of town.
This situation was only barely tenable in the best of times. Once the nation sank into a depression in 1893, it became utterly untenable. Between the low wages paid and high rents demanded by Pullman, as well as his ham-fisted habit of conspicuously showing off his own wealth, it was only a matter of time until a strike broke out. And in the 19th century, strikes and extreme violence (on both sides) almost invariably went hand in hand. However, even by Gilded Age standards, the Pullman Strike was unusually rough. It lasted more than two months, effectively shut down the U.S. economy (since most trains were unable to operate), produced riots that left dozens dead, and resulted in $80 million in property damage. In modern terms, that's about $2.5 billion.
Naturally, President Grover Cleveland was eager to restore the peace and to get the nation's transportation network running again. However, as a conservative Democrat, he was not especially pro-labor. So, he tried to restore the peace with violence, sending in U.S. Army troops to break the strike. This did eventually work, but it left the Democratic Party in terrible shape, as that era's version of the Bernie wing was strongly pro-labor and that era's version of the Hillary wing was strongly pro-business. Plus, politicians from both parties were eager to calm tensions and to keep the trains running.
To that end, as a sop to laborers, Congress made Labor Day a national holiday just 6 days after the Pullman Strike came to an end. The absence of such a holiday, since many other nations had one, was among the many complaints of the Pullman strikers. However, on the insistence of the President, the holiday was placed in September rather than on May 1, which is when most other nations celebrate. The goal was to do as much as possible to keep American workers from developing a sense of solidarity with workers in other countries.
The leaders of that strike were Eugene V. Debs and Samuel Gompers. Debs ended up in prison as a result of his participation, so it was up to Gompers to respond to the establishment of the new holiday. He said it could, and should, be a time for laborers to discuss their concerns, plot strategy, recruit new union members, and the like. In other words, a day to focus on the concerns of labor. For some amount of time, the holiday did function in that way. Eventually, of course, it became much more about hot dogs, swimming and the de facto end of summer.
We thought, however, we would talk today about labor, at least a little bit, in line with Gompers' vision. And, on the whole, labor is in as weak a position as it's been since that terrible strike more than 125 years ago. Let's start with hourly wages. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is fond of declaring that workers' wages are stagnant, and have been for decades. That's not entirely correct. Here is a chart of the average weekly income for non-supervisory hourly workers since 1965:
The dollar figures are all adjusted to 1982-84 levels. So, in other words, a wage worker in 2019 was earning about $318/week in early-1980s dollars. As you can see, that's nowhere near as low as it went in the 1980s. We wonder who was in the White House then, and whether they were openly anti-labor? We'll have to look into that. In any case, while things are better today than they were in the 1980s, the average worker still earns less than their 1960s/1970s counterpart. So, in that way, Sanders is right and wages are stagnating.
A big part of the problem, of course, is that the federal minimum wage is just $7.25 an hour, and has been since 2009. Many states and localities require a much higher minimum wage, which tends to drive up all workers' wages. That rebellion against the federal minimum is a big part of the reason that things began to trend upward for wage workers in the mid-to-late 2000-aughts. However, the benefits are not equally distributed. Here's a map that lays out the minimum wage situation across the U.S.:
The gray states, namely Wyoming and Georgia, have a minimum wage lower than the federal one, and so are bound by the federal wage. The reddish-gray states, like Texas, use the federal minimum wage, whatever it is. The light blue states have no minimum wage at all, and so are also bound by the federal minimum wage. However, if the federal minimum were to be repealed tomorrow, it would suddenly be legal to pay workers in Louisiana $1/hour.
The blue states, as you can probably guess, have a minimum wage higher than the federal one. Sometimes, it's a bit higher, as in the $8.75 an hour in West Virginia. Sometimes it's considerably higher, as in the $14.49 an hour in Washington. It's not a coincidence, of course, that most of the blue states are, well, blue states. It's also not a coincidence that the higher-paying states, on the whole, are the most prosperous states. Are they able to pay their workers better because they are more prosperous? Or are they more prosperous because they pay their workers better? Sounds like a chicken-and-egg situation to us.
Perhaps even more important than the situation with wages, however, is the distribution of wealth. After all, if a country is doing moderately well, then there may only be moderate amounts of money for workers. If a country is doing very well, then there should be much higher amounts of money available for workers. This is where the U.S. has really headed in the wrong direction in the last half-century or so. At the start of the Reagan years, the wealthiest 10% of Americans held about 22% of the nation's wealth. By the time Ronnie left office, it was up to 30%. Now, it's just shy of 65%. And the top 1% alone hold 32.3% of the country's wealth. Things have not been this far out of whack since... the Gilded Age.
One more thing. After the Pullman Strike (and other labor actions), union membership trended consistently upward. By the 1950s, about half of Americans were unionized. Since then, national prosperity and anti-union legislating (mostly by Republicans) have reversed the trend. Union membership was down to the mid-30s by 1960, it was down to about 15% by 1990, and today only 10% of Americans are union members. The number has not been that low since... the Gilded Age.
There are signs that things are getting better for wage workers. Since the federal government is currently doing nothing useful about the minimum wage, the blue states continue to take the lead. Just yesterday, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) signed a bill that could push the wages of non-supervisory fast food workers as high as $22/hour. If other businesses want to compete, they are going to have to, well, compete. The pandemic, of course, has also strengthened workers' hands.
Meanwhile, unionization appears to be on the upswing. Some workers at Starbucks, Apple, and Amazon have recently managed to unionize. Those are all massive corporate concerns, of course. It will be a long time until most or all of the workers at those concerns will be unionized, since the barriers are large and corporate interests are very good at stymying union drives. Still, it all starts with a foothold, and now the unions have one in all three places.
That said, while it should be obvious that a top-heavy society is ultimately not economically stable, and while it should be obvious that we all end up paying if poor people cannot afford, say, proper health care or nutritious food for their kids, sometimes it takes a wake-up call. Or many wake-up calls. So it was in the Gilded Age, when both the government and the capitalists were dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 20th century (and the labor-friendly Progressive Era). There are some potential large labor actions on the horizon. For example, the UPS contract is up soon, and it's generally not a question of "if" the UPS workers will strike, it's a matter of when. A UPS strike is not likely to get violent, and it's not going to affect commerce quite as much as the Pullman Strike did. Still, it will affect commerce a fair bit (UPS handles about 6% of all packages shipped in the U.S.) and big labor actions that get lots of headlines tend to give momentum to labor unions.
Oh, and this just so happens to be a time when the Democratic Party is desperately trying to get organized labor back in the tent, and may be willing to stick its neck out on some pro-labor legislation. They would have plenty of political cover for a big federal minimum wage hike, and it could be done via reconciliation, if the blue team can hold the trifecta in 2022 (or regain it in 2024). Nobody knew where things were headed in 1894, and we don't know where they're headed right now, but this is definitely something that bears watching. (Z)
Some would say that all you really need in life is a Johnson and a Truss. If so, then the United Kingdom is in fine shape, because they've had one of those for the past 3 years and now they've got the other, probably until 2025. That's right, Liz Truss, a.k.a. "The Iron Weathercock," has been announced as the new prime minister. And no, we did not make that nickname up; it's a comment on the similarities between Truss and Margaret Thatcher (i.e., "The Iron Lady") as well as Truss' tendency to go wherever the political winds blow ("weathercock" is the British term for a weathervane).
As we have noted many times, including yesterday, we are hardly experts on British politics. However, as with local politics in Massachusetts (see above), we have readers who are. So, we asked for a report from frequent correspondent S.T. in Worcestershire, England, UK:
Sometimes opinions polls do get it right—so, after a series predicted that foreign secretary Liz Truss would become Conservative Party leader and subsequently U.K. Prime Minister, her victory on Monday over former chancellor Rishi Sunak by 14 points (57% to 43%) came as little surprise.
It has been an extraordinary contest. As A.B. in Lichfield detailed yesterday, after the initial stage when Conservative MP's reduced the wannabes to just two, the 200,000 or so (the exact number is never disclosed) Conservative Party members had the final choice. For eight weeks, mainly at a series of 12 hustings around the U.K. before party members only, Truss and Sunak, former colleagues, tore large chunks out of each other, each accusing their opponent of being socialist, unconservative, irresponsible or disloyal. Any visiting alien would have struggled to realize they were in the same party or to hear mention of many of the myriad problems and crises piling up in the U.K.
Why did Truss win? Possibly three main reasons. Unlike Sunak, she did not resign during the revolt against Boris Johnson in early July, so was able to portray herself as loyal while implying he was not, which appealed to the large number of Boris loyalists still in the party. She promised personal tax cuts, business tax cuts and increased defense spending, with an estimated cost of up to £60 billion, though without ever explaining how these will be funded. She also indulged in much Boris-style boosterism.
As Liz herself said, she has been on a journey: from a Labour voting academic household, to a period at university as a Liberal Democrat, before finally joining the Conservatives. She was elected in 2010 to a very safe rural seat, but only after a controversial selection procedure, when her extramarital affair with a Conservative M.P. only became common knowledge after she had been chosen (her marriage survived, his did not). Since becoming a cabinet member in 2014, she has served under three prime ministers in five different posts, starting as a "modernizer" before continually tacking to the right. She was a "remain" supporter in the 2016 referendum only to re-invent herself as a hard line Brexiteer. American readers may note a parallel, in terms of political consistency, with Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY).
Some of Truss' parliamentary colleagues view her as dense to the point of being dangerous. Her public speaking is dreadful as demonstrated by her infamous 2014 "Cheese" speech:
She has been widely mocked for mimicking Margaret Thatcher in photoshoots and dress. Lastly, and probably most crucially, her ratings among the voting public as a whole are weak and have actually declined during the leadership campaign.
Truss faces a fearsome in-tray when she takes her seat at her new desk. Top of the pile is energy bills. By October, these will have tripled for domestic consumers in just a year, with the threat of doubling yet again come January. The official definition of "fuel poverty" in the U.K. is having to spend over 10% of your earning on energy; soon, over half the households in the U.K. will be in this position. Truss has opposed "handouts" to alleviate the situation, preferring tax cuts. This will help many of the poorest, in greatest need, not one jot. In a further show of flexibility/political inconsistency, the U.K. media is now reporting that, with the leadership contest out of the way, a cap on energy bills is, in fact, being considered!
Inflation is over 10%, projected to go higher, and analysts fear unfunded tax cuts may add to this problem. The U.K. health service is in great difficulty, social care services even worse, and the education and legal systems are also under strain. Brexit, rather than being "done," continues to rumble on, damaging U.K. trade with Europe, and potentially pushing the nation towards a full blown trade war if the government takes promised unilateral action to amend trade regulations covering Northern Ireland. The U.K. pound is currently in a tailspin, applying even more inflationary pressure, and adding to the cost of servicing the country's national debt. A recession of up to 18 months is widely forecast, with many economists predicting a fall in living standards of at least 5%—greater for many.
How will Truss address these problems? Based upon her track record and the leadership contest, it is anyone's guess. At a time when the U.K. needs a prime minister with the combined talents of Gladstone, Asquith, Churchill and Attlee, it appears to be moving from a blond who has difficulty telling the truth to a blonde with not dissimilar issues.
And speaking of Boris Johnson, according to "sources" he is already contemplating a comeback! To do so, it will be necessary to neuter the current House of Commons inquiry as to whether he mislead Parliament. It seems clear that Truss is going to come under pressure to do just that, which will immediately resurrect all the moral and ethical issues which have dogged the Conservatives over the last 10 months, and helped the opposition parties to win a series of spectacular by-elections.
According to new opinion poll, 52% of British voters already think Truss will be a poor or terrible prime minister. Liz will be praying, on this occasion, that the polls are wrong.
Thanks, S.T.! We'd say that gives a much better assessment of the situation than any of the ones we saw from American news outlets. (Z)
While the Brits were figuring out their new leader, the Russians were putting together their newest enemies list, which they released yesterday. Vladimir Putin & Co. have banned another 25 individuals from being allowed to visit Russia:
- Corporate Executives: Bruce M. Bodine (Mosaic), David Boyd Burritt (U.S. Steel), Lorenco
Gonsalves (Cleveland Cliffs Mining Company), John Serafini (HawkEye 360)
- Lobbyists and Policy Influencers: Daniel P. Vajdich (Yorktown Solutions Lobbying), Paul A.
Goble (World Policy Institute), Ryota Jonen (World Movement for Democracy), Victoria Clement (Central Asia Insights),
David Crain (Global Accountability Network), Tom Perriello (Open Society Foundations), Stephen Starr (Institute of
Central Asia and the Caucasus)
- Biden Administration Officials: Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, Assistant Secretary
for Export Enforcement Matthew S. Axelrod, Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for
Export Administration at the Bureau of Industry and Security Thea D. Rozman Kendler, Acting Chief Financial Officer and
Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Administration Jeremy Pelter
- U.S. Senators: Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Mike Rounds (R-SD),
Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Rick Scott (R-FL), Pat Toomey (R-PA)
- Actors: Sean Penn, Ben Stiller
These lists are supposed to be an exercise in propaganda, at least in part. And on that front, the Russkies most certainly failed, turning themselves into the butt of jokes instead. In particular, the thought that Zoolander (i.e., Ben Stiller) poses some sort of threat to Vladimir Putin caused much mirth on social media yesterday. And in case you're wondering, the reason Stiller landed on the list is that he had the temerity to meet with Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Meanwhile, only one of the six senators—Kelly—listed is up for reelection this year. And if we were him, we'd be milking this for all it is worth. "I was a Navy captain, an astronaut, and now I've spoken so much truth to Russian power that they've banned me from the country. I went to space, but now I'm forbidden from going to St. Petersburg. That sounds like someone who has the right stuff to be a Senator, as opposed to a candidate like Blake Masters, who is frightened of Donald Trump's shadow."
The new list brings to 1,073 the number of Americans banned from entering Russia. Frankly, it makes us feel like we're not working hard enough. What do we have to do to get on Vlad "Small Hands" Putin's дерьмо list? (Z)
There are no new polls today—or there are 68 new polls today, depending on how you look at it. Hopefully polling will start in earnest soon. A couple of states are worth noting though. The Florida result is a single poll taken by the University of North Florida on Aug. 12. Don't put too much stock in it until it is confirmed by others. The Emerson poll of Georgia puts Herschel Walker (R) ahead of Sen. Raphael Warnock by 2 points. This is in contrast to most other polls and is probably a fluke. Finally, the North Carolina poll is from PPP, which is located in North Carolina. It has Cheri Beasley ahead of Ted Budd by 1 point. Call it a tie.
Note that you can mouseover any state to see our current average for the state, but you can also click on
a state to see a graph of all polls for the year.
If you want to see graphs for all the states at once, click on "Senate polling data" to the left of the map
and then select the second item. Or you can visit and bookmark
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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Sep05 Meadows Gets the Message and Gives the Messages
Sep05 Trump Wants to Make the Midterms All about Him
Sep05 Meet Sarah the Canary
Sep05 New Front on the Abortion Wars: Handing Out Pills
Sep05 $170 Million is Missing
Sep05 McConnell and Thiel Are Playing Chicken
Sep05 Prediction: At Least 10% of the States Will Elect a Female Governor in 2022
Sep05 Children's Books Are Now Part of the Culture Wars
Sep05 Miriam Adelson Is Not As Political As Her Late Husband
Sep05 Massachusetts Will Hold a Boring Primary Tomorrow
Sep05 The U.K. Will Conclude a Not-Boring Election Today
Sep04 Sunday Mailbag
Sep03 Saturday Q&A
Sep02 The Soul of the Nation
Sep02 Another Bad Day on the Legal Front for TrumpWorld
Sep02 Select Committee Wants to Chat with Newt
Sep02 McConnell-Scott Feud Is Now out in the Open
Sep02 Where in the World Is Carmen San D. Vance?
Sep02 This Week in Schadenfreude
Sep02 This Week in Freudenfreude
Sep01 The Dept. of Justice Has Responded to Trump's Request for a Special Master
Sep01 Will The Red Wave Become a Red Puddle?
Sep01 DeSantis Is a Test Case for Democracy
Sep01 Republicans Are Running Away from Their Own Positions on Abortion
Sep01 Over Half of GOP Nominees for Governor Are Election Deniers
Sep01 One of Trump's Lawyers Could Be in Trouble...
Sep01 ...No, Make that Two of Trump's Lawyers
Sep01 Mary Peltola Is Going to the House; Sarah Palin Is Going Home
Sep01 House Conservatives Are Preparing to Impeach Biden
Sep01 Over 40% of Americans Think a Civil War Is Coming
Aug31 You Win Some, You Lose Some?
Aug31 A Brief Reprieve for Kemp (and Trump)
Aug31 Should Democratic Candidates Campaign on Democracy?
Aug31 Fetterman Declines Debate with Oz
Aug31 So Much for Mayor Caruso
Aug31 Mikhail Gorbachev, 1931-2022
Aug30 Trump's Got Trouble... And He Knows It
Aug30 Top Gov's Stunt Appears to Have Crashed and Burned
Aug30 Women's Vote Is Surging, at Least in Some States
Aug30 Cheney 2024 Would Help Trump 2024
Aug30 Blake Masters Is Running Quite the Campaign
Aug30 Today's Ratfu**ing News
Aug29 Republicans Are Quieter About the Mar-a-Lago Search Now
Aug29 Biden Is Up More in New Polls
Aug29 Democrats Have Read the Tea Leaves
Aug29 Could the Democrats Hold the House?
Aug29 Mark Meadows and Sidney Powell Are Subpoenaed in Georgia
Aug29 Is Ticket Splitting Dead and Gone?
Aug29 Senate GOP super PAC is Canceling Ads in Alaska and Arizona