May, 2016

Clinton Struggles to Find Her Footing

“Democrats could hardly believe their good fortune last month when it became clear that Hillary Clinton was headed to a general election showdown with Donald Trump. Mr. Trump carried so much baggage and had insulted so many voting blocs that some Clinton supporters began to imagine a landslide,” the New York Times reports.

“But early optimism that this would be an easy race is evaporating. In the corridors of Congress, on airplane shuttles between New York and Washington, at donor gatherings and on conference calls, anxiety is spreading through the Democratic Party that Mrs. Clinton is struggling to find her footing.”

“While she enjoys many demographic advantages heading into the fall, key Democrats say they are growing worried that her campaign has not determined how to combat her unpredictable, often wily Republican rival, to whom criticism seldom sticks and rules of decorum seem not to apply.”

Quote of the Day

“If she has not seen the dissatisfaction with establishment politics that’s out there now, then she is not a good politician at all.”

— Sen. Bernie Sanders, quoted by The Hill, arguing that if Hillary Clinton chooses a moderate Democrat as a running mate it would be “a disaster.”

Trump Says There’s No Drought In California

Donald Trump claimed that California is not facing a drought, USA Today reports.

“Trump said state officials were simply denying water to Central Valley farmers to prioritize the Delta smelt, a native California fish nearing extinction — or as Trump called it, ‘a certain kind of three-inch fish.'”

Said Trump: “If I win, believe me, we’re going to start opening up the water.”

Trump Attacks Judge In Trump University Case

“In one of his most personal attacks against an apolitical figure since becoming the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump delivered an extended tirade about the federal judge overseeing the civil litigation against his defunct education program,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Mr. Trump’s attack on U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel was extraordinary not just in its scope and intensity but for its location: Before a crowd packed into a convention center here that had been primed for the New York billionaire with a warm-up speech from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.”

After the audience chanted the Republican standard-bearer’s signature ‘build that wall’ mantra, Trump told them that Judge Curiel is “Mexican.”

Trump Camp Concedes It’s Low on Money

“Donald Trump’s campaign has alerted Senate Republicans that he won’t have much money to spend fending off attacks from Hillary Clinton over the next couple months.”

“The notice came when Paul Manafort, Trump’s senior advisor, met with a group of Senate Republican chiefs of staff for lunch last week, sources familiar with the meeting told the Washington Examiner. The admission suggests that Trump will be far more dependent on the GOP brass for money than he has led voters to believe, but it’s consistent with his reliance on the Republican National Committee to provide a ground game in battleground states.”

Trump Backs Out of Debate with Sanders

Donald Trump said he will not participate in a debate with Bernie Sanders, Politico reports.

Said Trump: “Based on the fact that the Democratic nominating process is totally rigged and Crooked Hillary Clinton and Deborah Wasserman Schultz will not allow Bernie Sanders to win, and now that I am the presumptive Republican nominee, it seems inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher.”

He added: “As I want to debate Bernie Sanders – and it would be an easy payday – I will wait to debate the first place finisher in the Democratic Party, probably Crooked Hillary Clinton, or whoever it may be.”

McConnell Says System Will Protect Against ‘Big Mistakes’

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that our system will prevent any “big mistakes” if Donald Trump becomes president, TPM reports.

Said McConnell: “Well, one thing I’m pretty calm about is that this is nowhere near the most divisive period in American history. But what protects us in this country against big mistakes being made is the structure, the Constitution, the institutions.”

He added: “No matter how unusual a personality may be who gets elected to office, there are constraints in this country. You don’t get to do anything you want to.”

Trump’s Campaign Is a Mess

“A constant stream of changes and scuffles are roiling Donald Trump’s campaign team, including the abrupt dismissal this week of his national political director,” the New York Times reports.

“A sense of paranoia is growing among his campaign staff members, including some who have told associates they believe that their Trump Tower offices may be bugged.”

“And there is confusion among his donors, who want to give money to a ‘super PAC’ supporting Mr. Trump, but have received conflicting signals from top aides about which one to support.”

Romney Says He Opposes Trump So He Can Sleep

Mitt Romney told the Wall Street Journal that the decision to take on Donald Trump was a matter of personal integrity.

Said Romney: “I know that some people are offended that someone who lost and is the former nominee continues to speak, but that’s how I can sleep at night. And there are some people, though it’s a small number, who still value my opinion.”

How Clinton Could Lose

Politico: “If Clinton pushes away some of her potential supporters; fails to energize others to vote; and fires up Trump’s base by pandering to her own—well, she just might be able to make the numbers work out for him. If he does pull off the election of the century, Trump’s path to 270 Electoral College votes will begin with 164 practically in the bank, from 21 solid-red states generally considered sure things for the Republican nominee.”

“Trump survives a Latino surge in the South and West; Clinton fails to bring home young voters in the Southeast and Midwest; Libertarians give Trump a foothold in the Northeast; the Rust Belt puts the nail in the coffin—and with somewhere between 274 and 325 electoral votes, Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States. Yes, the specifics could vary. But it’s clear Trump can cross the 270 electoral-vote threshold even on the low end, with plenty of cushion on the high end to make up for a state that slips through his fingers here or there.”

“For what it’s worth, it’s also possible Clinton wins in a landslide, as an increasingly unstable Trump shrinks deeper and deeper into racism, xenophobia and conspiracy theories. But what’s clear is that Democrats can no longer count on a lopsided race that even a problematic candidate running a clumsy campaign can’t lose.”

For members: The Consensus Electoral Map

Sanders Camp Suggests Trump May Be Chickening Out

Jeff Weaver, the campaign manager for Sen. Bernie Sanders, suggested Donald Trump may now be trying to avoid a debate between the two candidates, Politico reports.

Said Weaver: “There’s a little bit of foot-dragging now it seems on their side. It may be that, you know, there may be some chickening out or, you know, an unwillingness to stand on stage and really debate with Bernie Sanders because they know Bernie Sanders is going to do quite well in that debate, frankly.”

There’s No Gold Standard for Polling Anymore

Huffington Post: “When you take a closer look at the way various polls are conducted, there’s no one method that stands out as inarguably better than all the rest. Some people in the polling industry like to claim that polls done by live interviewers using randomly selected phone numbers are more accurate than surveys that use automated telephone technology or surveys conducted over the Internet. But research shows that’s not necessarily true.”

How Trump Destroyed the Interview

Politico: “Over the past 12 months of the presidential campaign, Donald Trump has dulled its power with his systematic evasions, contradictions and deceptions, making a general mockery of the form. Thanks to his skills at quibbling, his talent for the nonsequitur, and his willingness to reverse himself inside a single sentence, Trump has figured out how to soften rather than sharpen public discourse every time he is interviewed, blurring it into yet another form of meaningless PR, and—if he continues—destroying a journalistic institution in the process.”