Trump Scales Back Transition Planning Efforts

Donald Trump “has asked his campaign to cut back on work identifying candidates for key jobs in his would-be administration and focus instead on bolstering his chances on Election Day,” Reuters reports.

“They have, as a result, largely set aside efforts to identify candidates for key Cabinet positions, but are continuing work to fill lower-level jobs, such as Securities and Exchange Commission general counsel, that would allow Trump to begin basic work on his agenda if he won on Nov. 8, without worrying about winning political battles first.”

Top Democrats Divided Over Marco Rubio

“Tensions are flaring at the highest rungs of the Democratic Party over its decision to pull out of the Florida Senate race, with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and Florida donors pressing to go all out to unseat Marco Rubio in the final days of the campaign, but New York Sen. Chuck Schumer and the party’s Senate campaign arm arguing it’s not feasible because of budget constraints,” Politico reports.

Trump Has Spent More on Hats Than Polling

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign “has spent $1.8 million on polling from June 2015 through September of this year (the most recent month for which data are available.) The report also lists $3.2 million spent on hats,” the Washington Post reports.

“Trump has probably spent more on hats than he has spent on direct mail. The campaign filings occasionally aggregate a few things from the same vendor under one line-item, so some of the hat spending was on collateral generally that includes some hats. (His campaign spent more than $2 million on a line-item that was exclusively hats, though.) Overall, Trump’s spent about $15.3 million on collateral — shirts, hats, signs, etc. — more than he has spent on field consulting and voter lists and data.”

Trump Halts Big Dollar Fundraisers for the GOP

Donald Trump “has stopped holding events for his high-dollar fundraising operation for the rest of the campaign, an unusual move that deals another serious blow to the GOP’s effort to finance its get-out-the-vote operation before Election Day,” the Washington Post reports.

“Trump’s decision effectively turns off one of the main spigots to the Republican National Committee, which collected $40 million through Trump Victory as of Sept. 30. The party has devoted a large share of the funds to pay for its national voter mobilization program to benefit the entire Republican ticket.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“If we had party unity, we couldn’t lose this election to Hillary Clinton… The people are very angry with the leadership of this party, because this is an election that we will win 100 percent if we had support from the top. I think we’re going to win it anyway.

— Donald Trump, in an interview with Reuters.

Trump Says Clinton Could Cause World War III

Donald Trump told Reuters that Hillary Clinton’s plan for Syria would “lead to World War Three,” because of the potential for conflict with military forces from nuclear-armed Russia.

Said Trump: “What we should do is focus on ISIS. We should not be focusing on Syria. You’re going to end up in World War Three over Syria if we listen to Hillary Clinton.”

He added: “You’re not fighting Syria any more, you’re fighting Syria, Russia and Iran, all right? Russia is a nuclear country, but a country where the nukes work as opposed to other countries that talk.”

Clinton Leads Trump By 12 Points

A new Democracy Corps (D) survey shows Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump, 50% to 38%, with Gary Johnson at 5%.

Key finding: “There is a chance to translate Clinton’s emerging landslide into a wave down ballot. In a simulated contest where the Republican congressional candidate argues they are needed as an independent check on Clinton, the Democrats move into a 9-point lead in the congressional match-up after the Republican is attacked.”

Yes, It’s the Longest Campaign Possible

Washington Post: “To make things more excruciating, Election Day happens to be scheduled on the latest possible day this year. America votes not on the first Tuesday in November, but on the first Tuesday after a Monday in November — i.e., any time between Nov. 2 and Nov. 8. Because November 1 falls on a Tuesday, we have almost an entire extra week of campaigning this election. In fact, it’s the latest election date since George Bush faced off against Michael Dukakis in 1988.”

Jeff Greenfield: “It’s become just about all anybody can say: ‘I can’t wait for this election to be over.’ It also is very likely to become a textbook case of: ‘be careful what you wish for.’ If you think this contest has demonstrated fault lines in our political system, I have news for you: Come January, we may all be standing close to the San Andreas fault of government dysfunction.”

Trump’s Biggest Fear Is Losing Status

New York Times: “The intense ambitions and undisciplined behaviors of Mr. Trump have confounded even those close to him, especially as his presidential campaign comes to a tumultuous end, and he confronts the possibility of the most stinging defeat of his life. But in the more than five hours of conversations — the last extensive biographical interviews Mr. Trump granted before running for president — a powerful driving force emerges: his deep-seated fear of public embarrassment.”

“The recordings reveal a man who is fixated on his own celebrity, anxious about losing his status and contemptuous of those who fall from grace. They capture the visceral pleasure he derives from fighting, his willful lack of interest in history, his reluctance to reflect on his life and his belief that most people do not deserve his respect.”

“In the interviews, Mr. Trump makes clear just how difficult it is for him to imagine — let alone accept — defeat.”

Rauner Pours $46 Million Into Legislative Races

With little more than two weeks until Election Day, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner’s (R) personal investment in eroding the ranks of legislative Democrats led by House Speaker Michael Madigan (D) has grown to nearly $46 million, the Chicago Tribune reports.

“The massive influx of cash represents the election-year battle lines playing out in Illinois after more than a year of fighting between Rauner, the first-term governor, and Madigan, the nation’s longest-serving speaker, over the future of the state.”