As the smoke (and mirrors) begin to clear…

…the Trump campaign seems determined to unravel, the new management team notwithstanding. Now, he’s not merely hurting himself with his boorish, uninformed, repetitive “speeches”, shouted from the teleprompter, he’s dug himself into a major policy hole. This is not good, when a politician really only has one enunciated policy just two and a half months before Election Day.

I’ll comment on his continuing train wreck in a day or three. For now, let’s focus on some updates on the actual race going on here in the reality all but Trump and his supporters share.

Battleground update

Trump collapse or no, the steady conquest of the Battleground states by the well-funded, well-managed, well-oiled Clinton team continues apace.

Since the end of the Democratic Convention, many leading commentators, pundits, and pollsters have come around to the crazy suggestions I’ve put forth here:

  • Confirming your Truthteller’s early expectation, Georgia is definitely a Battleground, with several recent state polls indicting it may well go to Clinton
  • Arizona is similarly in play, and still regarded as a tossup, but the Clinton campaign is going all out to flip the state, and possibly send John McCain to his long-overdue retirement
  • Ditto South Carolina, which is on the cusp this week of turning light blue on my and various other Electoral maps
  • Missouri is now a toss-up in several models in addition to your Truthteller’s analysis of a week or so back.
  • Nevada is on its way to toss-upville, as Republicans there continue to desert Trump for Gary Johnson and others
  • This week, some experts have awakened to the possibility that Bayh’s Senate run could put Indiana in play for Clinton.

Believe it or not, all these momentous developments have taken shape in just a few short weeks before Labor Day, the traditional start for the general election campaigns.

We’re sticking for now with my crazy forecast of 411 Electoral Votes for Clinton, but with 74 days of fighting left, it’s conceivable that several more red states could teeter on the edge of the yawning blue abyss. Our readers will already know I’m watching Kansas and Mississippi for signs of a Clinton takedown. But 74 days of intensive campaigning is forever, so it won’t surprise me if we see these and possibly a few more surprises.

The fight for the Senate

To retake control of the Senate, the Democrats need gain only four seats. That will put them even with the Republicans, at 50 seats each. The Dems will have control, however, since Tim Kaine, who’ll be our next Vice President, will be casting the deciding vote in ties.

There are just ten Senate seats in serious contention in this cycle. One is held by retiring Democrat Harry Reid in Nevada. (Virginia will lose its Democrat Senator Tim Kaine as he steps up to the Vice Presidency, but he’ll be replaced by another Democrat appointed by the Democrat Governor in January, so that seat remains safe for the Dems.) I’m betting Reid’s machine will be able to keep his seat blue.

The other nine seats are held by Republicans:

  • New Hampshire
  • Pennsylvania
  • Ohio
  • Illinois
  • Wisconsin
  • North Carolina
  • Florida
  • Arizona
  • Missouri

The Republicans are in a tizzy, since all nine seats are potentially in play as the Trump bandwagon continues to falter. As of this moment, your Truthteller and most other analysts see at least five of these nine falling to the Democrats, while they successfully hold Reid’s Nevada seat. That would make the tally 51 blue versus 49 red, as Dr. Sam Wang’s Princeton Election Consortium model shows as of this week. But I expect to see at least one or even two additional Dem Senate pick-ups among the remaining four shaky Republican seats.

The outcomes of these battles are critically important, since they’ll dictate Clinton’s ability to name possibly two new Supreme Court Justices in the coming two years. But these contests are still dynamic, each with its own nuances, and all subject to the degree of Clinton’s blowout state-by-state, so we’ll have more to say about the specifics of these races in a future post.

The House divided…

…is by far the most interesting aspect of the race going forward. If the emerging Clinton electoral tsunami can raise the number of House Democrats to 218, she’ll have working control of the House for at least two full years. With Senator Schumer’s ability to work with the few remaining moderate Republicans in the Senate, that would mean she could bring much of her agenda to a vote, and then to passage, in the first two years, including what your Truthteller argues are the five highest priority items on her agenda:

  • The infrastructure renewal and jobs plan
  • Immigration reform
  • Voting rights restoration
  • Her tax reform plan
  • Her clean energy and jobs program.

These five together would constitute a major achievement for a two-term President, much less one only half way through her first term.

Others will insist that the other critical programs on her agenda, namely

  • Common sense gun reform
  • Election campaign finance reform
  • Criminal Justice reform
  • College tuition funding
  • The replacement of Obamacare

simply must be included in her first half-term. I’m sorry to say that it isn’t realistic to expect her to be able to accomplish more than five major pieces of legislation in two years, especially with the Senate still not fully controlled.

I’ll develop a case after the election for bringing these secondary programs to fruition after the 2018 Congressional election. I’ll go further, suggesting the outlines of a Clinton initiative that, if enacted, would make her Presidency the epochal achievement of the first half of the twenty-first century.

But in order to pass these programs, she needs to win the 2018 election commandingly. That is a very tall order, as we’ll discuss after November eighth.

For the present, however, re-taking the House is the only concern for a quantitatively oriented analyst. The experts are still saying it’s not going to happen. Your Truthteller knows that it could, and will explain his newest heresy soon. Watch this space, and don’t forget to keep your skepticism dry!