Draining the swamp, and…

…replacing it with a new luxury fishing pond for lobbyists, Trump loyalists, big corporations, and Republicans of all stripes. No, not those stripes. At least not yet. Anyway, prisoners don’t wear stripes anymore. Nowadays they wear bright orange jumpsuits.

Trump is leading by example in this stampede to corruption, by:

  • Continuing to refuse to show us his tax returns — without those, we’ll never know if, where, and how he’s using the powers and prestige of the Oval Office to curry favors and cash from his overseas “partners”
  • Resisting the demands of even his own adherents to put his business assets in a truly blind trust — Trump says by law he doesn’t have to do what all modern Presidents have done in order to minimize the potential for conflicts of interest
  • Pushing for a so-called “infrastructure plan” that would actually be little more than a giant tax-cut for his pals in the construction industry
  • and today, we learn that he plans to appoint an IRS Commissioner that will go easy on him in any audit he can’t avoid while he’s President.

So now we know that he’s draining the swamp only to make way for his own scheme for graft on an international scale, in sums that could run into the hundreds of millions of dollars, or more.

Jobs? The only jobs Trump’s concerned about are power positions for his adult children and his son-in-law.

As for ethics, Trump’s clearly not concerned with those annoying directives.

He’s grabbed us by the unmentionables, folks, and set it all up so that we’ll never even know how much he’s gotten away with.

Blind trust? Rather, trust, blinded.

 

Let the chaos begin

OK, so Trump has no management skills — can anyone who has read his long history of business failures find that surprising? Little wonder he and his so-called “transition team” cannot come up with a plan to staff the new administration; they could barely even develop a game plan for the campaign. Take the “game” out of it, and they are suddenly dead in the water. They clearly are unaware that the Ship of State is steaming straight for Trump Tower, on a collision course. The current confusion and disarray ensures that the new administration will hit the ground bumbling.

Again, no surprise. Trump got his win by lying and reality-show gimmicks, not through the diligent efforts of a skilled campaign team. Now that the exit-polling data from the election is beginning to come to light, we know that:

  • Many voters who had told pollsters they supported Clinton stayed home, or went to the polls and voted for Democratic candidates down-ballot, but decided on Trump at the top
  • Millions of Trump supporters refused to be polled, severely skewing the pollsters’ projections of likely support for the windbag
  • Millions of working-class whites in the Battleground states who had not voted recently, or never voted at all, came out for Trump.

Most galling of all,

  • We know now that Clinton won the popular vote by, probably, two million or more votes
  • She lost the most important Battleground states by a small number of votes; had she prevailed, she’d have won the Electoral College by a comfortable margin
  • The Comey Gambit cost her those Battleground votes, and about a million more last minute deciders around the country.
But it’s too easy to blame Trump’s win on the Comey game of “Now she’s not guilty”; “Wow! Here’s a bunch of unknown emails!”; and “Nah, she’s clean after all.”

The real, simple, embarrassing, shameful truth is that millions of white, working-class Americans came out of the political shadows to support the worst candidate in the history of the country. They were not persuaded to do this by Trump’s super-effective campaign machine, because no such machine ever existed. They were not brought to the polls as a result of the Republican Party’s ground game, because it was weak and missing in action, mostly, and never even knew of this missing legion of pissed-off white folks. They certainly were not motivated to go to the polls by the Trump plans and proposed policies to Make America Republican Again, because those plans and policies were never enunciated by the Donald or his endlessly spinning, reality-denying surrogates

The ugly truth is millions of Rust Belt and other swing state Trumpsters were motivated by Trump himself. It was his simple messages they heard, thanks to the thousands of hours of free television coverage by our lazy, unthinking mass media. It was his words of hate for the Other they heard, giddily, excited to finally hear a national celebrity defy all the rules of public discourse, rules the whites in their churches and bars and neighborhoods call “political correctness”, but which the rest of us call common civility.

It was the President-Elect’s false claims, personal bombast, childish over-simplifications, and outright lies they listened to, and loved, because his words were easy to understand, and, because they confirmed what these ignorant people truly feel and believe: that they are the Forgotten Americans, that it’s their toil and decency that makes the country work, and supports all these millions of immigrants, Blacks, Hispanics, and now, Muslims.

Donald Trump spoke to these people, and told them what they wanted to hear. He told them, directly, forcefully. He spoke, not some slick, sophisticated political consultants, not a bunch of clever TV ads, not the few wise voices of the print media still working to keep journalism alive.

Trump used the Big Lie strategy to perfection. We all laughed last Spring to hear that the only book Trump keeps by his nightstand in his golden tower is Hitler’s speeches, and, like in a second-rate TV drama, the last laugh is on us.

Now, he’s facing the challenge of turning just enough of the lies into truth, the task of converting the largest government on the planet to a bunch of fellow liars, the job of making reality conform to the fake reality he sold all those foolish people. He has to do this, or, soon, the millions he conned into supporting him will begin to turn on him.

It’s an impossible mission he’s asking his clown car team to achieve. Even a competent group of men and women couldn’t pull off the greatest Lie in human history, and the loyalists and goons surrounding Trump are showing themselves to have all the competence of the gang that couldn’t shoot straight.

The media sense this, are beginning to realize that when Trump is inaugurated January 20th, the Executive Branch of our government will not have a viable Chief Executive, and precious few other competent executives either, if any. The key positions in the government will mostly be empty of a key brain with the knowledge needed to do the job. We will begin the Trump Era in utter administrative chaos.

To some, this will be richly satisfying: the beginning of the Great Trumpian Fail. “So there, all you right-wing nut-jobs!” many will preen.

But we need to understand: nature, and history, abhors a vacuum. The absence of a working Administration will be the long-awaited opportunity for the forces of Ryan and McConnell to push their insidious ultra-Conservative agenda forward. They know Trump will have to sign almost any bill they submit in order to maintain the illusion that he is in charge, that he is the only one who can fix it, that he is draining the swamp.

We face, patient readers, Ryan’s rapid dismantling of much of the State. We face the certainty that the Supreme Court will take a sharp turn to the right, on a dystopian journey that could last decades, a dark, unforgiving trip that will see the likely reversal of many of the rights we all assumed were won over the past fifty years. Trump and his anti-progressive allies will soon be leading us on a forced march into fascist plutocracy. That is the danger now, which the absurdly foolish media and most Democrats cannot seem to get their heads around: the danger now that a rabid minority of unthinking fellow-citizens has let loose the Orange Kraken.

In the eye of the storm

My apologies for “going quiet” the last few days. Like many of you and millions of others around the country, I had to step back from what will turn out to be a historically critical event, and think.

I haven’t been sitting in my darkened office stewing how we Progressives have lost what had seemed a sure win in the Electoral College. It was obvious to me and other insiders by about ten PM on Tuesday that the polling data we had relied upon to construct our various models was waaay off the mark. I’d struggled while building my own little “late decider” predictive tool with the likelihood that turnout could vary widely from what the pollsters were expecting. The polling organizations don’t tell us the detailed assumptions in their likely voter screens, so none of us who use the polls were prepared for the shocker that all their screens were devastatingly wrong. Bigly wrong. Yoogely wrong.

Simply put, no one, on the Republican side as well as the Democrat/Progressive side, had a clue that millions of Trump supporters were actively “hiding” from the poll takers. And, equally disastrous, the pollsters’ likely voter assumptions overlooked the millions of Dems who “supported” Clinton ideologically, but could not stomach actually going out and voting for her. The statistical result was that all predictive models missed an enormous bunch of Trump voters, and over-estimated Clinton likely voters by as much as ten percent, depending upon the state.

So much for the math, and the egg on nearly every political analyst’s face.

But as I said, that was no longer on my mind these last few days.

What I’ve been wrestling with is the recognition that one famously Progressive voice had called this result fully five months earlier, when Michael Moore, the documentarian of despair and right-wing deceit, said flat-out that Trump was going to win.

He made this maddening prediction and stuck to it, even though he was fighting day in and day out all these months to ensure it would turn out to be wrong. His assessment was based not on clever modeling methods but his deep, personal, and long experience of living with and studying the white industrial uneducated under-class; the core of Trump’s army of anger.

I’ve always respected Moore’s selfless, dedicated, persistent documentary work. He grabs an issue and then, like a terrier with a chew toy, won’t let it go until he has exposed the truth and captured it in a way millions can understand.

But I’ve never listened to his mind. I have, now, belatedly, and am considering his thoughts and advice in formulating my own. We have, as he has recently said, an incredibly challenging four years of struggle ahead of us. Those who are able must prepare, and plan, and think.

We are in the eye of the storm, reader. To preserve and protect the best, we must ready ourselves to face the worst.

Trump trumps love

Call it Brexit 2, call it the triumph of the mob, call it an American tragedy. What we label this stunning defeat of rational governance doesn’t matter, won’t make us feel any better, will not soften the hard truth we learned last night: Exactly one half of the voters in this country have taken it away from the other half.

How did it happen? That’s for another essay, or five, and I may choose not to write it/them. The crushing fact is that I, along with all other self-styled “experts” and “political scientists” relied on polls to tell us what the people were thinking and feeling, and the polls were disastrously off. The polls did not include the views, the hatreds, the frustrations, the despair of millions of angry White working class and rural people. These folks, especially the ones in the Battleground states, saw the pollsters as part of the established governing and economic order, and refused to play the polling game. They hid in the weeds of our broken economy, and waited. They waited for November 8th, and the chance to grab a pitchfork and stick it the heart of the democracy that had failed them for thirty years and more.

They received an unexpected assist by FBI Director James Comey, when, on October 29th, he announced the discovery of 650,000 emails, some of which might be related to Hillary Clinton. It must have seemed to Trumps’ bumbling campaign team at that moment that there was a God, and that He was White. Overnight, the “discovery” energized Trump supporters, the ones who’d been polled, and the ones who hadn’t. “They’re gonna nail her!” went the internet, Sure, nine days later, Comey dropped the new “investigation”, clearing Clinton of the renewed suspicion. But the damage was done.

Trusting the polls, I made a model that at one point suggested a potential tsunami of votes for Clinton. I was wrong: the polls we were all looking at didn’t include about 5% of the country’s likely voters, all those hidden Trump supporters. The wave came, alright, but we were the ones who were drowned. Mea culpa.

Now, we have a con man about to bring his clownish confederates into the White House. May the native wisdom and courage of the better half of the country protect us, for it’s a certainty God won’t — he is White, and wants to resurrect a past when He was worshiped by ignorant masses.

 

The waiting begins — our final report before Tuesday evening

Let’s call it “Comey’s Betrayal”.

When FBI Director Comey announced yesterday that the 650,000 emails found on the Weiner man’s laptop were mostly duplicates, or completely unrelated to Hillary Clinton, he closed one chapter of the seemingly endless investigation into the Clinton server, and opened a new, far darker one on the FBI, and Comey himself. We shall see after the election if anyone or the Bureau is ever prosecuted for this massive violation of the Hatch Act. But for now, the damage has been done:

  • The renewed suspicions and doubts as to Clinton’s veracity have seriously undermined her potential national winning margin
  • The reduced margins in several key states may mean that the Democrats fail to retake conrol of the Senate
  • It’s highly likely that the Democrats will be unable to flip the required 30 House seats needed to take control, and end the last six years of complete gridlock due to ultra-conservative Republican obstructionism.

Our new late-decision model, which focuses on the Battleground states, was impacted directly, as the polls in those states tightened day by day since Friday, October 28th. As a result, our final projection for Clinton’s winning margin nationally is just above 10%, well into “wave” territory, but well short of the tsunami we had expected just two weeks ago.

In spite of Comey’s illegal action, we can still predict that Clinton will win a convincing Electoral College victory. We now project her total to be 355 EVs. (See our latest Electoral Vote map at Truthteller’s Final Projection.

It’s going to be a great win for the nation’s first female President and Commander-in-Chief, and a crushing defeat for the odious Trump, easily the worst Presidential candidate in our history. It’s going to be especially sweet to see President Obama’s legacy and hope preserved for another term, and a Supreme Court pointed at last toward a progressive future rather than pining for a reactionary past.

When the dust settles, we can say more about the prospects for the Clinton Presidency. But we can predict already that she will be hounded by the Republican-controlled House and blocked at every turn in her efforts to deliver on her agenda goals. We can say as well that a major Democrat/Progressive campaign to keep her fragile Senate majority and win a majority in the House in 2018 will need to begin immediately.

No rest for the weary, in other words. But some satisfaction for us nonetheless, as we see the gnashing of teeth and wailing and whining of a cowardly, demoralized, humiliated, ideologically defeated Republican Party.

Head down, defying the (bull)s**t-storm, moving forward

The new stash of emails being “reviewed” by the FBI will have a palpable affect on the outcome of the election. It was unconscionable that FBI Director Comey chose to announce the existence of these previously unknown emails just eleven days before Election Day, as even President Obama has now said.

What damage has the final October Surprise done?

  • It has apparently energized the Trump voters in a major way, but remains unclear how many of these irregular voters will actually come out to vote next Tuesday
  • The possibility that the Clinton case might be re-opened has seriously impeded the gradual drift of undecided or Libertarian Republican-leaning late-deciding voters toward Clinton as reflected in our new tracking model, while sending a higher proportion toward Trump
  • It has caused the Trump campaign to send the Donald on a wild goose chase for Electoral Votes to New Mexico, Colorado, Wisconsin, and Michigan, even though he stands no chance of willing any of those states
  • It has raised the noise level of national media to new levels of lightweight commentary and melodrama, leading to an even less-informed electorate in the days when they need real information more than ever.
Time for a little perspective

Yes, the TV news channels are hopping up and down about the emails and so-called “tracking polls”, because their bosses want to persuade you that this contest is still a “horse race”, and no one knows who’ll win. Poppycock. The truth is that this was never a horse race, not from the moment Trump was nominated. Clinton had an average lead in the polls of 5% from June all the way through this week. When the lesser-quality or openly biased polls are eliminated, her lead has been around nine percent. Consistently. Trump never had a serious chance, and that was true even before he set out to self-demolish his candidacy after the Democratic convention.

The media has played all of us for fools, in order to attract viewers and readers and advertising dollars.

Clinton’s Electoral College win is still very much assured. Dr. Wang of the Princeton Election Consortium puts her odds at greater than 99%.

We also learned late Tuesday evening from a survey of Florida voters who had already voted that 28% of the registered Republicans had voted for Clinton. Out of disgust for Trump, they had split their ticket, in other words. This result, by a very well reputed polling organization, sent a shock wave through those of us nerds who spend all our time these days trying to analyze polls and other election trivia. If, and it’s a large if, this behavior is replicated among Republicans nation-wide, well, then, Trump is already toast.

Another finding from this early-exit poll in Florida is that Clinton’s winning margin over Trump was 53% to 38%–spot-on with our new model’s latest predictions for November 8th. Encouraging, for sure, but we need to hold off on the shouting, since we cannot now say if the new email scare will throw off our math come Election Day.

On the downside, many Clinton supporters are worrying that the early voting by African American young people is down, as compared to 2012. This was expected, since President Obama is not on the ballot. Mind, too, that a big factor has been the attempts by the state administration (again) in North Carolina and Ohio to suppress the early vote in Black communities. We’re confident Black turnout will be relatively high, and we remind readers that Hispanic-Americans are voting in record-smashing numbers, all across the country. Women are also coming out to register and vote this year, thanks to the Great Orange Misogynist.

We can also say that the magnificent GOTV machine built by President Obama and augmented by Clinton is in high gear in all the Battleground states. Trump has no comparable ground game, and is clearly unaware that only a massive army on the ground would be able to get his newly-registered voters out to the polls. This failure will probably cost him several points on Election Day nationally, as well as in the few swing states he must win to prevail.

Conclusions heading into the final weekend

The tightening of the race won’t affect the final outcome of the Presidential contest; Clinton will win with a commanding victory, since she still has a robust lead in more than enough states to secure the presidency. But her winning margin in several key states will be reduced. This in turn will probably lessen Democratic chances of carrying Senate races in New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and North Carolina. The much-discussed possible Democratic takeaway in Missouri might also be impacted. Clinton needs three of these seats to retake control of the Senate.

The other serious negative after Director Comey’s Friday night ambush will be in down-ballot races, where a smaller national winning margin can be expected to translate into less House seat flips than we had projected just a few weeks ago. It’s now likely that Clinton will come up at least a dozen seats short of the 30 she’d need to re-take the House and send Ryan and his reactionary agenda packing.

We can’t make a solid estimate of Clinton’s final national winning margin, thanks to the email discovery and all the other variables in this whack-o election year, But we can project that it’s still likely to be above ten percent. That will put her win solidly in landslide territory, while keeping the final Senate and House results up in the air.

Netting it out, we won’t know until Election Day

  • How many Republican women will decide in the voting booth to split their ballot and vote for Clinton
  • How many of the late-deciding third party supporters will finally go for Clinton, or Trump
  • How many of Trump’s supporters will actually turn out
  • How many of the last few undecided voters will show up, and which way they’ll split
  • How successful Clinton’s ground game.has been in motivating the various cohorts of her new coalition.

We’ll continue running our much-battered new tracking model and make our final estimate Sunday evening.