|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:
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.
|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?
|The good news is that the election will be over in just nine days.
The bad news is that between today and Tuesday, November 8th, most of us may suffocate from the endless stupidities being shouted by Trump and his surrogates, and repeated by the dumbed-down media. Trump is after voters, and the media is after audience and the advertising dollars that come with viewers and readers. Many have told me over the decades that I’m going straight to Hell. I almost wish such a place existed, for it would be a great pleasure to see Kellyanne Conway and the other Trump surrogates along with various TV “journalists” on fire for real.
This election has been full of information, 99% of which is not informative. Those looking for the truth are pretty much on their own. Lost in the mind-numbing endless repetitive chatter, lies, misleading claims, bitter accusations, and Trump insults are these truths that are among the more important ones just now:
Not bad, fellow citizens; not bad at all.
Truthteller “Late decider prediction tool” update
We’ve continued daily tests of our new model, and it is still performing as we’d hoped. Meaning it’s quietly tracking the steady, unspectacular drift of the remaining third party and undecided supporters to Clinton and Trump. As hypothesized back in September before the first debate, the great majority of these late deciders are indeed falling to Clinton.
Readers will recall we’re testing the new tool using the main twelve Battleground state daily poll averaged results. These are the most hotly contested states, the ones that will decide the election. As of last night, October 29th, since September 26th in these key states:
Just to remind you, the primary purpose of the new tool is to predict the final national winning margin for the victorious candidate. This percentage is the key predictor in guessing how many House seats, if any, might flip to Democrat occupants. More on this below, but for now we can say that the tool predicts that Clinton will win with at least a 15% margin over Trump. To be blunt, this projection is regarded by most experts as wishful, possibly insane, thinking.
The main analytical problem in 2016
As noted here and in many other election analysis sites, the undecided likely voters are taking their time to make up their minds. Similarly, the greater number of third partiers than has been the case in prior elections are hanging on to their candidates right down to the wire. We cannot really blame these late deciders, given the tendency in this ugly contest for a new revelation to appear every ten days or so. These last roughly fifteen percent of the likely voters have made life miserable for the polling organizations. Many of their most revered “rules” and past voter behavior patterns simply don’t apply this year, with its two intensely disliked main candidates, and its two third parties.
Seeing this relatively huge pool of late-deciders on the horizon is the reason we invented a special-purpose, applies-to-2016-only predictive model in September. It’s experimental, and hard to test, since there are no fat files full of past data to use, simply because this type of election has never occurred before.
What we expect to see
With eight more testing days to go, we may find a flaw in the math, but based on the trial so far, we’re confident that the model will come reasonably close to predicting Clinton’s final victory margin. With each passing day, the shift of the majority of late deciders to Clinton has been rock-steady.
Then came a stunning confirmation of our tentative projection from a quality polling service. Over nineteen million voters have already voted, so Reuters/IPSOS finally has enough of a pool to build a sample of these early deciders. Yesterday they announced that Clinton’s reported winning margin among these folks was, indeed, 15%! We cannot say for certain if that margin will hold up through November 8th, but if it should be close to that, then we’ll feel our effort was vindicated.
Much more importantly, a huge winning margin of twelve percent or more will give the Dems a good chance of adding 30 or more House seats to their present total, and taking control of the Congress.
We’ll publish our final projection next weekend, before Election Day.
|Just two weeks to go! Soon we’ll all be able to step back and survey the damage done to our democracy by the worst Presidential election campaign in living memory.
We can take comfort in the very high probability that Trump will face a crushing defeat on Election Day. We can also breathe a collective sigh of relief that Clinton will hold the vacated Harry Reid Senate seat in Nevada, plus take at least five away from the Republicans, for a net 51 to 49 Senate tally. My forecast says she will get at least one more, and could even get two more, depending on the results in Florida, Missouri, and North Carolina.
Hopefully, all our readers have already voted, as have we. But we cannot just sit back and wait for the results in two weeks. The one remaining issue of how many Congressional seats Clinton can flip on November 8th is a long way from being settled. As the frightened comments by seasoned Republican political operatives and pollsters testify, the House is very much in play.
Here’s what we think we know.
If Clinton’s winning national margin is, say 7%, most experienced observers feel she’ll take a net 10-12 House seats away from Paul Ryan. The prevailing estimating rule of thumb, such as it is, advises that for each additional percentage point she achieves, she can expect an additional four to six seats to flip.
The consensus estimate going into these final two weeks is that Clinton will win by about ten points, nationally, or three points above her current seven in the most-quoted polling averages. If we assume just four seats gained per point, the three additional margin points should yield another twelve seats, bringing her flip total to, say, 22 to 24 seats. We cannot guarantee this number, but we can say it’s not outside the bounds of reasonable expectations, based on the (still poor) understanding we have of the winning mechanics in Gerrymandered House seats.
A wave by any other name is… holy s**t!
Now it gets really interesting. If Clinton’s wave builds into a true electoral tsunami, what are the odds she’ll add another ten or more seats to her flip score?
About a month back, we concluded the best way to estimate this possibility is to model the late-decision behavior among five distinct voter sub-populations:
We further hypothesized that in this particular year, with its two intensely disliked major party candidates, the third group, the undecided voters who finally come out to vote, will not split evenly between Trump and Clinton. Rather, we’re predicting the majority of such voters will opt for Clinton. (See older posts for my simple reasoning to support this radical idea.)
We decided to focus our analysis on the twelve key Battleground states, using only recent state poll results. The twelve states are Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida. (We are also modeling Missouri, Texas, and Georgia out of curiosity, but their results are not included in our prediction numbers.) Our thinking was that tracking the day-to-day polling in the hotly contested swing states would clearly reveal evidence for our splitting theory, if any such proof comes to light.
We built such a tool and had it ready to test by September 26th, the day of the first debate.
Our first challenge was to track day-today-changes in the five reported voter categories:
Our second challenge would be to predict the ultimate percentage split among these five groups into the more refined subgroups listed earlier. The key assumptions here are that Clinton supporters would do as they had told the pollsters they would, but that while the majority of Trump’s supporters would come out to vote for him, a proportion of them would not, after being told by Trump himself so often that their votes would not matter in this “rigged” election. Or, as we speculated here months ago, many Trump-supporting women would decide at the last moment not to cast their vote for him out of sheer disgust.
Results to date
We’re still tweaking the second part of our new baby, but the first part, the tracking of the decision pattern among the Johnson/Stein sujpporters and undecideds, is humming along nicely.
To begin, we isolated the percentage of 3rd party and undecided voters in all 12 Battleground states. Together, they made up 18.67% of all the polled likely voters (in these twelve specific states, not in the country as a whole). Since September 26, the “movement” among the Battleground voting groups tested by the tool has been as follows:
A stunner, readers, truly! In these past three weeks, just 17% of the late-deciders so far have chosen Trump, while 83% have moved to Clinton.
Our intuitive vote splitting theory is thus validated. That’s reassuring. But the fact that nine out of ten late-deciders still have yet to make up their minds is unsettling, at least for someone trying to predict Clinton and Trump’s final share of the national vote.
What it means for November 8th
Undaunted by the large remaining number of late-deciders, which nationally come to about 8% of voters still supporting the 3rd parties and 5% still undecided, we can now make an initial estimate of Clinton’s likely final winning margin. First, we think that only 3 of the third partier 8 percent will stick with their candidates through November 8th. We’ll also hazard that 2 of the 5 percent currently undecideds will “decide” not to vote, and stay home. If we’re close to being right, that should leave a total of 8 of the 13 percent late deciders making a choice for either Clinton or Trump.
Based on our model results to date, we suggest that at least 75% of these voters, equal to 6 of the 8 late decider percent, will be voting for Clinton. This would add 6 national points to Clinton’s current 48, for a final national share of 54%. Trump would pick up the remaining 2 points, bringing his final total share from today’s 39% to 41%.
A 13% winning margin for Clinton on November 8th, in other words. Mega wave!
But wait, there’s less…
There’s going to be more bad news for Trump. We can be certain that some percentage of his current supporters are going to decide in the end to stay home, or go to the polls to support the down-ticket Republicans, but not vote for Trump.
But no one has a clue right now what proportion of the Republican voters will choose this course. We happen to think the number will be small, on the order of perhaps one in twenty of his present polled supporters. That would be about 2 points deducted from the 41 points we estimated for him above. Not a very big deal, it may seem; a paltry five percent.
But these opt-out Trumpsters would be lowering his final national vote share to 39% again — and give Clinton, with her 54 point final total, an estimated final margin of 15%! (Our experimental tool actually predicts a margin of above 16% at the moment, since the split-out of late-deciders we used in the example above was conservative.)
If, and, folks, this is a very large-sized if, Clinton earned four seat flips for each margin percentage point above seven, at 15% we would be talking of a total House take-away total of 40 seats. Or, deep breath everyone, more.
Hold on to your life-preservers, any readers out there who are supporting the Donald — surf’s up!
Here’s an insider tip for those worrying that the new ABC/WaPo polling lead of 12% for Clinton might be an outlier result, erring on the upside. Readers need to be aware that the oft-quoted national lead for Clinton of “6 or 7%” used by the TV lightweights is low. They mostly just quote the Real Clear Politics average, which is a seriously flawed number. Some use the Huffpost Pollster general polls average instead, which currently shows a 7.3% lead.
But for much improved accuracy, we use a customized version of the Huffpost average. Here’s the link:
Huffpost average — corrected TruthTeller version 2016/10/24. Technical note — we’ve used only the “live phone” polls collected by Huffpost Pollster. These are the most reliable polls.
When you open the above link (in a new tab), you’ll see that Clinton is probably leading Trump nationally by almost eleven points, not six or seven. This in turn means that the ABC/WaPo lead of 12 points is not so different. It’s a point higher because the poll was taken entirely after the 3rd debate, while the (corrected) Huffpost average of 11 points includes hundreds of polls results going back to August 1st.
Looking ahead two weeks, we expect Clinton’s final lead going into Election Day eve to climb further, probably topping out between 13.5 and 14%. Hang on to your spreadsheets, folks; we’re headed for a wave of historic proportions!
Welcome to all you new TruthTeller readers
Thank you for signing up! The TruthTeller blog was not scheduled to be launched until next year, when it would deal primarily with the issues of climate change and global warming mitigation, my primary research and analytical interest area. But seeing the potential disaster of a Trump-led Republican victory in this election cycle, I decided to start TruthTeller this year, hoping to add my quantitative analysis talents, such as they are, to the dialog.
I hope I’ve been able to make some of the complexities of this uniquely hard-to-predict race a little clearer. Even more, I hope you all will stay with us after November 8th. We’ll be commenting on the new administration, especially as part of our focus on mobilizing people and resources to deal with the looming climate disaster. We’ll also continue to track the first stages in the 2018 Congressional contest, when the Clinton team will be challenged to hang on to their 2016 winnings.
|…The Clinton Coalition is on the verge of swamping the Republicans in a wave not seen since Lyndon Johnson crushed them in 1964. Many pundits are finally awakening to this possibility; we intimated as much months ago in our first Battleground map.
Could something suddenly throw up a roadblock to the looming progressive victory? Well, sure; in an era of Wikileaks and sensationalistic revelations it would be daft to assume that the contest is over before it’s truly over: we’ve only to remember how Trump threw himself under his own fancy bus just ten days ago.
But time is short, and it’s unlikely in our judgment Clinton’s juggernaut can be slowed, much lest stopped. The notion that some massive mob of mystery Trump supporters will emerge from their shadows of shame, vote for him, and pull off a surprise win is, sorry, absurd.
The TruthTeller swing vote predictor tool
We’re still testing the new model with each day’s results, but the trend is clear: third party and undecided voters are making up their minds for Clinton, not Trump.
Long-demonstrated political experience says that most third party and undecided voters will opt to support one or the other of the two major party candidates as the contest nears decision day. Conventional wisdom has it that these last-minute deciders will tend to split roughly fifty-fifty.
Seeing the very substantial number of third party and undecideds this year, we wondered if that might foretell a different split. Our theory was, loosely, that the late-deciding voters would disproportionately decide for Clinton. Our reasoning was simple:
We therefore concluded that
As announced to our readers, I proceeded to construct a last-minute swing vote model that could predict such a result in credible numbers.
The express objective? To test my hypothesis that in this specific and uniquely messy election, as the three categories of “swing” voters gradually opt for one or the other major parties, the disproportional majority of them will go for Clinton.
How it works
Unlike current models, ours contrasts a consolidation of polling in the twelve main Battleground states with the averaged consensus national poll. We know the results in the BG states will tend to be tighter, since that is where the contest is being waged most intensely. But the national trend is also important, since that correlates better with how each party will do in the Congressional races.
The model employs only recent state polls in the more or less “traditional” Battleground states, namely: Virginia, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, Nevada, Ohio, and Iowa, plus a twelfth I added last Spring, Arizona, after I realized the Latino vote was swelling there along with Colorado and Nevada. (Georgia, which I saw as another potential new swing state, has so far this cycle failed to develop sufficiently to make the Battleground cut, but should be there by 2020.)
Basically, our BG sub-model allocates 1200 percentage points — twelve states times 100 — across the five distinct voting categories:
plus what I define as the three categories of “swing” voters
We were ready to begin test runs on September 26th, the day of the first debate.
Complications — what else is new?
After a week or so of initial runs, we were gratified to see just the sort of trending our thought-model had suggested. In the two weeks between the first and second debates, we saw a steady increase in Clinton’s percentage of the vote across the BG states, excepting Iowa.
In the same period, we saw Trump’s share of the vote holding more or less steady. Meaning her gains had to be coming from the third parties and/or the undecideds. But the undecideds were also holding at the level of September 26th, so her gains were in fact coming from the two third party candidates. These voters were NOT going to Trump, just as our hypothesis had predicted. Satisfactory, dear Watson.
Then, on Friday October 7th, we all saw the Access Hollywood tape. Almost overnight the numbers began to roil, mainly due to millions of women, and men too, rejecting Trump’s boorish behavior, along with his insincere apology for it. In the week since, the polling has been all over the NBC Studios lot, as women come forth to accuse Trump of being a sexist liar and molester.
How a trend becomes a wave
Just before the 2nd debate, we were ready to share the preliminary results of our testing with you readers. The results at that point projected a strong Dem victory in every one of the twelve key Battleground states, even including Iowa. More importantly, the new tool forecasted a national win for Clinton of 12.2 points over Trump.
This margin is terribly important, since anything above 6 or 7 points nationally can spell a major win in the Senate and House of Representatives contests. In 2008, for example, the Obama team flipped 21 House seats after beating McCain by 7 points. If our estimate of 12% turned out to be correct, the 30 seats needed to return the House to Democratic control would likely be within reach.
But then, two immature boors on a bus happens, and the polling numbers go bananas.
They’re still unsettled, but our latest run, Saturday the 15th, suggests a winning Clinton margin above 14%. Gulp. We’ll keep running the tests, and hope that we see a final trend emerge about five days after the upcoming Wednesday third debate. That should let us make a prediction for the Democratic prospects in the House, with, still, nearly two weeks to go before voting day.
Watch this space!
So she said, and so she is. Clinton has demonstrated once again that she is a supremely competent, dedicated lifetime public servant who’s also gifted at taking down overblown bullies. It wasn’t even close, a total mismatch. Trump may stick his name on tall towers, but her intellect and command of the issues towers far above his self-centered view of the egoistic, delusional, adolescent reality he inhabits.
Was anything accomplished by the public deflating of the Orange windbag?
Certainly not among Trump’s benighted followers, who will be whining from now to November how he was cheated, or treated with no respect, or prevented from repeating his bellicose lies for the fifth time by an unfair moderator.
So far as Clinton’s supporters are concerned, their worst fears about Trump’s lack of fitness for the Presidency, his bullying egoism, his mental deficiencies, and his unstable temperament were confirmed. The only surprise was that Mr. Stamina doesn’t actually have much. Oh, and that, as Dr. Howard Dean speculated, he may be on coke.
With some 45% of voters presently locked in for Clinton, and about 38% mesmerized by Trump’s BS, it’s the roughly 17% in the middle who’ll decide the election.
As for these third party and undecided voters, the 3PUs as I call them, we won’t know for a few days how many were moved under the Clinton coalition umbrella to avoid the deluge of Trumpian lies and downright dumb Republican “policy proposals”. My experience says a seriously large chunk of the educated white independents have seen enough, and will not be voting for Trump. At the same time, their dislike for Clinton remains strong, even if she took real steps to mute it last night, so these “Republican Independents” will probably stay in the Libertarian or undecided ranks. For now.
But even without a slew of fresh national and Battleground state polls, one overnight fact jumps out from Trump’s disastrous showing: an instant CNN/ORC poll showed 62% of the debate watchers judged Clinton the hands-down winner, versus just 27% awarding the fight to Trump, leaving 11% undecided.
Given this data, here’s your insider analytical fact package of the morning.
The 27% nicely matches the 28% hard-core Trump supporters assumed by the Truthteller model. The eleven percent undecided matches my current 3PU number of 16%, minus the currently expected slippage in our model of at least five percent going to Clinton when the final tally is completed November 8th..
But here’s the tantalizing possibility: could the 62% equal a (now) new “Clinton core” of 57% plus the 5% switcheroos? If so, that would point to a potential landslide for Clinton. It makes my head spin, even though the brain inside assures me this cannot be true.
Watch this space!
The thunderous Dallas Morning News endorsement of Hillary Clinton this morning must not be minimized, or dismissed as a fluke. For those not aware, this right-wing newspaper is Texas. Not the Texas of the minorities, the students, the working class, or many of Texas’s progressive-leaning professionals; rather, the Texas of the old monied, the propertied, the business barons, the suburban gentry and the ranchers of the endless Texas prairie.
For the Dallas Morning News to defy the official Republican Party line and reject its candidate in damning terms is like splitting the state asunder, letting loose the pent-up energies of millions of forward-thinking Texans who’ve been blocked by decades of obstructionist Republican administrations.
The Dallas Morning News political about-face reflects the low esteem Texans have for Trump, and Clinton’s strong current showing in the state polls. But the endorsement also caps years of steady voter registration drives among minority communities, pro-women activism, and determined election campaigns such as Senator Wendy Davis’ run for Governor.
Today’s striking Dallas Morning News endorsement offers an enormous game-changing opportunity to the Clinton campaign: the Clinton team should mount a bold, aggressive, targeted TV ad campaign, and maintain it through October.
A balanced, sustained anti-Trump, pro Clinton TV campaign in Texas will
- Force the Republicans to spend hundreds of thousands of scarce dollars on defense
- Expose Texans to the many flaws and lies of the Trump campaign — most Texans still have little to no knowledge of the Trump U fraud scandal, Trump’s campaign law violations, Trump’s legacy of failed Casinos and other businesses, or Trump’s now-you-see-it-on-video, now-he-denies-it history for over a year of misogyny, sexism, racism, and flat-out anti-Constitutional statements
- Let Texans see for themselves why so many true Republicans and Conservatives have openly stated he is not fit to be Commander-in-Chief.
On the positive side, the campaign will
- Energize the Democratic candidates and their supporters — the Democrats of Texas have not seen support from the national party in the past fifty years
- Motivate Black and Latino voters to register, then come out to vote
- Be a lightning rod for a hundred thousand or more Texas students — these young people have no effective way to show their contempt for Trump; a push by the Clinton campaign would give their voices a megaphone
- Show Texas voters who Hillary Clinton really is, and what she has really done over her 40-plus years of dedicated public service.
The potential results of this bold campaign stratagem are profound:
- Flip Texas, with its 38 Electoral Votes, from red to blue in the current election
- Potentially carry several Democratic congressional candidates to victory, flipping those vital House seats
- Give a stunning win to the progressive New Texas Coalition forces in the first battle for a permanently purple Texas going forward.
Moving Texas to the political center in one bold move would radically change the political strategic map for 2020 and beyond.
But the win this November needs to be the first step. It can be accomplished with a precision-guided Democratic ad campaign.
…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.
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
- North Carolina
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!
With both conventions behind us, we can now estimate Trump’s and Clinton’s polling bounces. Clinton is at eight to ten points over Trump nationally, and his number appears to be trending lower than July 19th, the beginning of his convention, which of course, was supposed to raise his numbers. We expect Clinton to climb higher by next week, perhaps by as many as 3 points, which would put her at approximately 14 to 15 points, net, above Trump, assuming he continues to slip.
What is complicating the post-convention analysis this year is the timing of the Democratic convention, which was scheduled in part to effectively suffocate any bounce from the Republican show in Cleveland. The Dem ploy has worked, probably far more successfully than the Brooklyn planners had dare hope. A further analytical complication is the contrast in mood and tone of the two conventions, with Trump’s gloomy vision driving the GOP’s four days versus four days the following week filled with Clinton’s positive messages, presented by the biggest stars in American politics. Finally, there was the exceptionally high quality of the Democrat’s production versus the sloppy, demoralizing Trump show–which he had bragged would be the “greatest!”, and now says he had nothing to do with.
These factors all doubtless contributed to Clinton’s steep climb just days after the Philadelphia convention ended. But we also need to account for the undeniable and still unfolding impact of the speech by Mr. Khizr Kahn, father of war hero Captain Humayun Kahn. His forthright challenge to Trump’s values, patriotism, and understanding of the Constitution on Thursday evening the 28th was one of the most powerful seven minutes this country has ever witnessed in a political campaign.
The stuns of August
Traditionally, presidential campaigning has been relatively quiet in August. With the Rio games due to start tomorrow, this August was expected to give the candidates and their teams a post-convention break. But it now looks as if August will see campaigning at the same pace as the earlier part of the year. The Clinton team is smelling the chance to lock up her victory even before Labor Day, the traditional start of the high-intensity phase of national campaigns. All this suggests August will be a rough test for the Trump cause.
Trump’s August problems actually began on July 28th, with Mr. Kahn’s speech. It’s evident even without a pollster survey that the Dem’s bounce owes possibly as much as a third of its 8 to 10 point margin over Trump to Mr. Kahn’s moving story, and to his courage in throwing down the ethical gauntlet to Trump. More importantly, Mr. Kahn’s words and his wife’s stoic bravery seem to have grabbed American hearts and minds on all parts of the political spectrum, especially among the military communities. Serving men and women, their families, veterans, Gold Star families–all appear to be questioning their traditional loyalty to the Republican ticket, thanks mainly to Khizr Kahn.
Your Truthteller does not see this pro-Clinton trend in the military vote going away anytime soon. She had already established her national security chops, and materially strengthened them with an extraordinary red, white and blue-colored convention. Then Mr. Kahn makes his bold challenge to Trump’s very humanity, and, like the adolescent he is, Trump thoughtlessly attacks the Kahn family. Instantly the Republicans try to distance themselves from Trump yet again, but it’s too late: immediately, stories are re-circulating about Trump’s draft-dodging in 1968, his overblown claims of assisting veterans, and his lack of concern with his fellow New Yorkers who were affected by 9/11.
The media and pundit-class tend to focus on the story, but the real impact of this incident could be a serious decline in Republican support by potentially millions of military votes, especially in Virginia, North Carolina!, South Carolina, and, double Yikes!, Georgia–with its sixteen electoral votes.
Then, August 2nd, the Trump cause was dealt another major blow when Meg Whitman, a deeply conservative superstar and one of the most successful businesspersons in the U.S., announced she’d be voting for Clinton, and supporting her run with cash as well. Unlike Trump, Ms. Whitman is a real billionaire, times two, and a rising power in Republican political circles. The Trump people should be cowering, since, in her campaign to win the Governor’s office in California, she spent $144 million of her own money. If she goes on the campaign trail, a pairing of her on the stage with Bill Clinton in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina, and of her with Tim Kaine in Spanish-speaking Nevada, Arizona, Colorado and Florida, would make for major coverage by the cable news networks, sucking the available time away from Trump’s same old, same old, bluster-burdened, boring rallies.
This is about to be war
Speaking of the rallies game, Trump’s team had to have been discouraged to see Clinton and her top-level surrogates charge out of the gate after the convention with a well-targeted, thoroughly professional tour. She has above a dozen highly respected surrogates ready to go forth into the battleground states on her behalf, starting with the President and Michelle Obama. When it comes to crowd-motivating oratory, the Republicans have no one of the caliber of Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Sherrod Brown, not to mention Bill Clinton, from Hope, Arkansas. Adding Whitman, a half dozen other strong Senators, and, we hope, Mr. Khizr Kahn to the list will create a barnstorming juggernaut the likes of which have not been seen in this country in its history. And cable TV will be compelled to cover every rally and bus stopover.
Add in Clinton’s formidable and fully-funded ground game, which will not be spending August at the beach, and which counts among its working partners the unions, the registration drive forces of Voto Latino and the NAACP, the emerging Bernie Sanders permanent army of young volunteers, and the forces of NARAL and Planned Parenthood and a dozen similar activist organizations–an incomparable alliance.
As to funding, the Trump people may have found a way to deliver small contributions to his campaign, but that money cannot in two short months magically create a polished, brainy, experienced back-office computer operation like the one supporting Clinton and the down-ballot Dem candidates.
As if the Clinton jump-off in early August were not scary enough to Trump and Republicans, there is the turmoil within the Trump campaign team, the openly expressed dismay at Trump’s inability to manage or motivate an effective campaign organization, and Trump’s amazing gift for insensitive comments, mis-communication and disastrous ad-libbing. If we can be certain of nothing else this August, we can predict he will create several situations during the month that will require back-tracking, unforced errors that will focus the media on questions of his incompetence and lack of fitness for the Presidency. These situations will alienate additional great swathes of potential voters, further driving his numbers down. His inept manner of campaigning has so far prevented him or his team from launching any effective attacks on Clinton. We predict this strategic floundering will continue at least through August, and well into September.
Orange Crush by September?
Should August unfold more or less as we’ve predicted, then Clinton should enter September with a commanding eight to fifteen point lead in most of the battleground states, as well as the rest of the country. The race won’t be over, of course, but she will riding the crest of a winning wave, possibly even a landslide, possibly even a landslide capable of producing thirty or more flips of House seats along with the retaking of the Senate. Meanwhile, her combed-over opponent will still be trying to learn enough to face her in a rigorously grown-up debate, one centered on real issues, not childish and shouted insults. If we weren’t more concerned about the damage he could do as President of the country, we’d actually feel a little sorry for him. Very little.