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Wake Up To Politics - August 15, 2016

Monday, August 15, 2016
85 Days Until Election Day 2016
42 Days Until the First Presidential Debate
I'm Gabe Fleisher for Wake Up To Politics, and reporting from WUTP world HQ in my bedroom - Good morning: THIS IS YOUR WAKE UP CALL!!!
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Hello everyone! It's good to be back for the first edition of Wake Up To Politics of Summer 2016; after a nice break, I'll be back in your inbox every weekday morning from now until November and beyond, and I'm excited to continue reporting on the presidential election and other political news. Newsletters the next two weeks may be coming a little later than usual (after I start school, they will arrive closer to 7:30am) - I'm still on Summer Break and sleeping in. As always, email me with any questions or ideas for the next few months; and please forward this newsletter to any of your friends who might want to sign up at wakeuptopolitics.com/subscribe. Thank you!

2016 Central

  • Losing to Clinton, Trump Instead Takes on the Media Dropping in the polls against Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in recent days, Republican nominee Donald Trump placed the blame not on his own team but on the referees this weekend, claiming the media was biased against him.
  • “We’re not just fighting against Hillary Clinton,” Trump wrote in an email to supporters (subject line: “We now have TWO opponents…”) this morning. “We are running against the very dishonest and totally biased media!”
  • After a New York Times report Saturday detailed “the failing mission to tame Donald Trump’s tongue” – efforts by Trump’s family and staff to rein in his bombastic comments – the businessman went after the Times in a Sunday tweetstorm:
  • “The failing @nytimes, which never spoke to me, keeps saying that I am saying to advisers that I will change. False, I am who I am-never said”
  • “The failing @nytimes talks about anonymous sources and meetings that never happened. Their reporting is fiction. The media protects Hillary!”
  • Trump continued, blaming journalists for his losing campaign. “If the disgusting and corrupt media covered me honestly and didn't put false meaning into the words I say,” he tweeted, “I would be beating Hillary by 20%”.
  • He continued his tirade against the newspaper at a Saturday rally in Fairfield, Connecticut, saying the Times “is going to hell,” and suggesting he would add the “The Gray Lady” to the growing list of media outlets banned from his rallies. The Washington Post, Politico, BuzzFeed, the Huffington Post, The Daily Beast, and other organizations have already stopped receiving credentials from the Trump campaign to cover his events.
  • Criticizing the media to score political points is not uncommon among candidates, especially Republicans, but Trump’s rhetoric is different. By calling reporters “the lowest form of life” and threatening to revoke access after negative stories, Trump is challenging the legitimacy of journalism as an institution – and the legitimacy of elections, as he claims media coverage is the barrier between him trailing Clinton and a landslide victory.
  • But it is also a cunning move. Faced with sliding poll numbers in the presidential race, Trump is instead declaring a whole new battle. “I’m not running against crooked Hillary Clinton,” Trump said Saturday. “I’m running against the crooked media.”
  • Calls Increase for Trump to Release His Tax Returns Democrats and Republicans alike have joined calls in recent days for Donald Trump to release his tax returns, after Hillary Clinton and running mate Tim Kaine unveiled theirs Friday.
  • Bill and Hillary Clinton released eight years of returns in 2015, and followed suit with their 2015 returns Friday – which showed the couple paying $3.6 million in taxes (34.2%) on an income of almost $10.6 million, a significant drop from their pre-campaign income of $27.9 million in 2014. Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, Clinton’s vice-presidential nominee, released 10 years of returns on the same day.
  • The releases were part of an effort to pressure Donald Trump into releasing his own tax returns; the businessman has demurred from doing so previously due to an ongoing audit from the IRS, despite the agency saying the audit does not prohibit him from making his tax returns public. The Clinton campaign also released a new web ad Friday, titled “What is Donald Trump hiding in his tax returns?” and featuring calls by a number Republicans (including 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz) for Trump to release his returns – and even showing Trump himself urging Romney to do so in 2012.
  • A new voice was added to that chorus Sunday, as Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC) – who endorsed Ted Cruz in the Republican primaries, but now supports Trump – penned a New York Times op-ed calling for Trump’s tax returns. “Words come and go,” Sanford wrote. “The problem is what happens when [Trump’s] words lead him to do things that will reverberate long after the campaign is over…Not releasing his tax returns would hurt transparency in our democracy process, and particularly in how voters evaluate the men and women vying to be our leaders. Weather he wins or loses, that is something our country cannot afford.”
  • The issue is also another one in which Trump diverges from his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. In an interview Saturday with WABC Radio, Pence revealed plans to release his tax returns before November. “When my tax returns are released, it’s going to be a quick read,” Pence said.
  • State of the Race Where different predictions stand:
  • RealClearPolitics Polling Average Clinton – 43.8%, Trump – 37.5%, Johnson – 8.4%, Stein – 3.0%.
  • FiveThirtyEight “Now-cast” Clinton – 91.4% chance of winning, Trump – 8.6% chance
  • The Upshot election model Clinton – 88% chance of winning, Trump – 12% chance
  • NBC News also released its updated electoral map prediction this morning, which showed Hillary Clinton with over 270 electoral votes (the amount needed to win) even while a number of key battleground states were counted as “Tossup” (meaning all of those states could go to Trump and Clinton would still win).
  • NBC’s new map gave Clinton a total of 288 electoral votes and Trump a total of 174, while 76 electoral votes were counted as Tossup. The network moved Colorado, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Nebraska’s 2nd into Clinton’s column from Tossup in their July map, which showed Clinton leading 255-190. Florida, however, moved from Clinton’s column to join Nevada, Iowa, Ohio, Maine’s 2nd, and Georgia in Tossup.
  • Today on the Trail Hillary Clinton campaigns with Vice President Joe Biden in Pennsylvania, Donald Trump talks foreign policy in Ohio, and Tim Kaine campaigns in North Carolina.
  • Clinton and Biden will hold a rally in Scranton, the latter’s hometown, where they will “discuss their shared commitment to building an America that is stronger together and an economy that works for everyone,” according to the campaign.
  • According to the Associated Press, Biden will declare Trump “the most uninformed presidential nominee in history and “less prepared on national security than any previous nominee,” while also painting the Republican as “clueless on the needs of working family” and Clinton’s economic plan as the natural extension to the Obama Administration.
  • The rally, rescheduled from last month, is Biden’s first appearance with Clinton of this election.
  • Meanwhile, Donald Trump will deliver a “major foreign policy address” at Youngstown State University in Ohio, where he will unveil the “three pillars” of his plan to fight the Islamic State, and call for new immigration policy that would create an ideological test to “assess a candidate's stances on issues like religious freedom, gender equality and gay rights,” according to AP.
  • Trump is also expected to announce a program of “foreign policy realism,” to replace nation-building, and instead ally with “any country that wants to work with the U.S. to defeat ‘radical Islamic terrorism.’”
  • Finally, Sen. Tim Kaine and his wife Ann Holton will hold a campaign event in Asheville, North Carolina where he will contrast both campaigns’ tax plans and economic visions.
  • Weekend Review: Hawaii Primary Results The Aloha State held congressional primaries Saturday.
  • Senate Incumbent Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) was easily nominated for his first full term Saturday, winning 80.5% of the vote in the Democratic primary. Schatz, who was appointed to the Senate seat after Daniel Inouye’ death and 2012 (and won a 2014 special election to serve the remainder of the term), will face Republican John Carroll in November. Carroll is a former member of both houses of the Hawaii legislature, but has not served in elected office since 1980; since his retirement, Carroll has waged two campaigns for Hawaii’s governorship and three previous campaigns for U.S. Congress.
  • House Hawaii has two House seats. In the state’s first congressional district, former Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) won the special primary election to fill the seat vacated by Rep. Mark Takai’s death last month. Hanabusa held the 1st District seat from 2011 until 2015, when she chose to leave the House and instead unsuccessfully challenge Sen. Schatz. Hanabusa won Saturday’s primary with 75% of the vote.
  • In the 2nd congressional district, incumbent Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) won renomination with 77.6% of the vote. Gabbard, who has served in the House since 2013, is seen as a rising star inside the progressive wing of the Democratic Party; in February, she resigned as vice-chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to endorse Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign.

White House Watch

  • The President’s Schedule President Barack Obama takes a break from his three-week Martha’s Vineyard vacation to raise money for Hillary Clinton today.
  • Obama will speak at a fundraiser in Chilmark, Massachusetts near his vacation home, at the residence of Carol and Hank Goldberg. The event, which is closed to the press, will benefit the Hillary Victory Fund, a joint committee between the Clinton campaign, Democratic National Committee, and state parties.
  • Tickets to the fundraiser cost $2,700, and $10,000 for a photo-op with the President. According to CBS’ Mark Knoller, this is Obama’s 484th fundraiser since taking office, and his 22nd of 2016.
  • Biden’s Schedule After campaigning in Scranton, Pennsylvania with Hillary Clinton today, Vice President Joe Biden will depart on a three-day trip to the Balkans. Biden will visit Serbia and Kosovo, and meet with each nation’s president and prime minister.

Capitol Hill News

  • Today in Congress Just like the President, both houses of Congress are also taking a break. Congress has been on recess since July 15, and neither chamber will return to vote on legislation until September 6.
  • To ensure that President Obama cannot make recess appointments over the summer (to the Supreme Court and other posts), the Senate is still meeting twice a week for pro forma sessions, where no votes are cast but the chamber is still technically in session.

Question of the Day

  • Today’s Question Name the only major party presidential nominee since 1976 not to release their tax returns for at least the prior year.
  • Answer the question by emailing me (trivia@wakeuptopolitics.com) or tweeting me (@WakeUp2Politics) by tonight, and your name will be included in tomorrow’s edition of Wake Up To Politics.
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For more on Wake Up To Politics, listen to Gabe on NPR's "Talk of the Nation", St. Louis Public Radio, the Political Junkie podcast, and on StoryCorps; watch Gabe on MSNBC's "Up with Steve Kornacki"; and read about Gabe in Politico, the Washington Post, Independent Journal, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Salon, the Globe, and the St. Louis Jewish Light.