Tuesday, August 16, 2016
84 Days Until Election Day 2016
41 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!!!
To send me questions, comments, tips, new subscribers, and more: email me at email@example.com. To learn more about WUTP and subscribe, visit the site: wakeuptopolitics.com, or like me on Twitter and Facebook. More ways to engage with WUTP at the bottom.
- New Criteria Shows Difficult Path to Debate Stage for Johnson, Stein In a Monday announcement, the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) unveiled the polls it will use to decide which presidential candidates will be given spots in the three debates this fall.
- In addition to constitutional eligibility and ballot access in enough states to qualify for 270 electoral votes (the amount needed to win the White House), the CPD requires support of at least 15% of Americans, according to an average of the most recent polls conducted by five organizations. These requirements have not changed since 2000, when the 15% threshold was introduced.
- However, on Monday, the CPD announced which five polls would be used this year: ABC/Washington Post, CBS/New York Times, CNN/Opinion Research Corporation, Fox News, and NBC/Wall Street Journal. Before each presidential debate, any candidate receiving 15% support in an average of these organizations’ most recent polls will qualify for the upcoming debate.
- Those five organizations were chosen by the commission, with consultation by Gallup editor-in-chief Dr. Frank Newport, based on “the reliable frequency of polling and sample size used by the polling organization, “the soundness of the survey methodology employed by the polling organization, and “the longevity and reputation of the polling organization.”
- With the unpopularity of both major-party presidential nominees at an all-time high, there has been heightened speculation in recent months about the inclusion of a third podium on the debate stage, which has only occurred during Ross Perot’s 1992 presidential campaign.
- This year does not appear to be any different. An average by Wake Up To Politics of the most recent polls conducted by the CPD’s “big five” polling organizations shows Hillary Clinton at 44%, Donald Trump at 36%, Libertarian Gary Johnson at 10%, and Green Party nominee Jill Stein at 5%. Stein, however, is only included in three of the five polls, although she does meet the CPD’s other two qualifications for debate inclusion. Her average will be of just the organizations that include her.
- How long do Johnson and Stein have to gain the support necessary to make it to the debate stage? No exact deadline was provided by the CPD, although the announcement said the criteria “will be applied in mid-September” for the first debate, which is being held at Hofstra University on New York on September 26.
- If the third-party candidates do not qualify by then, their running mates will also be excluded from the October 4 vice-presidential debate at Longwood University in Virginia – but the presidential nominees still have a shot at inclusion in either the second debate on October 9 or the third on October 19, depending on their polling average before each debate.
- Johnson and Stein hope that inclusion in the debates will expose their ideologies to larger audiences than ever before (46.2 million households watched the first 2012 presidential debate, according to Nielsen ratings), and then increase their poll numbers and eventual support on Election Day. However, without increased poll numbers before the debates – neither candidate will ever make it that far.
- Debate Prep Begins For the two candidates that have guaranteed spots in the debates, preparation will begin soon. Politico reports on Team Clinton’s search for a close ally who can “confront her about the death of Vincent Foster, label her as a rapist's enabler, and invoke the personally painful memories of Monica Lewinsky and Gennifer Flowers” while playing Donald Trump in the campaign’s mock debates.
- Independent Candidate Evan McMullin Fights for Ballot Access There’s a fourth candidate running for President: “Never Trump” option Evan McMullin, the former House Republican chief policy director, who is running as a conservative option for anti-Trump Republicans. McMullin just announced his candidacy on August 8, after many ballot deadlines had already passed. The independent candidate announced Monday that he had filed the needed 1,000 signatures for inclusion on the Utah ballot, making that the second state (after Colorado) where he has qualified.
- Utah is one of the few states where McMullin hopes to make a difference in the election: the state has voted for the Republican nominee in every election since 1968, but Donald Trump is very unpopular among the state’s Mormon population. A poll conducted by SurveyUSA in June showed just 35% of Utahns supporting each major-party nominee, with another 30% not supporting either one.
- McMullin sees his opening there, and plans to use his roots in the state (he was born in Utah, attended Brigham Young University, and identifies as a Mormon) to attract Republicans who oppose Trump.
- The former CIA operative was endorsed Sunday by the Independence Party of Minnesota, the party of former Gov. Jesse Ventura, which has pledged to assist him in gaining ballot access in the state. However, McMullin also suffered a huge loss Monday: he failed to file enough signatures to qualify for the California ballot, although his campaign plans a lawsuit to attempt inclusion in the most electoral-rich state in the nation.
- Primary Primer: Alaska, Wyoming Two states, Alaska and Wyoming, hold congressional primaries today. Here are the races to watch:
- Alaska (U.S. Senate) Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) is expected to easily win renomination for a third term today. After losing the 2010 Republican primary for the seat, and then winning her second term as a write-in candidate, Murkowski’s moderate ideology has gained her serious primary opposition in the past.
- This year, however, no top Alaska conservatives are challenging her, and as long as Murkowski’s campaign can get out the vote among her supporters, the senator should win without issue.
- Alaska (U.S. House) Rep. Don Young (R-AK) is running for a twenty-third term as Alaska’s at-large U.S. congressman. In today’s primary, Young faces “three challengers who say [he] has grown out of touch and ineffective”: minister Gerald Heikes, U.S. Air Force veteran Stephen Wright, and Jesse Tingley, according to the Juneau Empire.
- Young is the third longest-serving sitting member of the House, after Michigan’s John Conyers and New York’s Charlie Rangel.
- Wyoming (U.S. House) A crowded Republican primary for Wyoming’s open U.S. House seat will be held today. Most of the attention in the race is being captured by Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney (who once held the seat). The younger Cheney faces seven opponents in her bid to succeed retiring Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), including State Sen. Leland Christensen and state House Majority Whip Tim Stubson.
- Cheney’s maiden political campaign in 2014, a challenge to Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY), failed miserably three years ago, with Cheney withdrawing months before the primary after angering much of the state’s GOP establishment. Now, she is favored to win her primary (and the seat in November) – but again, not without strong opposition.
- A poll of the race showed Cheney in the lead with 21%, followed by Stubson with 9%, and Christensen with 4% – although the state senator’s chances improved Monday with an endorsement by Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.
- Today on the Trail Where are the 2016 presidential tickets and their surrogates campaigning today?
- Hillary Clinton will attend a Pennsylvania Democratic Party Voter Registration Event, where she will “discuss her belief that we are stronger together, with an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top” and “urge Pennsylvanians to register [to vote],” according to her campaign. Clinton will speak at 1:15pm Eastern Time at West Philadelphia High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
- Clinton’s visit to the Keystone State comes just days after Republican nominee Donald Trump stopped in the state, and said Clinton’s campaign would only win Pennsylvania “if they cheat”.
- Donald Trump will hold a Town Hall event with Fox News’ Sean Hannity at Pabst Theater in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where Hannity will interview Trump before a live audience. The interview, which “will focus on ISIS and radical Islam,” according to Fox, will be taped at 7pm Eastern Time and air from 10pm to 11pm Eastern, during the entire hour of the “Hannity” program on Fox News.
- Later tonight, Trump will speak at a rally in West Bend, Wisconsin and at a fundraiser in La Crosse, Wisconsin, with tickets ranging from $2,700 per person to $15,000 (for a photo-op) to $100,000 (to co-chair the event).
- Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine continues his North Carolina tour today, with an event at Cape Fear Botanical Garden in Fayetville. Kaine, who will be joined by his wife Ann Holton, will speak at 2pm Eastern Time on the tax plans of both candidates.
- Finally, Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence campaigns in New Mexico, holding a Town Hall in Albuquerque at 5:30pm, a Rally at the New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell at 10pm, and a fundraiser in Albuquerque costing between $2,700 and $5,000 per person.
- Despite voting Democratic in five of the last six elections, the Trump campaign is nonetheless hoping to contest the state, to make up for potential losses in normally Republican states such as Arizona, Utah, South Carolina, and Georgia.
- Politics of the Olympics Nothing is immune from divisive politics, even grand shows of national unity. As the Olympic Games in Rio continues its second week, here are some reports on the politics of the Olympics:
- “Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign is planning to spend more on political ads broadcasts during the Summer Olympics than either nominee four years ago. The Democratic effort has placed at least $5.5 million on reservations on the NBC network, which owns Olympic broadcast rights, during the 17-day games in Rio de Janeiro, according to data from Kantar Media/CMAG. Based on reservations placed so far, almost 40 percent of her television spending next week will be on the national network…The Republican nominee, meanwhile, hasn't spent anything on television ads since early May and has no time reserved as of now for the rest of the summer or fall.” (Bloomberg)
- “Olympic athletes who bring home medals also bring home cash — $25,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze — paid for by the United States Olympic Committee…The athletes are taxed because Olympic medals and cash bonuses are considered income…The maximum possible ‘victory tax’ on the bonus for each gold medal, using the top tax rate of 39.6% for the nation’s highest earners, is $9,900…The medals themselves are taxed, too, but they're not as valuable as their shiny goodness may appear. Based on the commodity prices of the metals involved, gold is worth in the neighborhood of $600, silver about $300 and bronze next to nothing.” (USA Today)
- But help might be in store for Olympic athletes: a bill sponsored by Sens. John Thune (R-SD) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to provide a tax exemptions on Olympic medals and cash prizes passed the Senate last month. “[House] Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady of Texas said his panel will take up [a companion bill sponsored by Reps. Bob Dold (R-IL) and Blake Farenthold (R-TX)] in September. ‘It seems like a small thing, but when America’s Olympians and Paralympians bring home the gold, our nation should congratulate them — not send the IRS to claim a share of their medal,’ he said in a statement.” (Roll Call)
- Pennsylvania AG Found Guilty of Perjury Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, once seen as a rising star in the Democratic Party, was found guilty Monday of nine charges in a perjury and obstruction case. According to CNN, Kane “had denied leaking confidential information about grand jury deliberations to the media and then attempting to cover it up, in an effort to harm her predecessor.”
- The jury determined that Kane had both leaked details of a 2009 grand jury investigation to embarrass rival prosecutor Frank Fina and lied about the leak under oath. Despite facing potential jail time – and being stripped of her law license, a requirement for service as Pennsylvania Attorney General – Kane has still ignored calls for her resignation.
- Gov. Tom Wolf, a fellow Democrat, made such a call after Kane’s conviction Monday. “Today is a sad day for the commonwealth and the people of Pennsylvania. Attorney General Kane has been convicted of serious charges. These are unbecoming of the commonwealth’s top law enforcement officer," Wolf said in a statement. “As I have made clear, I do not believe Kathleen Kane should be Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. I believed this when she was charged, and today, after conviction, there should be no question that she should resign immediately.”
- Kane’s deputy Bruce L. Castor, Jr. is holding a news conference this afternoon to address questions on her future; Kane’s attorney Gerald Shargel has promised to appeal the case.
- Before serving as state Attorney General, and becoming the first woman and first Democrat to be elected to the position in 2012, Kathleen Kane worked as an assistant district attorney and in a private law firm.
- Biden Arrives in Serbia Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden arrived in Belgrade, Serbia at 5am Eastern Time today, with an arrival ceremony at the Palace of Serbia occurring at 9:50am.
- At 10am, Biden met with Serbian Prime Minister Aleksander Vucic, and delivered a joint statement with Vucic at 11:30am.
- Finally, the Vice President will meet with Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic at 12:15pm before departing Serbia for Pristina, Kosovo, where he stays overnight tonight.
- Today’s Trivia A poll released Monday by the Siena Research Institute showed Clinton beating Trump by 30 points, 57% to 27%, in New York, their shared home state. Name the last election in which both major-party presidential nominees were from the same state.
- Send your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet it to @WakeUp2Politics for credit in tomorrow’s newsletter.
- Yesterday’s Answer Monday’s trivia question asked for the only presidential nominee since 1976 not to release their tax returns for at least the previous year, as Donald Trump is threatening to do. The answer: Gerald Ford, who released only a summary.
- GREAT JOB: Brad Chotiner, Joan Zucker, Steve Gitnik, Joe Bookman, and Toby Epstein – who all answered correctly!
To change the email address Wake Up To Politics is sent to you: *|UPDATE_PROFILE|*
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.