Wednesday, August 17, 2016
83 Days Until Election Day 2016
40 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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- Trump Shakes Up Campaign for Final Stage For the second time in as many months, the Donald Trump presidential campaign has new leadership. Trump announced this morning that Brietbart News executive chairman Stephen Bannon was being hired as CEO of the campaign, while pollster Kellaynne Conway was being promoted to campaign manager – adding two principals to oversee controversial campaign chairman and chief strategist Paul Manafort (who remains in his role), as well as the entire Trump general election effort.
- Trump’s shake-up represents a return to the first iteration of his campaign, which was led by then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski (who was fired after the primaries). Many in Trump’s orbit feel Manafort’s attempt to professionalize the campaign was a failure, and what the real estate developer needs to win – or at least lose on his own terms– was to go back to the “Let Trump Be Trump” strategy Lewandowski enforced in the primaries.
- According to the Washington Post, Bannon, a longtime Trump associate, has been advising the candidate for months, urging him to “run more fully as an outsider and an unabashed nationalist” – just as Breitbart News operates – and that Trump and Bannon agree that “voters will ultimately want a presidential candidate who represents disruption more than a candidate with polished appeal”.
- In a statement, Trump explained the move: “I have known Steve and Kellyanne both for many years. They are extremely capable, highly qualified people who love to win and know how to win,” he said. “I believe we’re adding some of the best talents in politics, with the experience and expertise needed to defeat Hillary Clinton in November and continue to share my message and vision to Make America Great Again.” The statement also characterized the shake-up not as stemming the tide of a sliding campaign but as “com[ing] at a time of significant growth for Mr. Trump’s campaign”.
- Conway is a longtime Republican strategist, with clients stretching from Ronald Reagan and Dan Quayle to Newt Gingrich and then-Rep. Mike Pence (now Trump’s running mate). She supported Ted Cruz in the presidential primary, serving as president of pro-Cruz super PAC Keep the Promise I. Trump hired Conway last month to act as a Senior Advisor and pollster for the campaign.
- Bannon, meanwhile, has a much different reputation on the right. Once called the “most dangerous political operative in America” by Bloomberg News, Bannon has operated outside of the GOP establishment for years, and now temporarily leaves the right-wing Breitbart News in favor of Trump’s campaign.
- One thing is clear: Conway’s promotion and Bannon’s hire – and reports that former Fox News chief Roger Ailes is now advising Trump – bring a decrease in influence for Paul Manafort, who was first hired as Trump’s delegate process and convention manager in March, before becoming campaign chairman in May and then successfully engineering Lewandowski’s ouster in June to become Trump’s No. 1 man. However, his time atop the campaign has been marked by sliding poll numbers for Trump, and have brought investigations into Manafort’s own past.
- Earlier this week, the New York Times reported that Manafort was illegally and secretly paid over $12 million by the political party of former Ukrainian president and Putin ally Viktor Yanukovych. Just this morning, the Associated Press (AP) went even further, reporting that Manafort helped Yanukovych’s party “secretly route at least $2.2 million in payments to two prominent Washington law firms in 2012”; a failutre to declare representing foreign leaders or political parties is a felony that “can result in up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000,” according to AP.
- In Trump’s statement, Manafort was also quoted in support of the new campaign alignment. “It is imperative we continue to expand our team with top-tier talent,” he said. “Steve and Kellyanne are respected professionals who believe in Mr. Trump and his message and will undoubtedly help take the campaign to new levels of success.”
- Also likely to take a hit as a result of the new Trump campaign: down-ballot Republicans, who have long hoped Trump would abandon his abrasive style and adopt a more traditional campaign strategy. That is the opposite approach signaled by Trump’s announcement today; his elevation of Bannon, who has long been critical of establishment Republicans such as House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, could cause the Republican National Committee to allocate resources away from the GOP nominee’s campaign and focus on House and Senate candidates hurt by his rhetoric.
- But Does It Matter? Many Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans dismissed the personnel move, citing the candidate himself as behind the GOP campaign’s troubles.
- Bill Kristol, editor of the conservative Weekly Standard and “Never Trump” Republican: “I don’t think it matters because the problem is Donald Trump,” he said this morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
- Mike Murphy, Republican strategist and former head of pro-Jeb Bush super PAC: “Could Trump change? Maybe. But he’s Trump. It’s unlikely.”
- Paul Begala, Democratic strategist and senior adviser to pro-Clinton super PAC: “It’s the candidate, stupid.”
- But Is It Too Late? “Advisers to Donald J. Trump keep reassuring Republicans that there is still plenty of time to rescue his candidacy…The Trump team had better check the calendar. Voting actually stars in less than six weeks, on Sept. 23 in Minnesota and South Dakota, the first of some 35 states…that allow people to cast ballots at polling sites or by mail before Nov. 8. The electoral battlegrounds of Arizona and Ohio are to begin voting on Oct. 12, nearly four weeks before Election Day. And North Carolina and Florida will be underway before Halloween.” (New York Times)
- Lost in the Shuffle Trump’s announcement did not come at a great time, overshadowing a major pitch to African-American voters the candidate delivered Tuesday in West Bend, Wisconsin.
- “The war on our police must end and it must end now,” Trump said. “We reject the bigotry of Hillary Clinton, which panders to and talks down to communities of color and sees them only as votes, not as individual human beings worthy of a better future. She doesn’t care at all about the hurting people of this country, or the suffering she has caused them.”
- Trump also addressed the riots that have recently broken out in Milwaukee following a police shooting of an African-American suspect: “The main victims of these riots are law abiding African American citizens living in these neighborhoods. It’s their job, it’s their homes, it’s their schools and communities which will suffer the most as a result. There’s no compassion in tolerating lawless conduct for anyone.”
- Later, he made a direct appeal to black voters, attempting to turn around polls that have shown him receiving as low as 1% of the African-American vote. “The Democratic Party has failed and betrayed the African-American community,” Trump continued. “The Democratic Party has taken the votes of African-Americans for granted. They’ve just assumed they’ll get your support and done nothing in return for it. They’ve taken advantage of the African-American citizen. It’s time to give the Democrats some competition for these votes.”
- Clinton campaign spokesperson Jennifer Palmieri responded this morning with a statement: “With each passing Trump attack, it becomes clearer that his strategy is just to say about Hillary Clinton what’s true of himself. When people started saying he was temperamentally unfit, he called Hillary the same,” she said. “When his ties to the Kremlin came under scrutiny, he absurdly claimed that Hillary was the one who was too close to Putin. Now he's accusing her of bigoted remarks – We think the American people will know which candidate is guilty of the charge.”
- Trump’s address was delivered from a teleprompter, a rarity for his speeches at rallies. However, most coverage of the late-night speech has been pre-empted this morning with his campaign’s staff shake-up.
- Today on the Trail Where are the 2016 presidential candidates and their running mates today?
- Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton will campaign in Cleveland, Ohio today, touring John Marshall High School and then speaking at a campaign event there to lay out the differences between her tax plan and Donald Trump’s.
- Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine will speak at an Organizing Event at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to “discuss Hillary Clinton’s vision for economic fairness and creating an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top,” according to the Clinton campaign.
- Republican nominee Donald Trump is in New York today, meeting with staff as he announces his campaign’s new manager and chief executive. Trump will also receive his first intelligence briefing today, a courtesy extended to all presidential nominees after their party’s conventions. Trump will be briefed by officials from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence at the FBI offices in New York. The nominee is allowed to bring two guests; Trump is bringing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a former prosecutor and head of his transition planning, and retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, a former Defense Intelligence Agency director and top Trump national security adviser.
- According to NPR, “While the briefings contain classified material, officials do not share the most sensitive information, such as details about covert operations and secret nuclear and other defense programs.” Briefings of presidential nominees first began in 1952, when Truman ordered that Dwight Eisenhower and Adlai Stevenson be briefed before the election so the next president would not enter office uninformed on national security matters.
- Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence holds a town hall-style event at the Henderson Convention Center in Henderson, Nevada today, Pence’s second visit to the Silver State this month.
- Finally, two third-party presidential tickets will gain national exposure today with primetime town halls. CNN is hosting a town hall with Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein and her running mate Ajamu Baraka at 9pm Eastern Time in New York City, moderated by Chris Cuomo. Stein is running in her second consecutive presidential election: she was the 2012 Green Party nominee, receiving just 0.36% of the vote. Polls this year consistently show her in fourth place, receiving about 5% of the vote, boosted by support from some of Bernie Sanders’ Democratic base. However, her bid has had difficulty getting attention – making this a huge moment for the Green ticket – and getting past her “anti-science” comments on vaccines and other issues.
- The town hall will be aired live and include questions from Cuomo and voters in the audience.
- In addition, Fusion is hosting a forum with the Libertarian presidential ticket of Gary Johnson and William Weld. The event, moderated by Jorge Ramos and Alicia Menendez, will cover “covering a range of issues affecting the rising American mainstream,” according to Fusion. The forum will begin at 1pm Eastern Time, airing on Fusion at 8pm.
- Johnson and Weld, both former Republican governors, are hoping to attract Independents and anti-Trump Republicans to their side, and have received around 10% in most polls – just under the amount needed to participate in the debates. The Libertarian ticket held a “money bomb” Monday, raising over $1.7 million in 24 hours, exceeding their goal of $1.5 million.
- Biden in Kosovo Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Dr. Jill Biden are in Pristina, Kosovo today. The Vice President will meet with Prime Minister Isa Mustafa and President Hashim Thaçi in the morning, while Dr. Biden tours Gračanica Monastery, a Serbian Orthodox temple near Pristina.
- Later, both Bidens will attend a dedication ceremony for a road being named by the Kosovo government in honor of their late son Beau “as a sign of respect and gratitude for Beau’s contributions to Kosovo,” according to the White House. Before serving in the Iraq War, Joseph R. “Beau” Biden III “worked in Kosovo after the 1998-99 war ended, helping train local prosecutors and judges for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE),” according to Reuters.
- The younger Biden would later serve as Delaware Attorney General, until his death of brain cancer in May 2015 at age 46.
- After the dedication, the Bidens will depart Pristina to return to Washington, D.C.
- Trivia Answer The answer to Tuesday’s trivia question (the last time both major-party presidential nominees shared a home state) is 1944, when New Yorkers Franklin D. Roosevelt and Thomas Dewey faced off.
- GREAT JOB… Ellen Turongian, Thomas Alpert, Marlee Millman, @joebookman, and @BarryWaller61!
- Honorable mention goes to Garrett Cohn, who answered 1904 (which is another example of this happening: New Yorkers Theodore Roosevelt and Alton Parker ran against each other).
- The one other time it has happened (before this year): 1920, the race between Ohioans Warren Harding and James Cox.
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