Monday, November 7, 2016
ONE DAY until Election Day 2016 + my 15th birthday (Nov. 8)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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- FBI Rocks Election as Both Campaigns Deliver Closing Pitches FBI director James Comey shook the 2016 campaign on Sunday, writing a letter to inform congressional leaders that the agency had found no reason to change its July decision not to charge Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton over her use of private email server.
- Comey's letter came just nine days after he wrote Congress about the FBI reactivating its investigation of Clinton's emails, after finding additional related emails on a laptop used by former New York congressman Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of top Clinton aide Huma Abedin (who shared the laptop) currently under investigation for sending lewd photos to minors.
- "Since my letter [nine days ago], the FBI investigative team has been working around the clock to process and review a large number of emails from a device obtained in connection with an unrelated criminal investigation," he wrote to eight congressional committee chairmen. "During that process, we reviewed all of the communications that were to or from Hillary Clinton while she was Secretary of State. Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusion that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton."
- In short, after sending shock waves through the 2016 campaign when he announced the investigation's reactivation, Comey announced Sunday that nothing was changing from July, when the FBI director announced he would not seek criminal charges against Clinton. The difference? This final announcement came two days before the election, with many Americans having already voted or made up their minds in between Comey's announcement that the investigation was reopening and his second announcement that nothing had surfaced from the new investigation.
- Comey's Sunday letter was as much an attempt to save the FBI from criticism as anything, after he was widely attacked by Democrats for influencing an election in writing the late October letter and praised by Republicans, a role reversal from July, when Republicans criticized the agency's decision and Democrats championed it. At this point, the FBI has gotten on the bad side of almost everyone in politics, and the agency is sure to limp out of this election cycle with its integrity in question.
- The new announcement was questioned by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at a rally in Michigan on Sunday, just after praising Comey last week for re-examining Clinton. "Right now, she is being protected by a rigged system. It's a totally rigged system," Trump said . "I've been saying it for a long time. You can't review 650,000 new emails in eight days. You can't do it, folks."
- Trump continued, adding: "Hillary Clinton is guilty. She knows it. The FBI knows it. The people know it, and now it's up to the American people to deliver justice at the ballot box on November 8th," he said, as his supporters in the audience chanted "Lock her up!"
- Many of his surrogates have expressed doubt about the FBI's ability to look through all of the emails in such a short time-span. "Do you think that they went through hundreds of thousands of emails in a week? Because that may strike a lot of Americans as unusual," Trump campaign manager said on MSNBC. "I don't know if I'd have the capacity to do that."
- Meanwhile, Clinton did not mention the development in her email scandal on Sunday, allowing spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri to respond. "We have seen Director Comey's latest letter to the Hill," Palmieri told reporters on Sunday. "We're glad to see that he has found, as we were confident that he would, that he has confirmed the conclusions he reached in July, and we're glad the matter is resolved."
- The candidate herself instead focusing on a conciliatory and confident theme. At a New Hampshire rally on Sunday, Clinton was preceded by Gold Star father Khizr Khan, who made similar attacks on Trump as he did at the Democratic National Convention, and former Republican Sen. Gordon Humphrey, who was announcing his party-switching endorsement. After Khan's denouncement of the Republican nominee ("Mr. Trump, this isn't your America"), Clinton's remarks remained conciliatory. "We will have some work to do to bring about healing and reconciliation after this election," she said. "I want to be president of all Americans, those who vote for me and those who don't for me, because we have to heal this country."
- "This election is a moment of reckoning. It is a choice between division or unity," Clinton said, later adding: "We have to learn how to disagree without being so disagreeable." Finally, she struck a confident posture. "I am taking very seriously the obligation I feel to reach out to all Americans," she said. "I have never felt more strongly about what we can do together. I am confident, I am optimistic about the future we can make together."
- The Democratic candidate continued these themes at a Sunday rally in Ohio, where she was joined by NBA star LeBron James. "I want to rebuild confidence in what we can do together," Clinton said. "It's not good for anybody that our democracy and our country are viewed so suspiciously, without confidence. That is how we govern ourselves, so we have to work together."
- Despite trailing Clinton in most public polling, Trump was also optimistic about his chances. "We are going to have one of the great victories of all times," he said Sunday in Virginia, comparing the election to Brexit (the June referendum in the United Kingdom, where polling was proved incorrect) "times fifty". The businessman's claim that the election is "rigged" was only heightened by the FBI director's announcement. "The media, Wall Street, and the politicians are trying to stop us because they knew we will fix the rigged system," Trump declared.
- Clinton's closing message has also been fairly dark, as she declared in Pennsylvania on Sunday that the election is "one of those make-or-break moments for the United States." With polls showing vast majorities of Americans don't view Donald Trump as fit to serve in the White House, former Secretary of State has employed fear tactics to that end. “Imagine,” she said, that on Inauguration Day, “it is Donald Trump standing in front of the Capitol.” Later on Sunday night, Clinton said the election is a choice "strong, steady leadership and a loose cannon who could put everything at risk."
- Trump was also joined in attacking Clinton even by some of his less enthusiastic supporters. “The FBI’s findings from its criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton’s secret email server were a damning and unprecedented indictment of her judgment,” Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus said. "None of this changes the fact that the FBI continues to investigate the Clinton Foundation for corruption involving her tenure as secretary of state. Hillary Clinton should never be president.”
- Similarly, House Speaker Paul Ryan said Sunday: "Regardless of this decision, the undisputed finding of the FBI’s investigation is that Secretary Clinton put our nation’s secrets at risk and in doing so compromised our national security. She simply believes she’s above the law and always plays by her own rules...Let’s bring the Clinton era to an end by voting for Donald Trump on Tuesday."
- However, just as his announcement nine days before ended a period of momentum for Clinton, James Comey's update on Sunday dealt a deafening blow to Donald Trump. It still remains to be seen whether he can come back from the latest twist in this election cycle as it finally winds down for good.
Today on the Trail
- The major-party nominees and their surrogates are all out campaigning in full force today, in the last full Today on the Trail of the year, and perhaps the busiest:
- Republican nominee Donald Trump hits five states today, campaigning from 11am Eastern Time to 11pm, holding rallies in Sarasota, Florida; Raleigh, North Carolina; Scranton, Pennsylvania; Manchester, New Hampshire; and Grand Rapids, Michigan. At the final two events, Trump will be joined by his running mate Mike Pence.
- Pence will also hold four solio rallies today, starting at 10:30am Eastern Time, with events in Duluth, Minnesota; Traverse City, Michigan; Wilmington, North Carolina; and Erie, Pennsylvania. In addition, Donald Trump, Jr. will campaign in Ottumwa, Iowa.
- Meanwhile, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton holds four rallies today, holding events from 12pm Eatstern Time to 11:45pm. Clinton's events are in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Allendale, Michigan; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Raleigh, North Carolina. At the Philadelphia rally, she will be joined by her husband Bill Clinton, President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Bruce Springsteen, and Jon Bon Jovi.
- Clinton running mate Tim Kaine will hold his own rallies from 11am Eastern Time to 10:15pm, in Charlotte, North Carolina; Fairfax, Virginia; and in Richmond, Virginia. Kaine will be joined by his wife Anne Holton at the two rallies in their home state of Virginia; Vice President Joe Biden will also join them in Fairfax.
- Biden himself will also campaign in Tallahassee, Florida and in St. Petersburg, Florida (joined by Jimmy Buffett at the latter event). Presdent Barack Obama will hold rallies in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Durham, New Hampshire. Former President Bill Clinton will camapign in Greensboro, North Carolina. Former Vice President Al Gore will hold rallies in Boulder, Colorado and Lakewood, Colorado.
- Finally, Libertarian Gary Johnson campaigns in San Diego, California; his running mate Bill Weld holds a rally in Boston, Massachusetts; Independent candidate Evan McMullin and running mate Mindy Finn will hold their final rally in Provo, Utah.
- Polls Show Clinton With a Small Advantage A flurry of national polls released over the weekend and this morning have almost all come out with the same result: Hillary Clinton remains ahead of Donald Trump by a margin of about four percentage points.
- Four-Way Polls Released Today CBS News: Clinton 45, Trump 41 (+4)
- Bloomberg: Clinton 44, Trump 41 (+3)
- ABC/Washington Post Tracking: Clinton 47, Trump 43 (+4)
- Released Sunday NBC News/Wall Street Journal: Clinton 44, Trump 40 (+4)
- ABC/Washington Post Tracking: Clinton 48, Trump 43 (+5)
- Released Saturday Reuters/Ispos: Clinton 43, Trump 39 (+4)
- Gravis: Clinton 47, Trump 45 (+2)
- Outliers Not every poll agrees, which isn't to say that these others are incorrect. The IBD/TIPP Tracking poll continues to find Trump ahead (by a 2-point margin, 43% to 41%, today), as does the LA Times/USC Tracking model (today, by 5 points, 48% to 43%).
- State Polls The race remains razor-thin in the states that will decide it
- Virginia Christopher Newport University: Clinton +6
- Remington Research: Clinton +2
- Florida CBS News/YouGov: Tie
- Michigan Fox 2 Detroit/Mitchell: Clinton +5
- Ohio CBS News/YouGov: Trump +1
- Columbus Dispatch: Clinton +1
- Pennsylvania Morning Call: Clinton +4
- Gravis: Clinton +2
- Iowa Des Moines Reigster: Trump +7
- Loras: Clinton +1
- Colorado Gravis: Tie
One Day to Go: Closing Thoughts
- In the next 24 hours, this election will enter its next phase. Both campaigns will turned from full-fledged persuasion operations, to Get Out The Vote machines. There are no more ads to be produced, no more rallies to be held, no more hands to be shaken, no more dollars to be raised. No one is going to be convinced at this stage; all that matters now is that the campaigns turn out their supporters. If Clinton achieves in getting African-Americans and Hispanic voters to the polls, she is the likely winner. If Trump can overcome the disadvantage of having a feeble GOTV operation and succeeds in turning his bombastic base from rallygoers to voters, his path to victory is much stronger.
- In fact, it appears that no one's been persuaded this entire campaign. As Rachel Maddow proved on MSNBC, even after all of the twists and turns of the 2016 campaign, in the past eleven months, voters' feelings towards both candidates have remained almost exactly constant. Even after months and months of attacks and surprises, Maddow illustrates how a number of poll questions have shown the exact same results from January 2016 to October,
- But my other closing thought is an even more important point that I believe will have effects for decades: campaign rhetoric does matter. It matters to the next generation (mine) as our views of campaigns and politics are molded. That was evident in reading a letter from a fifth grade class to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, published in the Boston Globe.
- "We are grade five students at the Graham and Parks Elementary School in Cambridge," they wrote. "We speak Amharic, Haitian Creole, Javanese, Indonesian, German, Thai, and English. We come from different parts of the world; we all work together; and we are all Americans.
- "We are learning about the election and the election process in class. We have been trying to learn about the candidates’s thoughts on the issues. It has been hard to learn about these issues because there have been so many disrespectful words and advertisements; it is hard to know what is true and what is not. We think the candidates should be aware that young students are watching and listening..."
- "...As fifth graders we would like to ask all of you (presidential candidates) to use kind words instead of arguing with each other. Being kind is very important. In our class we strive to build a safe community. We do this by setting goals, so we all know what we are working on. We are responsible for ourselves and for each other. We have integrity, and we try to do the right thing even when no one is watching. We have tenacity, and we persevere when work gets hard."
- "As presidential candidates we need you to be good role models. We are watching and learning from you."
- Still Undecided? However, a sliver of American voters remain unsure of which candidate they will vote for on Tuesday. Wake Up To Politics always encourages everyone to vote for someone (consider it a birthday present to the Editor-in-Chief), so if you need final help, consider these op-eds in today's USA TODAY. One is penned by Trump, the other by Clinton: their final pitch to the American electorate.
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