Tuesday, October 11, 2016
8 Days until the Third Presidential Debate (Oct. 19)
28 Days 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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- The GOP Civil War is Brewing Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) told a conference call of House Republicans on Monday that he will no longer defend Donald Trump, instead opting to focus on maintaining his majority in the House. While Ryan did not rescind his endorsement of Trump, he still succeeded in provoking the ire of Trump's strongest supporters.
- In other words: the highest-ranking elected Republican and the Republican nominee for President are barreling towards a fight, and by publicly ignoring Trump, Ryan is firing the shot heard 'round the world in the party's civil war.
- In the call, Ryan also released House Republicans to condemn Trump if they needed to do so, telling members that "you all need to do what's best for you in your district." Although Ryan's leadership team remains unanimous in support for Trump, dozens of House Republicans have already renounced their endorsements, and many have called for Trump to withdraw.
- In other words: for the next 28 days, the GOP is every man for himself.
- The fact that Ryan has not formally withdrawn his endorsement of Trump did not go unnoticed: Hillary Clinton reminded everyone of in a tweet after reports of the conference call that "Ryan is still endorsing Trump." According to reports, Ryan is still mulling a formal un-endorsement, and may still make his non-support official before November.
- But that didn't seem to matter to Donald Trump, who responded by hitting Ryan in a tweet as well. "Paul Ryan should spend more time on balancing the budget, jobs and illegal immigration and not waste his time on fighting Republican nominee," Trump tweeted.
- Ryan's announcement not only underscored the divisions brewing in the Republican Party, but also the potential - for the first time in this cycle - that Democrats could retake the House. With fallout over the Trump tapes hurting Republicans up and down the ballot, Democrats believe they have an opportunity to target House races previously believed to be out of their reach.
- "Voters think not standing up to [Trump] and standing with him are the same thing,” Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee executive director Kelly Ward told The Washington Post. “Voters blame all Republicans for creating this monster.”
- Republicans worry that independent voters will punish their House candidates at the polls as a result of opposition to Trump, and that voters in their base will just stay home on Election Day. In an all-out blitz to save his majority (while he does nothing to fight for the White House), Ryan will be campaigning in at least 17 states and 42 cities this month, POLITICO reported.
- According to a NBC/Wall Street Journal poll conducted over the weekend and released Monday, meaning it includes fallout from the Trump tapes but not from the second debate, Democrats have their largest lead in the generic congressional ballot since the 2013 government shutdown. While the poll shows Clinton taking 46% to Trump's 35% in a four-way presidential race, 49% of voters say they plan to support Democrats for Congress to 42% who say they plan to vote Republican.
- While it has seemed for months that voters were seeing Trump as independent of the other Republicans on the ballot, allowing GOP candidates to perform well despite the bombastic presidential nominee, many Republicans now worry they can no longer escape. Support of Trump, or perhaps even having the same party label affixed to their name, threatens Republicans with independent and moderate voters; opposition to him threatens a backlash among his ardent supporters.
- One of Ryan's predecessors, Trump surrogate and former House speaker Newt Gingrich criticized Republicans who were abandoning Trump in a Facebook Live video on Monday, promising that they would regret it. "My only advice to Republican leaders is simple: In the end, you either help defeat Hillary Clinton or you help elect Hillary Clinton," Gingrich said, before an audience of nearly 5,000 viewers. "If she gets elected, she will be a nightmare, this will be the most corrupt and dishonest administration in American history, and you will find her even harder to work with work with than [President Barack] Obama, because she will simply smother you.
- Speaker Gingrich continued, in a clear rebuke of the man who now holds the gavel in the House. “I think to sit on your hands, to find some pretense because Donald Trump is not pure enough, so you're willing to have Hillary Clinton get elected, is an enormous disservice to the future of the country and to the future of our children and grandchildren," Gingrich said.
- House Republicans are not the only ones fearful of losing their majority come November. Senate Republicans are in the same boat as well, although Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has taken a different tack. McConnell has remained supportive of Trump (if quiet regarding the presidential campaign), and continues to urge his members to defend Trump on the campaign trail.
- After hours of silence Monday, the Republican National Committee is also standing by Trump. Chairman Reince Priebus held his own conference call, with RNC members, telling them, "I want to make it very clear that the RNC is in full coordination with the Trump campaign, and we have a great relationship with them," POLITICO reports.
- "Everything is on course," Priebus insisted, dismissing rumors that the RNC was shutting down its Trump Victory Fund or shifting resources from the presidential campaign to congressional and gubernatorial elections. However, much like Ryan, Priebus was unable to escape from criticism. While the RNC chairman said his silence over the weekend were to allow Trump to explain the video for himself, which the campaign thought would be better, he was called out for his indifference by Arizona RNC committeeman Robert Graham, a potential challenger for the RNC chairmanship as Priebus prepares to run for an unprecedented fourth term in the position.
- "Leadership is more than stopping political mail, not campaigning for someone or making statements condemning a person’s comments made nearly a dozen years before,” Graham said. “Leadership is making the tough decisions, digging in and sacrificing for beliefs and ideas greater than one person.”
- Corey Stewart, who was chairman of Trump's Virginia campaign, also protested the RNC on Monday for their lukewarm support of the GOP nominee, actions for which Stewart was quickly fired by Trump HQ.
- Meanwhile, the Clinton campaign is taking advantage of the chaos on the other side. Suggesting that Republicans are engaged in a "civil war," Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri called Ryan's announcement "pretty stunning," while still blaming House Republicans for Trump's nomination. "I think they have a lot to answer for, and I imagine that voters will hold them accountable, too," she said, noting that Trump "didn't become the nominee of his party on his own."
- Today on the Trail Presidential candidates and their surrogates will campaign across the country today, with less than a month to go until the November election.
- Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton holds a "voter registration rally" with 2000 presidential nominee Al Gore, who served as vice president under Clinton's husband Bill. Clinton and Gore's joint event will be held at Miami Dade College in Miami, Florida at 3pm and will focus on "the urgent threat posed by climate change and lay out the high stakes of November's election," according to the campaign.
- The Clinton campaign says Gore was enlisted to recruit millennial voters, hoping that he energizes young, progressive voters for whom climate is a top issue. However, the announcement that was widely mocked, with progressives asserting that Gore, 68, represents the old guard of Democratic politicians they seek to disrupt.
- This is the first event Gore has held for Clinton all campaign: the former vice president refused to endorse her throughout the primary, merely issuing a written statement to signify support before Clinton was nominated in July. Gore was the only living Democratic president or vice president not to attend the Democratic convention, a sign of lingering anger towards Clinton lasting since their White House days (the First Lady and Vice President were often locked in a power struggle in the 1990's, and hard feelings remain from Gore's refusal to allow the Clintons to campaign for him in 2000).
- Former President Bill Clinton will not join his wife and former vice president at their rally, but will also campaign in Florida, holding "voter registration events" in Glade, Fort Myers, and Safety Harbor.
- Republican Donald Trump holds a rally at Aaron Bessant Park in Panama City, Florida today, at 7:30pm. Trump will also attend a pair of Texas fundraisers earlier in the day, including a luncheon at the Grand Hyatt San Antonio (tickets ranging from $500 to $100,000).
- Republican vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence will hold a rally at Des Moines Aera Community College in Newton, Iowa at 3pm, and will address the Scott County GOP Annual Reagan Dinner in Bettendorf, Iowa at 6pm.
- Pence will be joined by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), who is the dinner's keynote speaker. Cotton's Iowa visit is widely seen as a test run for a 2020 presidential bid; his continued support of Trump is notable for this reason. As Trump backers in Congress become more of outliers than the norm, it is interesting to note the major Republicans who are standing by their party's nominee. Cotton, Pence, Ryan, Ted Cruz (R-TX), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Nikki Haley (R-SC), Rand Paul (R-KY), Scott Walker (R-WI), and other 2020 contenders are notably maintaining their support of Trump.
- Like every endorsement decision, these are all political calculations, with these politicians (many of whom have strongly condemned Trump in the past) fearing that opposition to Trump now could result in backlash from his supporters in four years.
White House Watch
- The President's Schedule At 10am, President Obama will receive the Presidential Daily Briefing
- At 1:20pm, Obama departs the White House for Greensboro, North Carolina, where he will arrive at 2:35pm.
- At 4:10pm, the President will participate in a town hall event on "race, sports, and achievement" hosted by ESPN at North Carolina A&T State University. A focus of the event will be Obama's "My Brother's Keeper" initiative, which seeks to mentor young black men and promote racial justice. "My Brothers Kepper" is one of the programs expected to be continued by the Obamas once they leave the White House, another being Michelle Obama's "Let Girls Learn," which just announced new commitments of over $5 million today.
- Finally, at 6:05pm, he will speak at a rally for Hillary Clinton at White Oak Amphitheater in Greensboro. This is the third Clinton event for Obama, one of her most effective surrogates, and his second event so far in North Carolina.
- Obama will depart the Tar Heel State at 7:05pm, returning to the White House at 8:35pm. Because the trip mixes official activity with a campaign event, the Clinton campaign will likely pay for transportation to the rally, while the taxpayers will fund the rest of the trip.
- Second Debate Viewership Despite the heightened interest in the election due to the leaked tapes of Donald Trump in the preceding days, the second presidential debate between Trump and Hillary Clinton was much less-viewed than their first showdown.
- According to Nielsen data, 63 million viewers watched the second debate on 10 broadcast and cable networks. 84 million watched the first debate, which broke the record for most-watched presidential debate in U.S. history. CBS had the most viewers of the broadcast networks (16.5 million), while CNN led the cable networks (11.3 million).
- While many predicted high ratings due to the tape's release, the second debate still had to compete with Sunday Night Football on NBC, which was likely a factor in the viewership drop.
- Of the viewers, early polling is showing Clinton was perceived the winner. A CNN/ORC poll found 57% of viewers thought Clinton won the debate, while 34% thought Trump won. After Trump cited a number of unscientific, online polls showing that he won the first debate, Business Insider reported Monday that Time, CNBC, Fortune, and The Hill (outlets that all regularly conduct online debate polls) opted not to do so this time.
- The bad polling news continues for Trump: the NBC/Wall Street journal poll released Monday showed Clinton with a 14-point lead over Donald Trump in a two-way race, and by 11 points when Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein are added. The poll was conducted on Saturday and Sunday, amid the fallout over Trump's lewd comments.
- While polling is not always exactly correct, it is rare for the candidate in the lead in the final polls to not win. President Obama was leading the RealClearPolitics polling average. by 0.7% at the end of the 2012 election (won by 3.9%), and by 7.6% at the end of the 2008 election (won by 7.3%). George W. Bush le the 2004 polling average by 1.5% in 2004, winning by 2.4%. This trend predates RealClearPolitics, and stretches back decades, a good sign for Clinton - but not a sure sign in this uncertain election year.
- The former Secretary of State currently holds a 5% lead in the RealClearPolitics polling average of the four-way race.
- Today's Question Who was the last Speaker of the House to run for President?
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