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Wake Up To Politics - October 18, 2016 - 22 Days until Election Day

Monday, October 17, 2016

2 Days until the Third Presidential Debate (Oct. 19)
22 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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Election Central

  • Trump Aims Rhetoric at "Rigged Election" With just over two weeks to go until Election Day, Republican nominee Donald Trump is down in the polls - and doesn't seem to be trying to climb out.
  • At his latest rallies, Trump has abandoned his focus on a plan to "make America great again," barely even mentioning his proposed wall on the Mexican border. Now, Trump is looking ahead, as he attempts to minimize the damage to his brand from his projected loss at the ballot box.
  • Recently, the billionaire have been framing the election as Trump vs. The World. At a Thursday rally in West Palm Beach, Florida, Trump signaled that he was running against "a global power structure," insisting, “This is not simply another four-year election. This is a crossroads in the history of our civilization that will determine whether or not we the people reclaim control over our government.”
  • At a rally in Charlotte the next day, Trump claimed: “The election is rigged. It’s rigged to like you have never seen before. They’re rigging the system.” Who is "they"?
  • By Saturday, addressing supporters in Bangor, Maine, Trump had decided: "the media," pointing to printing of the recent allegations by at least ten women that he touched them inappropriately without their consent. “False stories, all made up," he said. "Lies, lies. No witnesses, no nothing. All big lies. It’s a rigged system and they take these lies and put them on front pages. This is a rigged system, folks, but we’re not going to let it happen.”
  • That was not the only conspiracy theory Trump has pushed. On Thursday, Trump said in Florida that Clinton was colluding with global banks: "Hillary Clinton meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty in order to enrich these global financial powers, her special interest friends and her donors," he said.
  • On Friday, he connected Clinton to Carlos Slim, a Mexican shareholder in the New York Times, back to the media. "Reporters at The New York Times are not journalists," he said in Greensboro, North Carolina.
  • On Saturday, Trump seemed to claim Clinton was taking drugs. “We should take a drug test prior [to the next debate], because I don’t know what’s going on with her,” Trump said in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. “At the beginning of her last debate she was all pumped up at the beginning, and at the end it was like, ‘Oh, take me down.’ She could barely reach her car."
  • Trump's increasingly outlandish theories have caused, once again, Republicans to come forward and condemn him. A spokesman for House Speaker Paul Ryan registered the Wisconsin congressman's disagreement with Trump's claim of a "rigged" election: "Our democracy relies on confidence in election results, and the speaker is fully confident the states will carry out this election with integrity," a statement from his office read.
  • Republican strategist Mike Murphy also contested the claim. "Trump is now attacking our Democracy," Murphy tweeted. "Any Elected R who doesn't condemn this anti-American thug will carry a moral stain forever." Regardless, it appears his characterizations of the election may be effective: a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll released Monday shows that 41% of voters, and 73% of Republicans, believe the election could be "stolen" from Trump.
  • Meanwhile, as Trump lays the groundwork to deny the returns of the election come Nov. 8, his running mate Mike Pence signaled acceptance with the results, whatever they may be. "We will absolutely accept the results of the election," Pence said in a number of television interviews Sunday.
  • Former New York mayor Rudy Guiliani, a top Trump surrogate, also sought to clarify the candidate's remarks. "When he talks about a rigged election, he's not talking about the fact that it's going to be rigged at the polls," Giuliani said on CNN's 'State of the Union'. "What he's talking about is that 80 percent to 85 percent of the media is against him."
  • But on Twitter, Trump was fairly clear about his belief that the election was being rigged at polling places, amid instructions to supporters at rallies that they keep watch as voting occurs, especially in close states like Pennsylvania. "The election is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media pushing Crooked Hillary - but also at many polling places - SAD," Trump tweeted Sunday.
  • In a tweetstorm earlier in the day, Trump took aim at the media, expanding on his claims: "Election is being rigged by the media, in a coordinated effort with the Clinton campaign, by putting stories that never happened into news!" Trump even implicated NBC's comedy show "Saturday Night Live" in the media rigging. "Watched Saturday Night Live hit job on me.Time to retire the boring and unfunny show. Alec Baldwin portrayal stinks," he tweeted, after Baldwin portrayed Trump in a parody of the second debate. "Media rigging election!"
  • In his own words, "the shackles have been taken off," as Trump described his newfound freedom on the campaign trail. However, his effort still faces very real concerns. According to fundraising numbers that were released over the weekend, Clinton and her joint fundraising committee had twice as much money on hand as Trump and his as the final weeks of the election approach. While Trump's campaign, with the Republican National Committee, raised $100 million in September, their $75 million in cash on hand going into October paled to Clinton's $154 million hail and $150 million in the bank.
  • In addition, two polls released Sunday showed Clinton leading the race comfortably. The new NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey showed Clinton winning, 48% to 37%: an 11-point lead. An ABC News/Washington Post poll also released Sunday also showed Clinton ahead, but by only 4 points, 47% to 43%. Clinton is favored in both surveys, but the margins are important: it is unlikely Trump would be able to make up a deficit of 11%. Four percent, maybe (of course, neither amount could be correct as well.)
  • Polls also show Clinton with an advantage in the states that matter most: she leads in the RealClearPolitics polling average for every battleground state except Iowa. The Democratic campaign even believes deep-red states like Arizona, Georgia, and Utah could reject Trump this November, as Clinton weighs whether or not to focus on the swing states or attempt an expansion into these Republican territories.
  • Clinton's road ahead is not perfectly easy either. She still must face Trump in Las Vegas on Wednesday, when he could lay out the attacks on her like never before, leaving Clinton surprised. The former Secretary of State has also been plagued in recent days by the hacking of campaign chairman John Podesta's email account, resulting in the messages from the account being released by WikiLeaks.
  • While no death blow has been delivered from the emails yet - although she has suffered from the release of transcripts of speeches she gave to Goldman Sachs, and from emails portraying the relationship between the Clinton Foundation and foreign governments, as well as the relationship between the Clinton campaign and the Justice Department - Clinton's aides live in constant fear of the next email dump (WikiLeaks has been releasing a new batch daily.)
  • Clinton's lead seems all but assured, but in this unpredictable election cycle where every day delivers a surprise, anything truly could happen next.
  • Smart Read Campaign finance and election lawyer Chris Ashby, a member of the Republican National Lawyers Association, hits back at claims that the election is rigged. "In fact, it’s anti-rigged," Ashby writes, laying out how American democracy is set up with safegaurds against rigging an election, and the steps required in going around them. Read Ashby's Medium post here.
  • Smart Read Where Does Trump go from here? The main question: with all this talk of a "rigged election," will Trump accept defeat? "Donald Trump is setting the stage to never concede the 2016 election," Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post writes. And, even if he does concede, what's his next move? The Financial Times reported Monday that Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, owner of the New York Observer, has discussed the development of a Trump television network with Aryeh Bourkoff, founder of investment bank Lion Tree, and a key player in the media industry.
  • Today on the Trail Where are the presidential candidates and their running mates today?
  • Republican nominee Donald Trump has one event today: a rally at the KI Convention Center in Green Bay, Wisconsin, at 6pm. The Badger State has voted for the Democratic presidential nominee in every election since 1988; Trump trails Clinton in Wisconsin polling by 6.7%, according to the RealClearPolitics average.
  • Trump's visit to House Speaker Paul Ryan's home state comes a day after the billionaire repeatedly posted negative tweets about his fellow Republican: on Sunday, Trump tweeted: "Paul Ryan, a man who doesn't know how to win (including failed run four years ago), must start focusing on the budget, military, vets etc." In another tweet, Trump said: "The Democrats have a corrupt political machine pushing crooked Hillary Clinton. We have Paul Ryan, always fighting the Republican nominee!"
  • Meanwhile, Trump's running mate Mike Pence campaigns in two battleground states, holding rallies at the Manor House Banquet & Conference Center in Mason, Ohio at 12pm and at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio at 3pm, and attending the Macomb County GOP Lincoln Day Dinner at The Palao Grande in Shelby Charter Township, Michigan at 6:30pm. The GOP ticket sees potential in the disaffected, working-class white voters in both Industrial Midwest states. Ohio, which has voted for the winner in every presidential election since 1964, is trending towards Clinton by 1%, according to the RCP average, although the NBC/WSJ poll of the state released Friday gave Trump a 1-point lead. Michigan, which has voted Democratic in every presidential election since 1992, is seen much more in Clinton's column: her lead in the state's RCP average is 10.7%.
  • Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has no public events scheduled until Wednesday's debate, as she continues to prepare in New York. However, she has a full slate of surrogates campaigning in her place: running mate Tim Kaine holds fundraisers in Bethesda, Maryland (tickets range from $250 to $50,000) and Arlington, Virginia (tickets range from $1,000 to $20,000); Kaine's wife Anne Holton will speak at a "Women for Hillary" event and a "canvass kick-off" with military families, both in Penascola, Florida; former President Bill Clinton will headline events in Hanover and Keene, New Hampshire; and Sen. Bernie Sanders will hold a "Get out the Vote" rally at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado.
  • Virginia, Florida, New Hampshire, and Colorado are all key battleground states, although Clinton leads the polling averages in each (by 8.7% 3.5%, 3.6%, and 9%, respectively).
  • In addition, Clinton's daughter Chelsea will attend a "Broadway for Hillary" fundraiser at St. James Theater in New York City (tickets range from $500 to $100,000), featuring performances by actors including Emily Blunt, Matthew Broderick, Alan Cumming, Josh Groban, Neil Patrick Harris, Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Helen Mirren, Sarah Jessica Parker, Julia Roberts, and others.
  • Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein will attend a Town Hall and Q&A at Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas at 6:3pm. Stein receives an average of 2.8% support in Texas, according to RCP.
  • Libertarian vice-presidential nominee Bill Weld will also be in Texas today, where his ticket takes 6.5% of the vote, according to the RCP polling average. Weld will hold a 7pm rally at Gilley's in Dallas.
  • Finally, Independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin will answer questions from audience members at "The African American Voter Values Town Hall" at Bluepring Church in Atlanta, Georgia at 7pm. The town hall, which will focus on voting rights, will be moderated by Christian hip-hop artist and Atlanta resident Sho Baraka. "African Americans have a unique experience in this country. The Evan McMullin Campaign cherishes these experiences and recognizes that they are more helpful than statistics in paving the way to real, effective solutions," the campaign said in an announcement for the event. "Hearing and learning from African Americans about the issues that are most important and have the greatest impact in this community is vital to Evan."
  • McMullin is not on the ballot in Georgia, although he does have write-in access in the state.

White House Watch

  • The President's Schedule At 10am, President Barack Obama will receive the Presidential Daily Briefing in the Oval Office.
  • At 11:25am, the President will speak about his education record at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School in Washington, D.C. Obama will "highlight the progress his Administration has made over the last eight years to improve education across the country," according to the White House; he is expected to discuss the White House's announcement Monday that the U.S. high school graduation rate had reached 83.2%, a record.
  • At 2:30pm, Obama will be joined in the Oval Office by Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill to release the report on Biden's cancer "moonshot" initiative.

Daily Data

  • Stressed Out? An online survey conducted by Harris Poll for the American Psychological Association (APA) that the 2016 election is "a very or somewhat significant source of stress" for 52% of adults, 18 years old and older, living in the United States.
  • "Election stress becomes exacerbated by arguments, stories, images and video on social media that can heighten concern and frustration, particularly with thousands of comments that can range from factual to hostile or even inflammatory," said Lynn Bufka, PhD, the APA associate executive director fo practice research and policy.
  • The survey also found that stress cuts across party lines: 55% of registered Democrats said they were stressed about the election, and 59% of registered Republicans.
  • How should you release your anxiety about the election? Via NPR, here are the APA's recommendations:
  • "If the 24-hour news cycle of claims and counterclaims from the candidates is causing you stress, limit your media consumption. Read just enough to stay informed. Turn off the newsfeed or take a digital break. Take some time for yourself, go for a walk, or spend time with friends and family doing things that you enjoy
  • "Avoid getting into discussions about the election if you think they have the potential to escalate to conflict. Be cognizant of the frequency with which you're discussing the election with friends, family members or coworkers.
  • "Stress and anxiety about what might happen is not productive. Channel your concerns to make a positive difference on issues you care about. Consider volunteering in your community, advocating for an issue you support or joining a local group. Remember that in addition to the presidential election, there are state and local elections taking place in many parts of the country, providing more opportunities for civic involvement.
  • "Whatever happens on Nov. 8, life will go on. Our political system and the three branches of government mean that we can expect a significant degree of stability immediately after a major transition of government. Avoid catastrophizing, and maintain a balanced perspective.
  • "Vote. In a democracy, a citizen's voice does matter. By voting, you will hopefully feel you are taking a proactive step and participating in what for many has been a stressful election cycle. Find balanced information to learn about all the candidates and issues on your ballot (not just the presidential race), make informed decisions and wear your 'I voted' sticker with pride."

Today's Trivia

  • Question of the Day Today's question comes from Wake Up To Politics Senior Bob Dylan Correspondent Randy "Dylan" Fleisher, in light of Bob Dylan's Nobel Prize win, announced on Thursday.
  • The question: "Which U.S. president quoted a Bob Dylan song when accepting his party's nomination?"
  • Email (gabe@wakeuptopolitics.com) or tweet (@WakeUp2Politics) me with your guess; correct respondents will get their name in tomorrow's newsletter!
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