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Wake Up To Politics - October 20, 2016

Thursday, October 20, 2016

19 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

  • Debate Recap: Trump Refuses to Say If He Will Accept Election Results, Missing Comeback Opportunity Slipping in recent polls, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump needed Wednesday's night debate in Las Vegas to have any shot at a comeback: instead, a single moment ruined the night for him.
  • In the midst of an unorthodox campaign cycle, the third and final debate between Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton began normal enough. Both candidates appeared subdued, answering moderator Chris Wallace's policy questions, and speaking in more positive terms and polite exchanges. That ended pretty quickly.
  • Trump's first thirty minutes were his best, a very different temperament from the first two debates and his recent rallies. All it took was one question for Trump's calm to crumble. Asked by Wallace, the host of "Fox News Sunday," if he would accept the results of the election if he was not announced the loser, Trump refused to say. "I will look at it at the time," the Republican said, returning to his "rigged election" rhetoric of the past week.
  • When Wallace spoke about the importance of peaceful transfer of power to American democracy, and then pressed Trump again, the Republican nominee dug himself into an even deeper hole. Trump responded: "I'll keep you in suspense, OK?"
  • Hillary Clinton grabbed hold of the remarks: "That's horrifying," she said, criticizing Trump for his rejection of a longtime tradition in America. Clinton also spoke of other examples of Trump claiming events were rigged when he did not when, including three years of "Emmys" broadcasts in which "The Apprentice" did not win. Trump, who had now returned to his normal practice of interrupting Clinton, seemed compelled to speak. "Should have gotten it," he said, eliciting an exasperated smile from Clinton. "It's funny, but it's also really troubling," she said.
  • The debate was momentous for a number of other reasons, featuring charges made by both candidates that would have been vying for the headline in any other election year. For one, at both the start and end of the debate, Clinton and Trump did not shake hands, a departure from past debates.
  • In the first half-hour, the two laid out their differences on a number of policy fights. On the first topic, the Supreme Court, they hit on gun control, abortion rights, and other hot-button issues. On both of those main issues, Trump made claims about Clinton's positions, insisting that she was "extremely upset, extremely angry" about the Supreme Court's Heller v. D.C. decision upholding the Second Amendment and that she supports a woman's ability to "rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby."
  • Clinton and Trump also traded shots on immigration. "“We stop the drugs; we shore up the border,” Trump said. “One of my first acts will be to get all the drug lords, we have some bad, bad people in this country that have to go out. We're going to get them out. We're going to secure the border. And once the border is secured, at a later date, we'll make determination as to the rest. We have some bad hombres and we're going to get them out.”
  • The Democratic nominee responded, once again trying to get under Trump's skin by saying "he choked" by failing to mention his proposed border wall in a meeting with the Mexican president.
  • Wallace also pressed Trump on the numerous women who have accused Trump of sexual assault. "Those stories have been largely debunked," Trump claimed, insisting that "I didn't do anything." Clinton, meanwhile, went after Trump over the allegations: "That's who Donald is." Trump's response ("Nobody has more respect for women than I do") could be barely heard in face of audible laughter from the audience.
  • Another one of the night's most contentious moments was when Wallace pressed Clinton to explain the revelation that she said she supported "open borders" in a speech transcript found in the WikiLeaks emails. Instead of addressing her support for "open borders," Clinton went after WikiLeaks. "What is really important about WikiLeaks is that the Russian government has engaged in espionage against Americans. They have hacked American websites, American accounts of private people, of institutions. Then they have given that information to WikiLeaks for the purpose of putting it on the internet. This has come from the highest levels of the Russian government.”
  • Trump recognized Clinton's ducking the question: "That was a great pivot off the fact that she wants open borders," he said. Later in the debate, the Democratic nominee circled back to the Kremlin, tying Russian president Vladimir Putin to Trump. "I don't know Putin," Trump insisted, while asserting that Putin has "no respect" for Clinton.
  • "That's because he would rather have a puppet as president of the United States," Clinton shot back.
  • "You're the puppet," Trump responded.
  • Clinton and Trump also sparred about their respective charities, with Trump calling the Clinton Foundation "a criminal enterprise," and Clinton questioning the Trump Foundation's purchase of a six-foot portrait of Trump. "I mean, who does that?" Clinton asked.
  • When the debate turned to the economy, Clinton also had a prepared defense for Trump's charge that she has affected no change in her 30 years of government experience. The Democrat compared her past three decades to Trump's, contrasting her work on racial discrimination for the Children's Defense Fund with lawsuits dealing with Trump's discrimination in his apartment buildings, her work on education as he started his business with loan from his father, her defense of women's rights as Trump called Miss Universe Alicia Machado "an eating machine," and her time in the Situation Room to his in the boardroom of "The Celebrity Apprentice.
  • "Give me a break," Trump interjected, defending himself: "I think I did a much better job. I built a massive company, a great company...and if we could run our country the way I've run my company, we would have a country that you would be so proud of."
  • But in the end: only one moment mattered. Trump's refusal to pledge acceptance of the election results dominated coverage of the third debate, becoming the headline of The New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal. The Associated Press, which is syndicated in hundreds of newspapers across the country, said Trump was "threatening to upend a fundamental pillar of democracy" in that moment.
  • The debate was truly do-or-die for Trump: a victory on Wednesday would not have necessarily saved his campaign, but it would potentially have plugged the leaks and ensured victory in deep-red states. Instead, after that single quote about the election results - a simple "yes" or "no" question that Trump could have said "yes" too - Trump seems headed for a landslide loss.
  • Once again, Trump was his own worst enemy, appearing unable to stop himself from repeatedly interrupting Clinton and lacking the self-discipline to say he would accept unfavorable election results. As the debate gradually became less civil, Clinton remained mostly calm, letting Trump sabotage himself.
  • Again and again, Trump leaned into the microphone and made remarks that lost him exchanges leaning his way. "Such a nasty woman," Trump said of Clinton, interrupting her towards the end of the debate.
  • Trump's implosion also hurts congressional Republicans down the ballot, who will now have to spend the next 19 days answering whether or not they agree with Trump that American democracy is "rigged." As the debate ended Wednesday night, two Republican U.S. Senators (both of whom oppose Trump) distanced themselves from the remark. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) tweeted: "[Donald Trump] saying that he might not accept election results is beyond the pale," while Sen. Lindsey Graham said in a statement: "If [Trump] loses, it will not be because the system is 'rigged,' but because he failed as a candidate."
  • Today on the Trail Republican nominee Donald Trump will hold his first post-debate rally at 12:30pm, at the Delaware County Fair in Delaware, Ohio. The Buckeye State is a must-win for Trump, and one of the few swing states showing him in the lead (he has a 0.5% advantage, according to the RCP polling average.)
  • Meanwhile, Trump's running mate Mike Pence holds a 1pm rally in Reno, Nevada and a 6pm rally in Albuquerque, New Mexico. While Nevada is considered a swing state, albeit one trending towards Clinton (she leads by 4.2%, per RCP), New Mexico is a strange state to campaign in less than three weeks before Election Day. Clinton leads by 8.5% in the state, according to RCP; the state has voted Democratic in all but election since 1992.
  • Finally, Trump's daughter Ivanka will campaign for her father in Wisconsin, addressing events in Wauwatosa and Eau Claire.
  • On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton will take another day off the campaign trail, while many of her top surrogates take her place. Running mate Tim Kaine campaigns in North Carolina today, holding rallies in Charlotte and Durham; daughter Chelsea headlines a fundraiser; and Clinton's three super-surrogates will hit the trail for her (see "White House Watch.")
  • In addition, both candidates will meet for potentially their last joint appearance of the campaign: as is tradition, Clinton and Trump will raise money for Catholic charity as they poke fun at themselves (which seems impossible after Wednesday night) at the annual Al Smith Dinner in Manhattan.

White House Watch

  • The President's Schedule President Obama will travel to Miami Dade College in Miami, Florida today, to speak about the Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare), "and the progress made in ensuring that all Americans have access to quality, affordable health care," according to the White House.
  • While in the key battleground state, Obama will hold a rally for Hillary Clinton (in Miami Gardens) and a fundraiser for he Democratic Governors Association. With the President in Florida, the whole trifecta of White House super-surrogates will be stumping for Clinton: First Lady Michelle Obama headlines a rally in Phoenix, Arizona today; Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a rally in Nashua, new Hampshire.

Daily Data

  • CNN poll: Clinton Wins Debate According to a CNN poll conducted after Wednesday's night debate, 52% of the debate's viewers said Clinton won, meaning she likely overcame the final obstacle in her path to victory. 39% of those who watched the debate said that Trump won.
  • Speaking Times According to Politico, Hillary Clinton spoke more than Donald Trump on Wednesday (40 minutes, 49 seconds to his 34 minutes, 48 seconds), but Trump interrupted her much more. While Clinton interrupted Trump just five times (and the moderator 17 times), Trump cut in while Clinton was speaking 37 times (and interjected the moderator 30 times).
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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.