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Wake Up To Politics - October 24, 2016

Monday, October 24, 2016

15 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

  • Analysis: Democrats Gain Confidence in White House Chances, Turning Towards Downballot Races, As Trump Struggles With a Closing Message A Friday release from the Donald Trump campaign announced a "major speech," scheduled for the next day in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania (a city that is no stranger to major presidential addresses). "Donald J. Trump will kick-off closing arguments for American voters" in the speech, the campaign said; it will "define the clear choice for change in this historic election cycle." After days of struggling in the polls, the Trump campaign had seemed to decide on a closing message to hammer for the next 2+ weeks.
  • According to a campaign press release after the speech, Trump had unveiled a "Contract with the American Voter" in Gettysburg. He had "presented a game-changing plan for his first 100 days in office...[to] insure that America's economy is revitalized and citizens are protected." The release outlines Trump's six-point plan to end corruption in Washington, D.C. (including congressional term limits and regulations on lobbyists), a seven-point plan for the economy (including pulling U.S. support for NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership), and a five-point homeland security plan (including rescinding a number of President Obama's executive orders), as well as a list of 10 legislative measures he would push in his first 100 days as president.
  • Not mentioned in the press release? In his Gettysburg speech, billed as a closing argument to emphasize Trump's outsider advantages in the final weeks of the campaign, Trump made an announcement outside of the "Contract" his campaign outlined. "Every woman lied when they came forward to hurt my campaign," Trump said of the women who have accused him of kissing and grabbing them without consent. "Total fabrication. The events never happened. Never. All of these liars will be sued after the election is over." Once again, Trump had allowed his focus to stray, and given the media a much more buzz-worthy headline, dooming what he did manage to say about his first 100 days to the bottom of a much more interesting story.
  • Mistakes like this of Trump's are giving the Clinton campaign new confidence as they head towards an apparent victory. According to a RealClearPolitics, polls show Clinton leading Trump by an average of 5.8% nationally, with the Democrat also taking leads in many battleground states. Clinton's lead in an ABC News Tracking national poll released Sunday was more than double her average lead: a 12-point advantage. CNN declared Monday that "the tumultuous 2016 campaign is in a sudden limbo"; Politico writes that "Donald Trump’s path to an Election Night win is almost entirely closed."
  • Clinton's newfound confidence is allowing the campaign to expand out of the battleground states and into traditional Republican states, with Trump at risk of losing Utah to Independent Evan McMullin and even Texas (the latter is now a tossup, according to RealClearPolitics' ratings). Clinton is also using her vast resources not only for her presidential race, but also to assist Democratic candidates in tight Senate and House races. In recent rallies in states like Pennsylvania and North Carolina, Clinton has taken on a new tone in urging supporters to also vote in downballot races, urging Democrats to reject Republican officeholders who have supported Trump and to give her a Senate majority to govern if she is elected president.
  • President Barack Obama, whose approval rating is consistently reaching above 50% in recent polls (higher than its been since just after his 2012 re-election), is also campaigning in full force for downballot Democrats. At an event on Nevada on Sunday, Obama directed his aim at Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV), who is running for Senate. "I understand Joe Heck now wishes he had never said those things about Donald Trump," referring to favorable comments Heck made about the GOP standard-bearer. "But they're on tape, they're on the record, and now that Trump's poll numbers are cratering, he said, 'I'm not supporting him'? Too late! You don't get credit for that." Obama barely mentioned Hillary Clinton, as he expounded on Nevada's most closer race for Senate. At a Sunday fundraiser in Los Angeles, Obama's focus was again on congressional races, this time targeting Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), who touted collaboration with Obama in a campaign mailer, despite years of running investigations of the White House.
  • These events are part of a larger attempt by Obama to cement his Democratic Party legacy, working to elect members of the party from the state legislative level on up. According to Republican strategist Rory Cooper, as of November 2015, Democrats had lost over 900 state legislative seats, 12 governors, 69 U.S. Representative, and 13 U.S. Senators since Obama entered office, a deficit he is working to turn around in his final months.
  • The President is reportedly planning to boost the campaigns of 150+ state legislative candidates, as he seeks to bring back Democratic majorities in the 32 state legislative chambers where they have been lost since 2010. He will also endorse 30 additional House candidates on Monday, hoping to gain back the congressional majorities that have gone away over the Obama tenure. White House Political Director David Simas told The New York Times: "You are going to see a a level of engagement down to the state representative level that I don't think you seen to many presidents engage in."
  • Donald Trump on Sunday made similar pleas to elect republicans to Congress, urging supporters to "re-elect Republicans all over the place," and tying the passage of his agenda to the re-election of "a Republican House and Senate" three times at a Naples, Florida rally. However, with many Republicans pulling support of Trump and others campaigning as a check against Hillary Clinton (assuming Trump will lose), Trump's pitch comes as the head of a very fractured party. The GOP nominee cannot afford the resources to spend on downballot races that Clinton can.
  • However, Trump also remained confident in Naples, insisting that his campaign was heading towards a victory: "I'll tell you what, we're doing well in the polls," he said, "but you know, I really think those polls are very inaccurate."
  • Today on the Trail Where are the 2016 presidential candidates and their surrogates today?
  • Republican nominee Donald Trump holds two rallies in Florida today: at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre in St. Augustine (3pm) and the MidFlorida Credit Union Ampitheater in Tampa (7pm). The Sunshine State is key to Trump's path to victory next month; currently, he trails Clinton by 4% in Florida, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average.
  • Republican vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence campaigns in North Carolina, another key state for the GOP ticket, holding rallies at Catawba College (the alma mater of North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, a Trump supporter) in Salisbury (4pm) and at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex in Greensboro (7pm). Clinton leads the RCP polling average by 2.5% in North Carolina as of today.
  • Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton will be joined by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at a rally at Saint Anselm College in Manchester at 12:30pm today, likely an attempt to target Democrats who voted for Sanders in the New Hampshire primary (which he won) earlier this year, as Warren's progressive base of support in neighboring Massachusetts is similar to Sanders'. Clinton has a comfortable edge in the Granite State: 8%, according to RCP.
  • Democratic vice-presidential nominee Tim Kaine will also be campaigning in Florida, not too far from Donald Trump. Kaine will headline two "Early Voting Rally" in the state (where some counties open early voting today): at Florida International University in Miami (11:30am) and at Meyer Amphitheater in West Palm Beach (3:30pm). Perhaps Kaine will run in to Professor Marco Rubio in Miami: the senator also teaches political science classes at FIU.
  • Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson has no public events today.
  • Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein campaigns in Washington state, where she polls at 4.3% (according to RealClearPolitics). Stein will headline a rally at Kane Hall Auditorium in Seattle (7pm), where she will be joined by Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant, the only elected official of the U.S. Socialist Alternative party; artist/activist Bill Moyer; and local climate change activist Patrick Mazza, among other speakers.
  • Independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin, who is campaigning as a conservative alternative for "Never Trump" Republicans, will step outside of his native Utah (the only state he is expected to have an impact on the election) to address supporters at Snow King Lodge in Jackson, Wyoming at 7pm, despite Wyoming's status as one of 12 states where McMullin has no ballot or write-in access. McMullin failed to submit enough valid signatures to be added to the Wyoming ballot: 3,302 signatures were required. While McMullin submitted about 5,500, too many were invalidated by a Wyoming law that prohibits voters from signing ballot access petitions for more than one independent candidate for the same office.

White House Watch

  • Executive Schedules Both President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will campaign for Hillary Clinton today.
  • Obama will travel to California, where he will hold two fundraisers for Clinton: at 11:55am, he will speak at a San Diego reception for the Clinton campaign; at 5:50pm, he will participate in a Los Angeles roundtable to benefit the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Victory Fund. In addition, the President will tape an interview with ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" at 2:50pm (the episode airs at 11:35pm tonight).
  • In addition, Vice President Joe Biden holds Clinton rallies at Toledo Lucas County Public Library in Toledo, Ohio at 3pm today and at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio at 7:15pm.

Smart Reads

  • A roundup of political stories to read:
  • "Want a presidential appointment? Step 1: Oppo research on yourself" (Politico). Dozens of Washingtonians are hoping for presidential appointments in the next presidential administration, with some even paying up to $1,000 an hour for lawyers to look through their pasts to find "tax violations, corporate entanglements and other land mines" that could jeopardize their chance at an administration post.
  • "Why the Justice Dept. Will Have Far Fewer Watchdogs in Polling Places" (New York Times). The Justice Department can only send special election observers to parts of four states on Election Day, down from 13 states in 2012, limiting the agency's ability to regulate voter intimidation. Federal officials have been sent to observe voting since the Voting Rights Act's passage in 1965, when poll taxes and literacy tests were still common. This is the first presidential election since the Supreme Court struck down parts of the Voting Rights Act three years ago.
  • "Trump, Name Now Awash in Controversy, Readies Scion as New Brand" (Bloomberg). Donald Trump's presidential campaign has had positive and negative advantages for his brand, allowing him to promote his hotels and golf courses from an even larger platform, while also losing business over his bombastic comments. The Trump Organization is now ditching its namesake in a line of new hotels targeting younger clients, to be named "Scion," a shit from the company's practice of using Trump's name for nearly all of its products.
  • "Even if Democrats win the Senate in 2016, their majority is unlikely to endure" (Washington Post). Democrats may see the net gain of four seats they need to win back the Senate majority next month, but it will be difficult to keep control of the chamber come 2018. In two years, Democrats will have to defend 25 Senate seats, including five in states that Mitt Romney won in 2012 (and Trump is expected to win in November). Republicans have just eight seats to defend.
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