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Wake Up To Politics - September 1, 2016

Thursday, September 1, 2016
69 Days Until Election Day 2016 (AKA my 15th birthday)
26 Days Until the First Presidential DebateI'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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Need to Know

  • Election 2016: Trump Returns to Past Rhetoric In Immigration Speech After two weeks of planning to "soften" his immigration policies, and just hours after a subdued trip to Mexico to meet with President Enrique Peña Nieto, Donald Trump spent his much-awaited immigration speech Wednesday simply reverting to the hard-line positions that first launched his presidential campaign.
  • Despite campaign manager Kellyanne Conway's recent hints that Trump would roll back his original campaign proposal to deport all 11 million illegal immigrants living in the United States, the Republican nominee seemed instead to listen to the conservative beliefs of his campaign CEO, former Breitbart executive Steve Bannon. "Anyone who has entered the United States illegally is subject to deportation," Trump said at his immigration speech in Phoenix on Wednesday. "Otherwise we don't have a country."
  • While this is the rhetoric Trump has deployed for months, it came as a surprise after his more soft-spoken, diplomatic manner in a joint press conference with President Peña Nieto. At the press conference, Trump said the two did not discuss payment for Trump's proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall, even after he spent months claiming that Mexico would pay for it.
  • Although Peña Nieto said nothing during the press conference, he contradicted Trump's version of events later. "“At the beginning of the conversation with Donald Trump I made it clear that Mexico will not pay for the wall," he tweeted.
  • However, Trump ignored the president's claim in his address, saying he would build a "beautiful" and "impenetrable" wall - and "they don't know it yet," but Mexico will still pay for it.
  • Many questions were left unanswered after Trump's immigration speech, including if he still planned to deport all 11 million illegal immigrants. Calling for as many to be deported as possible, Trump said he didn't believe what would be done with the rest was important. "Only the out-of-touch media elites think the biggest problems facing American society today is that there are 11 million illegal immigrants who don’t have legal status," he argued.
  • However, Trump did say what won't happen to those immigrants: "no amnesty," he said. Trump continued: "For those here today illegally who are seeking legal status, they will have one route and only one route: to return home and apply for re-entry under the rules of the new legal immigration system."
  • Continuing his return to more conservative policy, Trump called for an increase in immigration officers, and an end to "catch-and-release" for immigrants who enter illegally during his Presidency ("anyone who illegally crosses the border will be detained until they are returned") and reiterating his proposal "to create a new special deportation task force."
  • After spending the past two weeks worrying that Trump would leave them on immigration, conservatives rejoiced Wednesday after he stuck with his hard-right positions. "Wow. This doesn't sound like 'softening.' GO, TRUMP!!!" conservative commentator Ann Coulter tweeted (she had spent much of the past two weeks publicly concerned about a potential Trump change of heart).
  • Yet, some inside of Trump's camp are reconsidering their support for his campaign after the Phoenix speech. One member of his newly-formed National Hispanic Advisory Council already resigned in the wake of the speech, while Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles president Alfonso Auilar said he is "inclined" to pull support.
  • While Trump did leave room for uncertainty in his remarks, one issue was made clear: the Republican's target audience for the last 10 weeks of his campaign. No longer is Trump using the Conway strategy of getting back lost Republican votes and attracting Independents. Now, Trump is deploying the Bannon strategy: a return to the positions he is comfortable with to enthuse the voters he cares about most, his base.
  • Supreme Court: Ruling on North Carolina Voter ID Law Not Reversed The U.S. Supreme Court acted Wednesday in the dispute over North Carolina's new hard-line voting law, issuing an order not reversing the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimous decision that the law is unconstitutional.
  • After the 4th Circuit Court's unanimous ruling in July that the law's provisions "target African-Americans with almost surgical precision," Gov. Pat McCrory (R) filed an emergency stay request asking the Supreme Court for permission to use the law in the upcoming November election.
  • Chief Justice John Roberts was joined by his three fellow conservative Justices Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito in voting to grant most of the request (Thomas voted for the entire law to be used in November; the other three wanted to keep everything but a provision curtailing "preregistration" of 16-year-olds). The four liberal justices (Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan) all voted to deny the stay. Since the vacancy left by Justice Antonin Scalia's death remains, the court deadlocked 4-4, which means the ruling of the lower court stands.
  • The Supreme Court's order did not explain their reasoning in the case (North Carolina, et al v. NC Conference of NAACP, et al) or rule on the merits of the law. The measure was first passed by North Carolina's Republican-controlled legislature in 2013, just months after the Supreme Court struck down a Voting Rights Act requirement that certain states recieve federal approval before enacting any changes to their voting law in Shelby County v. Holder. (North Carolina was one of the states.)
  • Since its passage, the Obama Administration and a number of civil rights groups (led by the state's NAACP chapter) have challenged the North Carolina law, claiming that it is targeted against black voters, a key Democratic voting bloc. McCrory's stay request asked that the Supreme Court partially reverse the 4th Circuit to allow the measure's three main provisions be kept for November: the voter ID requirements, the reduction in amount of early voting days from 17 to 10, and the limiting of the state's "preregistration" program to register 16-year-old so they are on the voting rolls when they become eligible to participate in elections. Same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting were also eliminated by the law.
  • The Supreme Court's deadlock was applauded by Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, who tweeted: "Great news for North Carolinians. Let's make voting easier so every voice in our democracy can be heard." Meanwhile, McCrory argued that the order makes his state more susceptible to voter fraud. “Four liberal justices blocked North Carolina protections afforded by our sensible voter laws,” a statement from the governor read.
  • Although the outcome is a victory for the civil rights groups, and Democrats like Clinton who benefit from the looser voting laws in a number of close North Carolina races, it also offers a sign of what can be expected from the Supreme Court in weeks to come.
  • As the court returns for its new term in October, it may continue to deadlock on key issues such as voter ID laws, resulting in the upholding of appeals court decisions until a ninth Supreme Court justice can be confirmed.
  • Congress: Kentucky Congressman to Resign Over Ethics Violations Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY) announced Wednesday that he plans to resign from Congress next week, amid a House Ethics Committee investigation finding that Whitfield violated House rules by granting "special favors" to his wife, a registered lobbyist.
  • "As you know, I did not seek re-election to Congress this year and have now decided to submit my resignation as the Congressman of the First District of Kentucky, effective 6PM, Tuesday, September 6, 2016," Whitfield wrote in a four-sentence letter to Gov. Matt Bevin (R-KY) announcing his plans.
  • Bevin announced later Wednesday that he had set a special election to fill out the last two months of Whitfield's term for November 8, coinciding with the regular election to fill Whitfield's seat beginning in January. Bevin also tweeted Wednesday: "[Rep. Ed Whitfield] has served the people of Kentucky's first district admirably, and we wish him all the very best in the years ahead."
  • Former Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, who lost to Bevin in the 2015 Republican gubernatorial primary, faces Democrat Sam Gaskin in the regular November election. Comer has already announced his intention to run in the special election as well; if he wins both races (for the unexpired term and the full, two-year term), Comer will have an advantage over other new members of Congress in seniority.
  • Ed Whitfield, 73, has represented Kentucky's first district since January 1995. He began his political career as a Democrat, serving a single term in the Kentucky House of Representatives from 1974 to 1975, but spent two decades working in his family's oil distributorship and as a railroad lobbyist before running for Congress as a Republican in 1994. A moderate Republican who served without controversy for much of his career, until a House Ethic Committee report in July found that he granted special access to his wife, Connie Harriman Whitfield, as he introduced legislation on the the treatment of show horses championed by the Humane Society. His wife, who served as Assistant Secretary of Interior under George W. Bush, is a lobbyist for the Humane Society Legislative Fund.
  • "Representative Ed Whitfield failed to prohibit lobbying contacts between his staff and his wife, Constance Harriman, and dispensed special privileges to Ms. Harriman,” the Ethics Committee wrote in its report.
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) wrote in a statement Wednesday that the 11-term congressman had served "with distinction" and had "fought hard for the people of western Kentucky," and that "it has been an honor working alongside him on a variety of issues."
  • "I am thankful for our many years of friendship," McConnnell said, "and Elaine and I extend every best wish to Ed, Connie and the entire Whitfield family in the years ahead.

Politics Planner

All times Eastern.

  • Campaign 2016 Donald Trump address the American Legion convention in Ohio, Gary Johnson campaigns in Wisconsin, and Tim Kaine and Anne Holton visit New Hampshire:
  • 9am Trump will address the 98th annual American Legion national convention in Cincinnati. The American Legion, the largest nonpartisan veterans service group in the nation, invites both major-party presidential nominees to their convention every election cycle; Clinton spoke before the convention on Wednesday.
  • A release from The American Legion notes: "According to his campaign site, Trump proposes to 'make our military so big, powerful and strong that no one will mess with us' if he is elected as the next commander-in-chief. His proposal for VA reform includes increasing funding for mental health resources for veterans, better care for women veterans, and modernizing all VA centers with 21st century state of the art technology."
  • 10:30am Kaine and his wife Anne Holton will visit the Clinton campaign office in Dover, New Hampshire.
  • 12pm Trump holds a rally at Roberts Center in Wilmington, Ohio, continuing to campaign in the all-important swing state.
  • 12:45pm Kaine and Holton will visit the Clinton campaign office in Laconia.
  • 3:45pm Kaine and Holton will hold an education roundtable with Dr. Susan Lynch, a pediatrician and wife of former Gov. John Lynch (D-NH), at Manchester Community College.
  • 5:15pm Kaine and Holton will visit the local Democratic National Committee (DNC) office in Nashua, New Hampshire.
  • 6pm Johnson will hold his first Wisconsin event, with a rally at Serb Hall in Milwaukee. The Libertarian chose the venue for his Badger State debut wisely: the event space has hosted Presidents Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, as well as First Ladies Jackie Kennedy and Nancy Reagan, Vice President Dick Cheney, and onetime presidential candidates Hubert Humphrey, Edumund Muskie, George McGovern, Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, and Tommy Thompson. According to a NBC producer, "Serb Hall has been a must-stop for local, state and federal office seekers for many years."
  • White House President Obama tours a recently-expanded marine national monument in Midway Atoll.
  • 12:30am The President spoke at the 2016 Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders in Honolulu.
  • 11am Vice President Joe Biden will campaign for the Clinton-Kaine ticket in Ohio today, holding an event at UAW 1174 in Warren.
  • 3:35pm Obama departs Honolulu for Midway Atoll, a small U.S. island territory in the North Pacific Ocean where part of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, which Obama expanded last week, is located.
  • 5:45pm Biden will hold a second Hillary for Ohio event, in the Cleveland area, at UAW Local 1105 Hall in Parma.
  • 6:40pm The President arrives at Midway Atoll.
  • 7:25pm Obama will tour the island, "to mark the significance of this monument designation and highlight firsthand how the threat of climate change makes protecting our public lands and waters more important than ever," according to press secretary Josh Earnest.
  • Climate change is the theme of the week for Obama, who spoke about conservation at the Lake Tahoe Summit in Nevada on Wednesday and in Hawaii earlier today.
  • In addition to his focus on the national monument, Obama will also use his rare visit to Midway Atoll to honor the lives lost in the Battle of Midway, a key U.S. victory in World War II.

Daily Data

  • 77% According to a Fox News poll released Wednesday, more than three-quarters of registered American voters - 77% - favor a system of legalization for illegal immigrants currently living in the United States, including 87% of Democrats and 66% of Republicans. 19% favor deporting as many of the illegal immigrants as possible.
  • Interestingly, Donald Trump seems to be driving answer to this question in the opposite direction he might like. In July 2015, just after Trump announced his presidential bid, 64% said they favored a system of legalization, while 20% said they favored deportation. Six years ago, before Trump had entered the national stage, just 49% favored a system to make illegal immigrants legal residents; 45% favored deportation.
  • Fox News also polled whether registered voters were more or less likely to vote for Trump if he softened his position on the illegal immigrants in the U.S. - which he did not do on Wednesday. But maybe he should have: nearly half (48%) of those already supporting Trump, and more than a quarter (27%) of those not supporting him, said they would more likely to vote for Trump if he softened on immigration.

Smart Reads

  • Trump Cabinet Watch Bloomberg: "Until one Tuesday in April, Steven Mnuchin’s life had been ordered meticulously. The son of a Goldman Sachs partner, he was publisher of the Yale Daily News, was tapped into Skull and Bones, made partner at Goldman, ran a hedge fund, and invested in Hollywood blockbusters. One thing followed another. Then, on April 19, the day of the New York primary, Mnuchin’s life veered."
  • "He was supposed to be at a dinner downtown, but after receiving a last-minute invitation to Donald Trump’s victory speech, he stopped by Trump Tower...The two had worked together on building deals years earlier. The billionaire beckoned his friend to follow him onto an escalator, and suddenly they were both onstage, Trump jabbing at the roaring crowd and bragging that the group assembled behind him included some of the world’s great businessmen. Mnuchin beamed. From where he stood, Trump’s iridescent hairdo was almost close enough to pat. He spotted a monitor, glimpsed his own face, and realized he was on TV."
  • "The next morning, Trump called and asked Mnuchin to be his national finance chairman. He accepted...Mnuchin had spent his career atop the elite institutions Trump voters despise, and he lacked any political experience...With only a few months left before the election, Mnuchin was going up against a Hillary Clinton money machine that was out-organizing and outraising him. Friends who’ve known him for years found it baffling."
  • "...One theory bouncing between Manhattan and Beverly Hills holds that an investor with so much Wall Street blood in his veins spotted the trade of a lifetime. In exchange for a few months of unpaid work, Mnuchin gets a shot at joining President Trump’s cabinet. Goldman partners have wealth, and movie producers befriend stars, but the secretary of the Treasury gets his signature stamped on cash."
  • Reid Calls for End to Filibuster in a Democratic Senate NYT: "Senator Harry Reid says Democrats should move to curtail the filibuster  if they win the White House and Senate in November only to run up against persistent use of the tactic by Republicans."
  • " 'Unless after this election there is a dramatic change to go back to the way it used to be, the Senate will have to evolve as it has in the past,' Mr. Reid told me, referring to a former tradition of rarely mounting filibusters. 'But it will evolve with a majority vote determining stuff. It is going to happen.' "
  • "He has condemned Republican reliance on the filibuster to impede President Obama. Mr. Reid’s frustration ultimately led Senate Democrats in 2013 to weaken the minority party’s ability to block most executive branch nominations. But he won’t be in office to challenge the filibuster. He is retiring."
  • "However, he is the first to publicly express what other lawmakers and aides have talked about more quietly: the possibility that Democrats will take drastic action if they are triumphant at the polls only to be blocked by the gridlock that has plagued Washington in a new Clinton administration."
  • Inside the Life of Reagan's Shooter CNN: "At the modest white-brick church on the edge of Colonial Williamsburg -- where a Black Lives Matter sign and a gay pride flag welcome parishioners and visitors -- the congregation of 250 has opened its arms to a pariah whose shocking crime nearly changed the course of American history."
  • "Church leaders at Williamsburg Unitarian Universalists voted to stand alone in the community and give the middle-aged man a part-time job doing yard work on the church grounds.
     But there was a problem almost immediately."
  • "John Hinckley Jr. -- who shot President Ronald Reagan in 1981 and was found not guilty by reason of insanity -- had spent most of the past three decades locked away inside St. Elizabeths psychiatric hospital in Washington, D.C. -- except for supervised visits to his mother's house in Williamsburg."

Today's Trivia

  • No trivia question today. See tomorrow's newsletter for an answer to Wednesday's question.
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