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Why are abuse allegations emerging now?

Why are abuse allegations emerging now?

screen-shot-2016-10-13-at-10-12-41-amThe first tape dropped exactly one month to the day prior to the General Election. That recording featured Donald Trump describing in explicit detail his habit of sexually assaulting women. A few days later, after an absolutely catastrophic performance in the second debate, snippets of Trump’s appearances on Howard Stern’s show started to dribble out into news media.

From the first of the Stern releases we learn that Trump draws the line sexually at women over age 12. Helpful, I guess. In another clip he makes lewd sexual comments about his daughter. Then we hear him describe how he treats contestants in his beauty pageants. Finally, after a flood of media attention has provided a sense of safety, victims of Trump’s lifestyle start pouring out to share their stories.

This sequence of revelations emerged into a carefully constructed narrative pattern, exactly the technique deployed by a trial attorney laying out a case. Republicans are crying foul, hinting that the Clinton campaign is manipulating the media. So what? That’s what credible, competent campaign professionals do. And ‘manipulating the media’ was what Trump was doing before he blundered into the buzzsaw of the Clinton machine.

It may be years before we learn the whole story of how this media firestorm was launched, but one thing is clear. Nothing about the Republican primary process prepared the party’s candidates to square off against a professional campaign run by adults. No one could have been surprised by the allegations against Trump. He’s been talking about his behavior in public for decades. The fact that this candidate survived the Republican primary demonstrates that the party’s voters, not Donald Trump, are at the core the GOP’s illness.

A few Republicans have had the temerity to whine that “no one mentioned this in the primaries.” That’s bullshit. Donald Trump did face scrutiny over his treatment of women in the GOP primary. The ugly fact is that Republican voters didn’t care. They still don’t.

In the very first Republican debate, the very first question Donald Trump faced specifically called out his abuse of women. Predictably enough, his response was vile, abusive, creepy and juvenile. How did Republicans respond? With cheers. They cheered that miserable cretin like a hero. Watch the video and tell me you were surprised by what we learned last week:

After the debate, he went on the attack against Kelly herself with a series of crude, ugly comments. Republicans responded by rallying around Trump. Meanwhile the leadership of Kelly’s network was being dismantled by their own sexual harassment scandal. Republicans didn’t care about that either, continuing to tune into a network built from the ground up around a sick culture of abuse.

Let’s be honest – none of these revelations about Donald Trump, if they had emerged in February instead of October, would have changed the outcome of the primary. Republicans wanted a racist, sexist pig as their champion. They got exactly what they wanted.

Even if some Republicans did care about Trump’s horrendous flaws, the process itself was so degraded that none of the campaigns could have effectively investigated or pressed the matter. Real vetting in the GOP primary was non-existent. It was a circus run by the monkeys themselves. Nothing left in the Republican infrastructure can restore any element of professionalism.

Why are Republican campaigns so consistently incompetent? Because Republican candidates and officials are no longer permitted to traffic in facts.

A Republican candidate who acknowledges that climate change is real, illegal immigration is declining, Benghazi was a tragic mistake rather than a deliberate conspiracy, Obama is not a Muslim, and black people have some legitimate concerns about police abuse, would be booed off the debate stage and hounded into oblivion. If you cannot use facts, then you are left to fly blind. Everything you do will at best be clumsy until it eventually tumbles into disaster.

Whichever unfortunate goofball happened to win the Republican nomination was ultimately doomed to face one of the most expert political machines in the country’s modern history. Naive Republicans who insist that Trump was just a bad candidate who doesn’t reflect on the party itself should never have to discover what the Clinton campaign would have revealed about Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, or (God help us all) Ted Cruz.

These allegations are only emerging now because a broken political party, stripped of competent professionals, was incapable of staging a real primary. This is what happens when your party rejects facts. The GOP isn’t going to restore its ability to compete nationally without a painful reassessment of the party’s relationship to reality. Nothing happening now suggests that any sort of reform is on the horizon. The GOP has become, as Republican Governor Bobby Jindal explained, “the stupid party,” and so it shall remain until its delicate members develop the courage to face some facts.


  1. With each passing day I regret more my years of insistence that Not All Republicans are xenophobic, racist, vengeful beings. I tried to stand in the “big tent” that I was promised, while they kept trying to push me out and call me names like RINO. It’s embarrassing that I closed my eyes and tried to imagine that the core of the GOP was really about fiscal policy and reducing the overreach of government, and not just about control of wealth & power. I started to make the break before the 2012 election, but this year it’s been embarrassingly obvious that the promise of this party is a big fat lie.

  2. The front page of the Houston Chronicle (and other news sites, but that’s the one in front of me right now) has three or four articles about the “dilemma” facing evangelical voters regarding Trump. I cannot see why there is any dilemma. How can a “values voter” look their children in the eye after voting for someone as vulgar as Trump? A typical evangelical family has, literally, no shared values with Trump.

    The entire argument seems to revolve around Supreme Court nominees and Trump has proposed a list of conservatives he might nominate. But he has flip-flopped on so many things and lies habitually that I fail to see how anyone could really be confident in who he would nominate. You’re willing to sell out nearly every value you have on the hope that this is the one promise he will keep?

    1. “How can a “values voter” look their children in the eye after voting for someone as vulgar as Trump?”

      The logic over there is similar in some ways to logic driving me to vote for Hillary Clinton. I loathe the Clintons, but I see Donald Trump, and increasingly the GOP itself, as an extraordinary threat to civilization; something very much like the Nazis.

      These “values voters” are convinced that the single most important issue in the history of life, the universe, and everything is abortion. Right next to that is their imagined decline in national piety.

      Trump is a vile, impious asshole who matches none of their values, but he has decided to be friendly toward their concerns. He is promising to line up with them post election on the issues they care about, while the opposing candidate is promising to thwart their interests.

      I am making a similar compromise. To my thinking, Hillary Clinton is a mid-20th liberal of a type that really ought to be extinct by now and who lines up with almost none of my policy priorities. But she is not specifically threatening the issues that are of highest concern to me in this election – basic democratic civility, trade, civil rights, and business freedom.

      To a certain extent, I am performing the same nose-holding exercise as that bunch of religious conservatives. Their choice makes sense on a certain level. It’s a stupid choice, premised on their perfectly insane belief that Obama, the Clintons, and the Democratic Party are all agents of Satan, but given the constraints of their thinking, it at least makes sense.

      1. Which is why I predicted that there will be an abortion-related leak coming soon (it is no stretch to imagine Trump having this in his closet). Perhaps, given your sense of their mindset, this would not make as much of a difference as I think, but it would definitely shake some foundations.

        P.J. O’Rourke summed up your position, which I’m sure you’ve seen (paraphrasing): Clinton is wrong about absolutely everything, but she’s wrong within normal parameters.

      2. Chris, would you elaborate on your statement “Hillary Clinton is a mid-20th liberal of a type that really ought to be extinct by now and who lines up with almost none of my policy priorities.”?

        Being of the same (general) generation as HRC, I am curious, as I agree with most of your shared positions (except unions). Here I was thinking I was an “enlightened” liberal!

      3. Clinton is part of a post-WW2 generation of thought on the center left that viewed virtually every major policy problem as solvable through the addition of one more government agency. And in a world in which there was no EPA, there was no Department of Education, there were no workplace safety rules, and roughly 75% of the potential workforce was locked out of education or full employment opportunities due to discrimination, that approach actually made some sense.

        We have reached the end of what we can accomplish by merely adding new bureaucrats or regulations. What makes Clinton acceptable is that she will at least hold this order in place for while, giving us some time to devise something smarter and more nimble. Trump would simply blow it all up, with the core of our democratic system going up in flames as well.

      4. If I am correctly understanding your response, your chief objection to the Clintons is that they want bigger government as they believe government should solve all our problems?

        You spoke of the EPA, Dept of Education, workplace safety rules…..which evolved (as did other departments – Homeland Security being a big one) directly in response to public need. Why is that a bad thing? I agree that government should be as small as possible to manage the business of the nation, but that doesn’t mean “all” government is bad.

        I still don’t think you got to your core reason for “hating” the Clintons, and wish you would.

        Mosler/Creigh – you, too. Let’s have that discussion. After all, it’s relevant since one of the Clintons is a presidential candidate (and the other will be in residence). I clearly see that Bill Clinton was a philanderer and that Hillary was careless and undoubtedly made mistakes in judgement in foreign policy. If one’s opinion of the Clintons is being driven by mid-20th century values and positions, let’s talk about that, because it is not enough to merely vote “for” HRC as a place-holder who will do no “drastic” harm. What is it really that bothers you about HRC?

      5. They aren’t a bad thing. They were a helpful evolutionary step. Every successful evolutionary step eventually becomes as evolutionary challenge, as the environment changes and new demands emerge.

        Want to see what an alternative to Clintonian super-bureaucracy might look like? Take a look at carbon cap and trade, which was a Republican idea once championed by none other than John McCain. It failed in the first try thanks to opposition from Democrats at a time when they had 60 votes in the Senate.

      6. Then, why use the phrase “the reason why I ‘hate’ the Clintons”…Don’t you think that is a little ‘strong’ if your objections are more policy-based differences? Wouldn’t a more accurate and “more fair” statement be something more on the order of, “the reason why I disagree with the Clintons”?

        I’m tired of all the “hate” directed at the Clintons. This is part of the problem, Chris. Words matter. I do not believe you ‘hate’ the Clintons, but I do think you want more forward-thinking politicians. We can agree on that need, but the messenger right now is Hillary. Does she really deserve “hate” being directed at her all the time? Is this a problem within the Republican Party base that simply cannot be excised regardless whether it is legitimate or not? And if it is legitimate for you, shouldn’t it be able to be articulated and justified rather than tossed out there?

        Honestly, I despise/hate what Donald Trump stands for. I despise how he uses power to dominate and hurt people. That is based upon specific incidents and recorded commentary. Where is the “hate” for HRC coming from? What did she do that has aroused such a strong response from Republicans?

      7. I can understand disagreement based upon different personal policy preferences, philosophies and opinions. I understand many people would prefer to see a younger, more progressive thinking candidate for POTUS. I’m also old enough to believe that people of my generation have a great deal to offer in the way of experience and values. Our changing world demands leadership that reflects where we are headed, not just where we have been. The future will always belong to the young but there is strength in retaining the lessons of those who went before. In times of distress, such as we most certainly are experiencing in our immediate political sphere, why so much equivocation?

        Platitudes aside, we have a choice between an intelligent, stable, experienced female and an absolute nutjob who takes pleasure in hurting people. Let’s stop talking about hating Hillary and get the heck behind her. Do we want HRC to ascend to the presidency thinking that half of America “hates her”? What a mandate! What I am trying to do is challenge the basis upon which each of us judges another person. With candidates for POTUS, it is absolutely ‘fair’ to look deeply for faults, but it also ‘right’ to acknowledge strengths and get past old opinions that may be based more in messaging than in fact.

      8. But let me ask about the business freedom issue you mention, Chris. Admittedly, business regulations sometimes don’t make sense and should be eliminated or changed, but do you question the basic premise that corporations should be regulated to prevent them from taking advantage of an overwhelming power advantage over consumers and employers, or that they should be free to impose externalities on the environment and society in general at will? Not to mention the issue that infuriates me, that corporations should be given human rights like freedom of speech or God help us religious rights?

      9. Exactly. It would be nice if no government oversight (vis a vis regulations, laws, penalities, litigation) were needed, but we have example after example that destroys that as myth. Key is balance. Over-regulation is harmful, but I daresay that if one had to choose between zero regulation and over regulation, we as a nation are better being over-regulated. If our Republican friends would demonstrate their ability and desire to allow government to function in the way it should, we could address some of these regulatory excesses through normal channels – not depend upon stacked courts or majorities but on good old-fashioned governance through consensus.

        I do not believe that government per se is the problem, I believe it is how people choose to run government. That is why it is critical to have two cogent, functioning political parties (or more) and an informed, rational public that holds accountable all those who function within government.

      10. Creigh – I don’t think anyone here is advocating completely unbridled capitalism, devoid of any and all regulation, and that’s not what we have today.

        On “externalities”: Is powering an ambulance and it’s associated emissions an ‘externality’ of oil production? Are emissions from the cement plants that provide the raw materials used to build our public infrastructure ‘externalities? Are the traffic fatalities that result from (stupid) people texting whilst driving ‘externalities’ of cell phone production?

        The very concept if ‘externalities’ is fatally flawed. Any and every human activity has consequences – some good and some not. To focus only on the bad is neither a balanced nor rational view of reality.

      11. The problem, Fifty, is when the “externalities” (texting while driving, emissions from whatever while operating) have cumulative effects and result in large problems (increased traffic fatalities “OWT” – happening; increasing health/environmental problems from emissions – happening) that is when action is justified. Hence, regulation. If we had a government that was functioning properly , IOW, our Congressional committees actually debated something substantive, the ensuing regulatory process would be vastly improved.

        Here’s how your buddy Sam Harris looks at this election.

      12. Fly, when I see people calling for a pro-business government, I wonder what business could possibly want that they haven’t got already. Specifics please, not just “the government is the problem not the solution.”

        And yes, those things you mention are externalities. Externalities are undesirable consequences following from necessary and good actions as well as ones we might not approve of.

      13. Mary, here’s a more specific comment about HRC. Basically, it’s the Bernie complaint:

        “So, Hillary Clinton’s speeches were wikileaked. Lots of platitudes, as far as I can tell. She did talk about the need to bolster the middle class and reduce inequality. Good for her. And she was speaking to an audience that needs to hear this. These are the kinds of people she will be turning to for advice, and the kinds of people she will be appointing to positions of responsibility. These are also the kinds of people who created the inequality we see, and who have benefited beyond wild dreams from the policies in place. What are the odds they will change things? Not zero, but perhaps in lightning-strike territory.”

      14. “And yes, those things you mention are externalities. Externalities are undesirable consequences following from necessary and good actions as well as ones we might not approve of.” – Creigh

        Ah – I see. So is there a credit for the good ones? That’s the problem. From farms to windmills, there are ‘externalities’. Attempting to ascertain a ratio of good to bad ‘externalities is a completely futile and useless exercise. This in turn, renders the concept useless.

      15. NO! Externalities will always have good and bad consequences. Does that justify doing nothing? I agree that each exercise should be measured on its own merits – discarded if poor, kept if good, improved if needed. Isn’t this part of the value of measuring outcomes? What am I missing, Fifty?

      16. Mime – “Externalities” have been construed in the public mind to mean socialized costs, particularly environmental ones. The concept has been advocated as a justification to further tax the evil coal and oil companies for all the damage they do. This has two problems – first, without consideration for the benefits associated with fossil fuel production, the idea is prima facie foolish. Second, the advocates of the approach seem to think that charging the producers will hurt them. Of course, their additional costs are simply passed along to the consumer, and ‘socializef’ anyway.

        This is completely different from rational environmental regulations, workplace safety, and other regulatory issues. “Externalities” are, by essential concept, future socialized costs not directly associated with production sans consideration of socialized benefit. Vive la difference.

      17. I would – were one to be spoiled, and in consideration of our new-found energy independence from that dumpster fire called the Middle East.

        And you’re most welcome re: Sam Harris. The Left hates him, and the Right hates him. My kind of guy.

      18. I’d avoid labels, were I you.

        If, for example you’ve called yourself a Catholic all your life, you’re unlikely to wake up one day and admit, “Gee! I’ve wasted every goddam Sunday morning of my entire freaking life!” Don’t tow the line of any group out of loyalty, or embarrassment for being on the wrong side for a time. God knows, Chris hasn’t!

  3. So, if it turns out that a sex scandal is the thing that keeps this ignorant fool out of the Presidency, I’ll look at it as the right thing for the wrong reasons. Don’t get me wrong, I find these creep’s mentality regarding women absolutely appalling, but it is the measure of how truly rotten he is as a human being that there are of even worse things that make him unfit for the office he seeks. There’s his careless and casual and blustering talk of war- he asks why can’t we use nukes and thinks rude gestures justify sinking ships. That’s probably his biggest disqualifier, although his deliberate attempts to undermine our electoral system (if I lose, it’s RIGGED) provides some very stiff competition. The trap Hillary set for him at the end of the 1st debate (Ms Machado) was glaringly obvious, but he charged right into it. We’ve chewed on other DQ-ers like his threats against the 1st and 4th Amendments, his flip flops on policy, all those other things that would have sunk and other campaign, and SHOULD have demolished his. I’ll drink deep of the schadenfreude if he gets the humiliation he so richly deserves, but I’ll still be embarrassed that it’s the sex scandal rather than the worse stuff that does it.

  4. Another great post, Mr. Ladd. You certainly raise an interesting point; that any (R) pres. candidate was facing a severe uphill struggle this year, not due to the underlying economic factors (which I understand to be mildly anti-incumbent), nor the well-oiled Clinton political machine as such, but the pure reality-denying ineptness of any or all of the 15 or 17 or however many there were, and their staff, and (most importantly) their supporters. One wonders what it will take to get such a large slice of the country, or at least a significant proportion of them, back into the reality-based community.

    1. The “Buzzsaw” I wouldn’t want to run into is Michelle Obama. She gave a speech today in NH that will be a colloquium on how to write/deliver a political speech that isolates and defines a problem and hammers home who caused it. She destroyed Trump without ever mentioning his name or demonizing his supporters. It was artistic in its devastation.

      I am a huge fan of our First Lady….wish she would run for something just to see the faces of anchors over at Fox News…does that make me as petty and small as it sounds?

      1. Michelle Obama is special. To think that this woman has quietly endured the insults to her husband and family without calling them out – is even greater testimony to her personal strength. I look forward to reading a book about/by Michelle Obama, but I’ll bet she’s seen enough of the underside of politics in 8 years to preclude any thoughts of running for office.

        Here’s another POV about her presentation. People like us were inspired, Trump’s supporters? “While it’s clear that one message makes for better viral clips and pull-quoting, Trump’s camp isn’t going for Michelle Obama-esque finesse. Trump is running a kamikaze campaign now, doing what he can to damage his opponent, even if it means his own destruction.

        Will it matter if the Clinton campaign takes the high road if Trump’s trying to blow all the roads up?”

        This vile man has surrounded himself with people as bad or worse as himself. Why should we expect him to bat an eye at such a dignified rebuke, or to influence his base?

      2. Rachel Maddow ran Michelle Obama’s entire speech (sans a plug for Clinton). I thought I had seen the entire speech, but hadn’t. It was heartfelt and powerful, I agree. Eloquence spoken with honest and passion is unbeatable.

  5. One of the things that most impress me about Obama was he beat the Clinton political machine. Smart guy he is he shortly after brought her onboard to campaign for him and then his cabinet. Now his political machine is combine with hers and he is freely using his large researve of political capital on her behalf. No matter who the Republican party nominated it would have been a tough slog.

  6. Prediction: one of the last bombshells, sometime in the next two weeks, will be the emergence of a woman whose affair with Trump led to an abortion at his insistence.

    Sometime last winter, as Trump was steamrolling the GOP field, it was reported that none of the other candidates had any opposition research (dirt digging) on Trump, but that the DNC had been working on a dossier for two years. That seems easy to believe.

    What I can’t figure out is why the media has been so passive about this. I was not a fan of Howard Stern, but I knew two things: his show was crudely sexual in a juvenile way and Trump was a frequent guest. How did nobody in the media put these two things together and guess that there would be some good highlights in there?

      1. I’ll still answer to JG if you can’t bear to make the switch.

        I would really have expected someone to dig up the dirt far earlier. Waiting for the right time and hoping everyone else has missed this is a prisoner’s dilemma that is hard to win.

      2. Oh, well, thank you. It’s been a year or so, but I guess that still counts as new in the scheme of things. I’m happy to be able to focus on the careers of my students and colleagues rather than the necessary evil of my own promotions.

    1. “Prediction: one of the last bombshells, sometime in the next two weeks, will be the emergence of a woman whose affair with Trump led to an abortion at his insistence.”

      That wouldn’t shock me in the least, but how many evangelicals will make excuses- that happened back when he was a Democrat! He’s changed!! Maybe it loses him Utah. I’ve got to respect the Mormons for seeing him for exactly what he is, an unapologetically profane, unrepentant sinner.

      1. I’m not into the whole “sin” thing, but I clearly can see the ugly center of DJT. It wasn’t even hard – from the very beginning. As for the quandary that evangelicals (or any person, FTM) have in putting aside personal, moral beliefs obviously appallingly absent in Trump, just because of fear of a partisan Supreme Court? As important as SCOTUS is in terms of serving as a final court of arbitration on conflicting issues, if the rest of government is in the dumpster, isn’t that worse? Do Americans want SCOTUS to run government, or do they want government to function at all levels with SCOTUS serving a limited role?

        Meanwhile, Representative Mike Lee, leader of the far right Freedom Caucus in the House, stated unequivocally in a debate that Justice Merrick Garland will never be approved essentially because if he passes the OBama nomination litmus test, he “can’t” possibly be acceptable to conservatives!

        This election is really about how Americans want our country to function. At some point, individuals have to reconcile irrational fear and offer support for a government that works through consensus – not dominated by party ideology but with more balance – a “win some, lose some” situation. The past decade, there really hasn’t been a fair opportunity for most people to see if government “can” function because it hasn’t been allowed to.

    2. >] “Prediction: one of the last bombshells, sometime in the next two weeks, will be the emergence of a woman whose affair with Trump led to an abortion at his insistence.”

      I don’t mean to sound cold about it; still an awful thing to do, but seems kind of anti-climactic for a Trump bombshell.

      I lean more towards Trump Model Management. Not to get on board the hype train, but the whole thing honestly reeks of abuse and scandal. We know for a fact that many young girls were brought in from all over the world, made to sign non-disclosure agreements, promised a certain level of pay with many contending and even filing lawsuits that they were not (gee, what a shock), etc, etc, etc.

      Considering what Trump’s already done to women of this country, my mind reels at what he may have done to young immigrants who likely felt that they had no real rights.

  7. “A Republican candidate who acknowledges that climate change is real, illegal immigration is declining, Benghazi was a tragic mistake rather than a deliberate conspiracy, Obama is not a Muslim, and black people have some legitimate concerns about police abuse, would be booed off the debate stage and hounded into oblivion.”

    How ironic that Trump rails against political correctness, when the GOP itself demands such doctrinal correctness. There is really no difference.

  8. V L

    It’s also about a party that long ago stopped caring about women. This is the stupid party of “legitimate rape”, cutting funds for women’s health that result in the increase of infant mortality rates, that opposes equal pay for equal work and that for decades that has disrespected women.

    Trump is the GOP. He’s not an anomaly.

    I know as a Democrat what I say will not be taken as seriously amongst conservatives but I really feel the GOP needs to die for the health of the country.

    I don’t believe that everyone on the right is evil, agrees with Trump or has participated in the hatred so many have directed toward women. Those good conservatives deserve to be represented in a party away from these jerks.

    1. VL, you have more company here than you might think. Good and relevant comments. It’s unfortunate that women are not more respected. One sees this in lack of appointments to positions of power (2 women chair committees in Congress) and in their legislative agenda, as you noted. I realize not all men feel this way, but it certainly appears that men in powerful positions dominate, whether it is in corporate boardrooms or in the halls of Congress. Those women who do make it up the ladder of success have a real tough climb. They generally do a very good job when given the opportunity and I salute those who serve.

    2. Speaking of Infant Mortality, what is going on in Texas? We get the CDC reports at work and I took notice that Texas which had long been a member of the “over 25 club” (state rankings for infant mortality) the higher the number the better…they are now a 21 and sinking.

      Interns and Residents who rotate back to Columbia return with stories that make it sound like once you leave Dallas, Austin and Houston its Bangladesh for medical services. Not that medicine isn’t good but so few have access.

      The CDC reports are in their own language but this Houston Chronicle piece shares some data…

      1. Koctya – Things are fine with health care as long as your employer offers health insurance, you are not poor, female, elderly, disabled, a child who has special needs – then, you have a problem. TX has refused to expand Medicaid and doubles down on poverty with its absurdly low poverty level for eligibility.

        “Adults with dependent children are only eligible if their household income doesn’t exceed 18 percent of poverty level.  This amounts to about $3,600 a year for a family of three, and is tied with Alabama as the lowest threshold in the country.”


        Whether its denials for services special education children (!!!!) in schools or families/individuals generally, Texas Legislators have made a conscious decision to deny 2.5 million people from health care access. It’s criminal.

        There are no words to explain the utter disdain I feel on this issue.

  9. Ryan, Which polls are you following for your senate predictions? Real Clear Politics, Huffington Post, and even 538 (today) show down ballot pick ups aren’t trending with Clinton’s rise. We all recognize that if Trump totally implodes (he’s verging…) this gives more impetus to down ballot seats, but the old “rising tide (Clinton surge) is not lifting all boats”.

    1. Let’s talk Wisconsin polling, mime (or Mary, if you prefer that name instead). Over the course of a week, we have four WI polls that show Feingold +12, another with Johnson +5 and then two more with Feingold +2 and +3, respectively.

      Frankly, the only consistency that both HuffPollster and RCP have in common is that they both still have Feingold ahead, albeit by slightly different margins.

      You find the same pattern happening with polls in PA. Look back over the course of two-ish weeks and you find polls showing McGinty and Toomey swapping the lead back and forth so much, it’s like they’re playing a game of ping pong.

      With all due respect, political pundits and the media cannot have it both ways on this. You cannot tell me that we have a more polarized electorate than we’ve ever had, with presidential votes overwhelming aligning with their down-ballot votes and yet, in the same breath, have Clinton blowing Trump out in states like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and having those Senate races being neck-and-neck.

      That being said, I’m certainly not saying that Republican candidates can’t be outrunning Trump to some extent, but that only goes so far. Let’s be perfectly clear, Toomey cannot have Clinton blow Trump out in Pennsylvania by double-digits and survive. Not gonna happen. Same in WI.

      The problem with this election is the same as it’s been for a long time now. Polls are fundamentally predicated on past elections and what we’ve come to reasonably expect from the electorate. Trump has thrown that all out the window and with so many different variables being thrown into the mix all at once, there’s no time to adapt to it all, hence why pollsters are still hedging conservatively in an increasingly unpredictable environment and why we still can’t see the full picture of what’s happening on the ground.

      1. mime, I appreciate your healthy skepticism and even identify with it, but with all respect, you’ve gotta give me more than that. You can’t just say you don’t agree with it and just leave it at that. That’s not an argument.

        Let’s just take Pennsylvania, okay? Clinton’s carrying it and she’s almost assuredly doing it by double-digits. Her lead in Philly and its suburbs is way too massive. President Obama won there by 10 points in ’12 and carried the state by slightly over five points. A recent Bloomberg poll had Clinton’s strength there at nearly triple that.

        Now, Pat Toomey originally won his seat in PA in ’10 by just two points, in a wave year where Republicans cleaned up virtually everywhere. Toomey’s not an exceptional candidate and we’ve no reason to believe that he’s going to run ahead of Trump by more than a few points.

        Now if Clinton and Trump were close to tied in PA, I’d agree with you that we couldn’t say one way or the other what’s going to happen. That is most certainly not the case and the top of the ticket always impacts the down ballot. As Chris has said, Toomey hasn’t sufficiently distanced himself from Trump to save himself.

        Clinton’s going to carry PA by double-digits (thanks to her overwhelming strength in Philly and its suburbs) and take Toomey down in the process. To argue otherwise is to say that Toomey’s outrunning Trump by more than ten points, a guy who only won his race in ’10 by 2 points. Nonsense.

      2. Just nervous, Ryan. Without the Senate, Clinton will be in a worse position than Obama…..I suspect if we let Michelle O. hang out a few more days in NH, we’ll have a write-in candidate for Senator! Best to move her around….I didn’t see a teleprompter for her NH presentation, was this speech extemporaneous? She not only lights a fire, she moves people.

  10. Trump not conceding the election would be consistent with his behavior ….more worried about the Republican Party continuing their silence when their base refuses to recognize the legitimacy of their elected leaders and government. Clinton, Obama…now Clinton again…all cheated or lied or stole or weren’t born here…can’t cure stupid.

    Sadder than this story is Chris’s dead on analysis of post election Republican strategy. I shared a link to the Atlantic article concerning Avik Roy. He seems to be on the same page as Chris….

  11. Oooooh boy. Trump just gave a speech that leaves no doubt about his direction. He’s going full on Breitbart, railing against the “global elites” (a euphemism of course, for the “New World Order” and “Illuminati”) screeching that the Clinton “machine” is a global criminal empire. Called his accusers “horrible People” and categorically denied them all.

    The guy is losing it. Apocalyptic even. And he’s very dangerous right now.

  12. I love your tone here, Chris. It perfectly blends the comedy and seriousness of the situation. I laughed until I cried. I used to read you for the information (and I still do) but lately I have also been getting quite a bit of entertainment. “Blundered into the buzzsaw”… indeed.

  13. While none of this is surprising to anyone, keep in mind that the real hammer’s still yet to drop. If Republican insiders (an arguable term at this time, admittedly) are to be believed, there are at least two stories on par with or worse than The Tape coming our way.

    That aside, and predictably as we’re talk of it from the usual sources, once again there is precisely zero chance that Trump will back out of the third presidential debate. Whatever noise you hear from Trump, whining about the debate commission or whatever, is just that, noise. Hillary would hang that kind of cowardice around his neck like an albatross and never let him live it down until Election Day.

    For a guy who’s about to face down one of the most humiliating defeats in all of American political history, that’s an embarrassment his already shattered ego will never let him afford.

    1. “While none of this is surprising to anyone, keep in mind that the real hammer’s still yet to drop. If Republican insiders (an arguable term at this time, admittedly) are to be believed, there are at least two stories on par with or worse than The Tape coming our way.”

      This seems likely. Campaigns don’t typically drop their biggest bombshells a month out unless they’re losing, and Clinton held a pretty comfortable position before The Tape (I love the capitalization, btw) came out.

      I think that Clinton probably realizes that she is likely to face stiff Republican opposition to her agenda after she wins, and is trying to run the table as much as possible, here. With a possible Democratic House, and 57 or 58 Senate seats, she has a shot at peeling off a couple of Republicans to pass cloture motions, and actually get something done. Certainly more likely than with 51 Senate seats and a Republican House.

      1. In addition to the four that are already gone (WI, IL, NH & PA), FL, MO, NC and IN could bring that total to eight seats if all of them flip, which nearly entirely reverse Republicans’ gains from ’14. Have to wait and see if a surprise victory happens elsewhere.

        As far as the House goes, Ezra Klein raised an interesting question. What if Republicans only narrowly hold onto their majority by fewer than five seats? Could Paul Ryan even be reelected as Speaker in such a scenario?

        Frankly, I don’t know. Undoubtedly, the Freedom Caucus would have exponentially more power in such a scenario and they’re out for blood against Ryan after he let T. Heulskamp go down in Kansas, or so they claim. How do you get a Speaker that isn’t held hostage by those whack jobs even more than before or an outright nut?

        Such a scenario could actually provoke Chris’ argument of a parliamentary-esque Congress. If moderate Republicans teamed up with an emboldened Democratic minority to elect a consensus Speaker, that could be very interesting.

  14. Viking

    So true, Chris. Every Republican should read this post.

    After the election, however, the base of voters who supported Trump unconditionally will not go away. They have been trained to ignore reality by a certain news network and various internet sites, or have willfully chosen to be ignorant. As I’ve been speculating for a while, there’s open talk about Trump refusing to concede, claiming a rigged election. According to an article in today’s NYT, this hasn’t happened since 1860, right before the Civil War. It’s clear Hillary won’t benefit from a “honeymoon” period after she takes office.

    1. From David Brin,

      “This is so important that I will say it in several postings:

      Hillary Clinton needs to declare this as a crisis! She should demand that Donald Trump put up or shut up, on electoral fraud.

      Insist that he appoint 6 friends who are “sages beyond reproach” to join six she would appoint, plus six chose by retired US Supreme Court Justice and GOP appointee Sandra Day O’Connor. And have that commission investigate electoral rigging charges right now! No delays. No excuses. And they should look at everything from voting machines to voter suppression to gerrymandering. And no time for sage perfection. Report back in two weeks!”

      He rightly believes if the idea of a stolen election is not answered quickly and definitively, we will have big troubles.

      Plus it will put a spotlight on real voter suppression.

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