U.S. ELECTION WRAP: Clinton's Big Test Follows ‘Reaganesque’ Night

Hillary Clinton will make history tonight when she accepts the Democratic nomination. Can she now win over the skeptics?

Supercut: DNC Day 3 in 3 Minutes

Democrats, for all the struggle early this week to rally behind presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, will depart their convention more united than the Donald Trump-led Republicans, according to Ronald Reagan biographer Craig Shirley.

  • Trump left his convention in Cleveland last week still fighting former primary foes--most notably Senator Ted Cruz and Ohio Governor John Kasich; “nothing close to that is happening in the Democratic Party,” Shirley said in an interview
  • President Obama did his part to bring Democrats together in a speech that had “echoes of Reagan’s optimism,” Shirley said
    • “Reagan was constantly talking about the founders and framers and the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, just as Obama did last evening”
  • Shirley also saw a noteworthy thematic contrast between Obama’s address and Donald Trump’s nomination acceptance speech at the GOP convention
    • “It is a curious election,” Shirley said. “Trump was using the rhetoric of the state and Obama was using the rhetoric of the individual’
  • These are among the passages illustrating his point:
    • “America has never been about what one person says he’ll do for us,” Obama said. “It’s always been about what can be achieved by us, together, through the hard, slow, sometimes frustrating, but ultimately enduring work of self-government.”
    • Trump spoke of people who work hard but no longer “have a voice” and asserted, “I am your voice”
  • Bloomberg’s Margaret Talev and Angela Greiling Keane look at Obama’s speech and his upcoming work to elect Clinton and cement his own legacy; see story here

HILLARY’S SPEECH

  • Clinton takes center stage tonight as her campaign remains vexed by young women’s ho-hum attitude toward her historic achievement, Bloomberg’s Arit John reported
    • While older women interviewed at the convention view Clinton’s nomination as a validation of decades of hard work in the face of sexism, a palpable lack of excitement persists among younger women, compared with the enthusiasm Bernie Sanders sparked among this cohort this year or Obama eight years ago
  • Among Clinton’s challenges tonight is the daunting task of having to follow a slew of speeches this week that have garnered A+ reviews, The Hill reported
  • Clinton plans to lay out her vision for creating jobs and boosting wages, according to her campaign manager, Robby Mook
    • “She’s going to do what Donald Trump did not do, which is tell people specific ideas about how she’s going to bring economic change”: Mook
  • Clinton’s best strategy, though, may be to show “a little humor,” Bloomberg View’s Albert R. Hunt wrote
    • “Friends say she has a good sense of humor that she rarely shows in public”
    • “Now comes the most important speech of her life, not an occasion that lends itself to a spray of laugh lines. But there is room for wit, especially at her own expense, a rhetorical hallmark of popular modern presidents like John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama”: Hunt
    • Some lightheartedness could give her a competitive edge, as Trump’s humor is limited to that of the “towel-snapping-insult variety”
    • “He’s not capable of self-deprecation as he sees nothing to deprecate”: Hunt
  • A panel of female journalists and politicians in Philadelphia today said Clinton’s nomination is a sign of progress, but not the end of the journey to achieve gender equality, Bloomberg’s Nicholas Johnston reported

 

DAY 3 RECAP

  • After Trump last week used anti-trade-deal and pro-worker language as a lure for Sanders’ supporters, Democrats last night made their bid for independents and Republicans
  • Ex-Republican and former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, now a political independent, noted he has differences with some policies pushed by both of the major parties
    • Still, he said, he is setting aside any disagreements with Clinton to back her for the “good of our country”
    • Voters must unite around the Democratic nominee in order to “defeat a dangerous demagogue,” Bloomberg said; see video of speech here
    • Bloomberg is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg, LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News
  • Democratic vice-presidential nominee Tim Kaine used part of his speech to draw attention to GOP criticism of Trump, including from Kasich and former first lady Barbara Bush
    • “If any of you are looking for that party of Lincoln, we’ve got a home for you right here in the Democratic Party,” he said

CYBER THREATS AND THE VOTING BOOTH

  • Speculation that Russia is behind the attack on the Democratic National Committee’s computer network has put a spotlight on the vulnerability of the U.S. electoral process in the digital age
    • “The concern is that the system of voting--tabulating votes--could actually be vulnerable to cyber-threats,” former National Counterterrorism Center director Matt Olsen said in a phone interview. “We need to take that really seriously.”
    • If a country like Russia were trying to influence an American election it would raise the question, “What else could they do?”
    • If investigators find that the Russian government is linked to the hacking, responses the U.S. could take range from the diplomatic to the “more aggressive,” said Olsen, co-founder of IronNet Cybersecurity, which seeks to help companies fight computer attacks
  • Olsen said he’s most worried about the threat to U.S. electrical grid and financial system
  • Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters the allegations of Russian involvement in U.S. hacking attacks border on stupidity and are a “colorful example of Russophobia” in U.S. election campaigns, Bloomberg’s Ilya Arkhipov reported
  • Trump told Fox News he was being “sarcastic” when he urged Russia to find Clinton’s missing e-mails from her time as secretary of state
    • Trump also said Russian President Vladimir Putin is a better leader than Obama
  • Democrats see an opening following Trump’s remarks in their fight for a Senate majority, Bloomberg reported
    • The party’s Senate candidates in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Wisconsin, Ohio and New Hampshire, seeking to tie their GOP opponents closely to Trump, all called on them to denounce the Republican nominee’s comments

PENNSYLVANIA/COLORADO

  • Trump could upend the pattern of the last six presidential elections and win Pennsylvania, thanks to a “simple” message that appeals to angry and unemployed voters, former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell told a Bloomberg breakfast in Philadelphia
  • The last Republican to win the Keystone State was George H.W. Bush in 1988
  • In an interview with Fox News Radio’s Kilmeade & Friends, Trump predicted a victory in Pennsylvania
    • “I think we’re going to win it,” he said
    • “We’re going to put the miners back to work, we’re going to put the steel workers back to work, we’re going to bring jobs back to Pennsylvania”
  • Trump, who held a packed rally yesterday in Scranton, Pennsylvania, also said he would stop illegal immigrants and Syrian refugees who are being “forced” into the state
  • Clinton leads Trump 50%-41% among likely voters there in a head-to-head matchup, according to a Suffolk University poll
  • Democratic Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, who also spoke today at a Bloomberg breakfast in Philadelphia, said he’s “very confident” Clinton will win his politically divided state if current conditions hold
    • He said Trump has alienated Colorado Republicans who vote on “family values”
  • See full story by Bloomberg’s Elizabeth Titus here

POLLS/PREDICTIONS

  • Clinton so far hasn’t gotten a convention “bump” in the prediction markets, though a bounce may come after her DNC speech tonight, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Julie Chariell wrote in a note
    • PredictIt traders haven’t budged much on the respective chances of Clinton or Trump winning the White House
    • Clinton’s shares are mostly unchanged in the mid-60s percentile since the Democratic convention began July 25, while Trump’s have been at 37%-38% over the same period
    • Trump didn’t see a bounce immediately after last week’s GOP convention, though traders bid him up earlier this week after the Republican billionaire gained in some polls
  • Candidate poll bounces following their conventions have been trending smaller in the last few decades, averaging about 3.8 ppts in recent cycles, according to Gallup


ETC

  • Trump suggested he may soften his position on penalizing Ford Motor Co. for making cars in Mexico, the Detroit News reported
    • Under NAFTA, Ford doesn’t pay a tariff or import tax on vehicles made in Mexico and shipped to U.S.
    • Trump said a Ford tariff could range from 5%-35%
    • The GOP nominee last year pledged to impose a 35% import tariff on any cars built in Mexico that Ford tries to sell in the U.S., according to the newspaper
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she’s not having nightmares about a possible Trump presidency, Bloomberg’s Patrick Donahue reported
    • “I can answer that question with a clear, ‘No,’” Merkel told reporters during a news conference in Berlin, keeping a straight face as others in the room giggled at the inquiry
  • French President Francois Hollande dismissed Trump’s comment yesterday that “France is no longer France” after a cluster of attacks, France 24 TV reported
    • “France will always be France, because France will never yield and because France is always the bearer of ideals, values and principles,” Hollande said in a speech in the southwest town of Rivesaltes
    • “When you lower your standards, you are no longer what you are. That’s something that may happen to others, on the other side of the Atlantic,” Hollande said in an apparent reference to Trump, though he didn’t mention him by name
  • Trump walked back comments he made early in his campaign about Sen. John McCain, telling Fox News the GOP senator is, indeed, a war hero
    • Trump previously said McCain wasn’t a hero during the Vietnam War because he was captured and imprisoned 

CONGRESSIONAL RACES

  • HOUSE: Cook Political Report projects Democrats stand to gain 5-15 House seats
    • Seats currently held by Republicans that are rated “Likely Democratic” or “Lean Democratic”: FL-10 (open), VA-04 (open), FL-13 (Rep. David Jolly), IA-01 (Rep. Rod Blum) and NV-04 (Rep. Cresent Hardy)
    • Just one Democratic-held seat is rated “Likely Republican,” FL-02 (open)
    • 17 seats currently held by GOP rated “toss-up” compared with 3 held by Democrats
  • FL-SEN: Embattled Rep. Alan Grayson has new TV ad that says Rep. Patrick Murphy, his opponent in Aug. 30 Democratic Senate primary, “is looking to cut Social Security” and features retiree saying, “you touch my Social Security, and I’ll break your arm”
    • Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Chuck Schumer, number 3 Democrat in chamber, have called on Grayson to end his candidacy in wake of ex-wife’s allegations he abused her during their marriage
  • IN-SEN: GOP Rep. Todd Young has TV ad saying “Washington changed” former Sen. Evan Bayh, Democrat running for seat he retired from in 2010
  • PA-SEN: Suffolk University poll has Democrat Katie McGinty up over GOP Sen. Pat Toomey 43%-36%, with 20% undecided or not answering
  • KS-01: Club for Growth Action has new TV ad attacking Republican Roger Marshall as “a liberal backed by political insiders” while Rep. Tim Huelskamp is “the conservative insiders can’t control”
    • Conservative super-PAC ESAFund has new ad saying Huelskamp “lied to Kansas farmers”
    • Huelskamp antagonized agricultural interests with his vote against 2014 reauthorization of farm programs
  • NY-21: Democrat Mike Derrick has new TV ad in which he says “Trump and Bernie don’t agree on much, but they’re right that we need to stop unfair trade deals”
    • Derrick challenging GOP incumbent Elise Stefanik in race rated “Likely Republican” by Cook Political Report
  • TN-08: Republican David Kustoff’s campaign released TV ad saying election is about “politicians living by a different set of rules” vs “you and me”
    • Kustoff, former federal prosecutor, among 13 other Republicans in Aug. 4 primary seeking strongly GOP western district of retiring GOP Rep. Steve Fincher
  • WY-AL: Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, leads GOP field vying for open at-large seat in poll of registered Republicans, Casper Star Tribune reported
    • Cheney backed by almost 21%, closest challenger, state Rep. Tim Stubson, at 8.7%; over 52% of Republicans undecided
    • Primary is Aug. 16; GOP Rep. Cynthia Lummis retiring after four term
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