U.S. ELECTION WRAP: GOP Trump Quandary Intensifies as Map Shifts

Typically solid “red” states—even South Carolina—are possibly going “blue.”

Trump: 2nd Amendment People 'Maybe' Could Stop Clinton

The extent to which Donald Trump’s candidacy is throwing political norms out of whack can be summed up in one word: Mississippi.

  • The Magnolia State probably won’t back Hillary Clinton this year, but the idea it could go Democratic for the first time since 1976 isn’t entirely outlandish as nearby Georgia—and, to a lesser extent, South Carolina—show signs of turning blue
    • “If you are going to talk about Georgia and South Carolina then you should keep an eye on Mississippi too,” Chris Grant, a political science professor at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, said in a phone interview. “All three states have similar dynamics”
  • Clinton would have a ~72% chance of winning Georgia vs Trump’s 28% shot if the presidential election were held today, according to FiveThirtyEight’s constantly changing prediction model; in South Carolina, the former first lady would be competitive, with a 45% likelihood of victory vs 54% for Trump
  • In Mississippi, Clinton has a 26% chance of winning that state’s six electoral votes, with Trump at 74%
  • While Georgia, South Carolina and Mississippi all have relatively large black populations, with Mississippi at about 37%, Georgia is the most likely of the three to go Democrat as its African American residents tend to be more affluent and educated, making them more likely to turn out and vote, according to Grant
    • An NBC/Wall Street Journal national poll released last week showed 1% of registered black voters backing Trump vs 91% for Clinton; the Democratic nominee enjoys 69% support among all non-white voters compared to 34% for Trump
  • Georgia, which last voted Democrat in a presidential election in 1992, has gone from one in four voters being non-white to probably about one in three this year, according to Grant; it also has a sizable progressive movement, fueled in part by a politically active gay community in Atlanta, he said
  • “With a little bit of effort and a pretty distasteful Republican candidate for independents, Georgia is in play,” said Grant, putting Trump’s chances of losing the state at about 50%
  • Another state with 50/50 odds of “flipping” is Arizona, he said
    • Clinton would have a 57% likelihood of winning Arizona, vs 42.8% for Trump, if today were November 8: FiveThirtyEight
    • The Clinton campaign is committing more resources to Georgia and Arizona, AP reported, citing unidentified people aware of the plans
    • Aides for Clinton yesterday spoke with Democratic Party officials about a six-figure investment across the two states: AP
  • The “weirdest” state that may be up for grabs is Utah, Grant says
    • A broad dislike for Trump among Mormons has taken Utah out of the GOP “safe zone,” the New York Times reported; Utah hasn’t backed a Democrat for president since Lyndon Johnson in 1964

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TRUMP MAELSTROM

  • Trump comments this afternoon at a rally in North Carolina prompted an outcry from the Clinton camp
    • Trump told the crowd that Clinton would seek to abolish the constitutional right to bear arms and that if she’s able to pick judges, there’s “nothing you can do folks, although the 2nd amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know”
    • Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook responded rapidly, issuing a statement that said “what Trump is saying is dangerous. A person seeking to be the president of the United States should not suggest violence in any way”
    • Representative Eric Swalwell, a Democrat from California, called on the Secret Service to investigate Trump over the remark
    • “Donald Trump suggested someone kill Sec. Clinton. We must take people at their word. @SecretService must investigate #TrumpThreat,” Swalwell said in a Twitter post
    • The  U.S. Secret Service is aware of Trump's comment,  spokeswoman Cathy Milhoan said in a statement
    • Secret Service wouldn't say whether it would investigate the remarks as a possible threat
    • Trump’s campaign issued a statement criticizing the “dishonest media” for taking the comment out of context
    • “It’s called the power of unification—2nd Amendment people have amazing spirit and are tremendously unified, which gives them great political power,” Trump spokesman Jason Miller said. “And this year, they will be voting in record numbers, and it won’t be for Hillary Clinton, it will be for Donald Trump.”

 

GOP’S DOWN-BALLOT PREDICAMENT

  • The rapidly changing political map puts a spotlight on the Republican Party’s down-ballot dilemma
  • House Speaker Paul Ryan’s GOP primary race in Wisconsin against Tea Party-backed businessman Paul Nehlen has turned into a “proxy for the frothing national divide between traditional conservatives and Donald Trump-revering populists,” Washington Post’s Robert Costa wrote
    • That’s in large part because Trump sparked an intra-party furor last week when he initially refused to endorse Ryan and praised Nehlen on Twitter, later changing course and backing the top House leader
    • While Ryan is expected to easily beat back Nehlen’s challenge today, other GOP candidates around the country are more worried
  • In Georgia, for example, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll last week showed GOP Senator Johnny Isakson with a 6-point lead over Democratic challenger Jim Barksdale
    • “These numbers ought to be chilling for Republicans down ballot,” Grant said
  • Meanwhile, GOP Senator Susan Collins of Maine last night became the latest Republican to openly denounce Trump
    • “Donald Trump does not reflect historical Republican values nor the inclusive approach to governing that is critical to healing the divisions in our country,” Collins, who is not up for reelection, wrote in a Washington Post op-ed; she told CNN today she hasn’t decided who will get her vote
    • Collins’ move raises the question of whether more Republicans will follow her lead, including vulnerable incumbents such as New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte
  • The spate of criticism over Trump’s personality doesn’t seem to be bothering the GOP real-estate mogul, at least based on his interview today with Fox Business Network
    • “I think that you know my temperament has gotten me here,” Trump said. “I’ve always had a good temperament”

 

POLLS/PREDICTIONS

  • Investor Carl Icahn said he is “very hopeful” Trump will win in November, praising the nominee’s economic policy speech from yesterday
    • “If he sticks with that economic theme, he should definitely win hands down because I don’t know why you wouldn’t vote for him,” billionaire Icahn said in a live phone-in interview with CNBC; see full story here
  • Clinton tops Trump 52%-42% in Pennsylvania among likely voters, according to Quinnipiac University poll
    • In Ohio, Clinton leads 49-45%
    • In Florida, she draws 46% support to 45% for Trump
  • Clinton is ahead of Trump by 11 ppts in Pennsylvania, 5 ppts in Ohio, 4 ppts in Iowa, according to new NBC/WSJ/Marist polls
  • Clinton has an 86% chance of winning the presidency, to Trump’s 14% chance, according to the New York Times Upshot forecast
  • Nationally, Clinton leads Trump in every major poll; the latest, a NBC News/SurveyMonkey Weekly Election Tracking poll showed her up by 10 ppts, leading Trump 51% to 41%
    • In a four-way race, Clinton also has edge on Trump, 44% to 38%
  • Trump is ahead of Clinton by only 2 ppts in Missouri, according to Remington Research Group poll
  • In North Carolina, Clinton leads Trump by 2 ppts, a Public Policy Polling survey found
  • Bloomberg View’s Noah Smith said pollsters may want to heed an economics lesson from the 1980s on the “excess volatility puzzle”
    • Read his column on the perils of polling here

ENDORSEMENTS/DEFECTIONS

  • Trump’s running mate Mike Pence should get the GOP nominee to withdraw, Matt Latimer, who served as a speechwriter for former President George W. Bush, wrote in New York Times op-ed
  • Former EPA chiefs under Republican presidents—William Ruckelshaus and William Reilly—have jointly endorsed Clinton
    • Trump has displayed “profound ignorance of science and of the public health issues embodied in our environmental laws”
  • GOP donor Harry Sloan, former CEO of MGM, also endorsed Clinton
    • Sloan served on national finance committee for the campaigns of John McCain, Mitt Romney and John Kasich
    • “As a businessman, a father and a conservative it is clear to me that Hillary Clinton is the right choice in this election,” he said

 

FUNDRAISING

  • Donors who gave money to former Republican candidates such as Jeb Bush and John Kasich during the primaries are more likely to give funds to Clinton than Trump, the New York Times reported
  • Clinton is planning a fundraising blitz in the Hamptons at the end of the month, Politico reported

 

ETC

  • Trump said he will “absolutely” do three debates against Clinton, though he may seek changes in how they are set up
    • “I renegotiated the debates in the primaries, remember?” Trump told Time magazine; “I’m sure they’ll be open to any suggestions I have, because I think they’ll be very fair suggestions”
  • Clinton today in Miami, which is dealing with the first U.S. outbreak of Zika, called on Congress to return from recess to Washington and pass emergency funding to fight the disease
  • Trump’s plan outlined yesterday in Detroit garnered praise from small-business and manufacturers’ groups, Bloomberg’s Thomas Black reported
  • Trump will meet privately with 700 evangelical leaders in Florida this week, Bloomberg’s Jennifer Jacobs reported
  • Trump today on Fox Business Network revisited a budget-trimming measure called the “penny plan” in response to fresh questions about how he’d finance his agenda; see full story by Bloomberg’s Ben Brody here

 

CONGRESSIONAL RACES

Primaries to watch tonight:

  • MN-02: Winner of four-candidate Republican primary will face Democrat Angie Craig, a former executive at St. Jude Medical; GOP Rep. John Kline is retiring from competitive district that includes suburbs south of the Twin Cities
  • WI-SEN: Democratic ex-Sen. Russ Feingold favored to defeat little-known challenger Scott Harbach and face Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, who’s unopposed in primary
    • Johnson unseated Feingold 52%-47% in 2010 election; their rematch among races that nonpartisan political analysts say will determine Senate majority
  • WI-01: Ryan favored to defeat Nehlen in southeastern district that includes Kenosha, Racine, Janesville
  • WI-08: Republicans Mike Gallagher, Frank Lasee, Terry McNulty vying to oppose Democrat Tom Nelson in northeastern district of retiring Republican Reid Ribble

SENATE

  • IN-SEN: Democrat Evan Bayh released TV ad highlighting his political independence, saying “I don’t answer to party leaders or any president; I answer to the people of Indiana”
    • Bayh said he “broke with my own party to vote against raising your electric bills"; ad cites his April 2009 vote for Republican amendment opposing climate-change legislation that would have imposed a cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
    • Bayh, a former senator and governor, is opposed by Republican Rep. Todd Young for seat of retiring Republican Dan Coats
  • MO-SEN: Republican Sen. Roy Blunt had 47% to Democrat Jason Kander’s 40% in Remington Research Group poll conducted Aug. 5-6 of 1,280 likely voters, The Hill reported
  • OH-SEN: National Republican Senatorial Committee released TV ad accusing Democrat Ted Strickland of ‘‘wasting’’ $1 billion rainy-day fund he inherited as governor
    • NRSC supports re-election of Republican Sen. Rob Portman, who’s seeking a second term
  • PA-SEN: NRSC released TV ad saying Democrat Katie McGinty is ‘‘a risk we can’t afford” because she supports Iran nuclear deal that Republican group said “puts our security in jeopardy” and was opposed by incoming Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer
    • McGinty, who’s opposing Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, released TV ad saying she’ll work in Senate to make college more affordable, protect Social Security and “stop bad trade deals that cost us jobs”

HOUSE

  • FL-10: Democrat Bob Poe in TV ad said he’s funding his own campaign because “special interest money controls Congress”
    • Poe, a former state party chairman, said that “Wall Street” needs to pay more in taxes and “police brutality has to stop”
    • Poe’s opponents in Aug. 30 primary include former Orlando Police Chief Val Demings and state Sen. Geraldine Thompson; after court-ordered redistricting, no incumbent is running in strongly Democratic Orlando-area district
  • FL-23: Patriot Majority PAC, a super-PAC funded in part by labor unions, has spent more than $255k to aid Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz in primary against law professor Tim Canova, according to FEC filing today
    • Bernie Sanders asked supporters in fundraising e-mail to donate to Canova’s campaign, The Hill reported
    • Wasserman Schultz, who resigned as DNC chairwoman last month, seeking seventh term in Democratic-friendly southeastern district that includes parts of Broward and Miami-Dade Counties
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