U.S. ELECTION WRAP: Trump Goes Deep South, Clinton ‘Alt-Right’

Trump stumps in Mississippi amid Southern challenges.

Wilkerson: The Slow Fade of the Angry White Male

Donald Trump plans to stump in the longtime Republican stronghold of Mississippi tonight as a new poll underscores the challenge he faces in parts of the South.

  • Trump lags Hillary Clinton in North Carolina by 2 points, 44%-42%, according to new Monmouth University poll; Mitt Romney beat President Obama in the state by about 2 points in 2012
    • Trump running mate Mike Pence held events in N.C. today as Trump focused on Florida and, surprisingly, Mississippi
  • The scheduled rally in Jackson, Miss., follows Trump’s speech yesterday in Austin, Texas, which prompted conservative news site Townhall to ask “why?”
    • “Short answer: He’s fundraising, but he’s also losing this race, and he knows it,” Townhall political editor Guy Benson wrote today
    • “With states like Missouri, Indiana, North Carolina, Georgia, and possibly others in play this cycle, Trump faces a serious challenge. But shouldn’t ruby red states like Texas and Mississippi, for crying out loud, be slam dunks for him?”
  • Benson noted that presidential candidates typically “parachute in very briefly” to non-competitive states where they hold fundraisers
    • Trump is either sticking to a “stupid” plan to hold rallies everywhere he goes, or his team thinks it’s worth it
    • If the former is true, donors and allies should demand to know why Trump isn’t spending more time in swing states like Pennsylvania; if his campaign has “any inkling that either Texas or Mississippi might be close, it’s already game over”: Benson
  • Last night, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow touted a new poll paid for by the South Carolina Democratic Party that showed Trump and Clinton tied at 39% in the Palmetto State; S.C. last voted for a Democrat for president in 1976
  • Ed McMullen, chairman of Trump’s campaign S.C., called the survey a “troll poll” representing wishful thinking, the Post and Courier of Charleston reported
    • “They know they don’t have a chance, and so does everyone else,” McMullen said
    • FiveThirtyEight’s constantly adjusting prediction model gives Clinton a 40.7% chance of winning S.C. compared to 59.3% for Trump, based solely on polls

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CLINTON AND ‘ALT-RIGHT’

  • Clinton plans to take aim at what her camp calls Trump’s “embrace of the disturbing ‘alt-right’ political philosophy, according to a campaign advisory
    • She’s set to speak about Trump and the so-called alt-right tomorrow in Reno, Nev.
    • The alt-right ‘‘brand is embracing extremism and presenting a divisive and dystopian view of America which should concern all Americans, regardless of party’’: Clinton campaign
    • The alt-right started with a speech by conservative writer Paul Gottfried in late 2008, after the Republican Party’s electoral wipeout, according to Washington Post
    • Gottfried called for an ‘‘alternative right’’ that could take on ‘‘the neo-conservative controlled conservative establishment”
  • Trump's new campaign CEO, Steve Bannon, was executive chairman of alt-right  website Breitbart News  before taking leave to join the GOP nominee's White House bid

POLLS/PREDICTIONS

  • The focus on Russia in the U.S. presidential race doesn’t appear to be reciprocal, at least based on a poll from the Moscow-based Levada Center, an independent Moscow-based NGO
    • 35% of respondents said Russia would benefit from a Trump presidency versus 10% who view Clinton as the better option
    • But the majority took a pass at the question, with 52% not answering
    • Russians surveyed were more opinionated about President Obama, with 83% expressing negative feelings about him
  • Trump narrowly leads Clinton, 43%-41%, in Fla., according to Aug. 19-22 poll by the Florida Atlantic University Business and Economics Polling Initiative that has an error margin of +/-2.7 ppts
  • People with student loans, who heavily favored Sen. Bernie Sanders in a presidential election poll taken in June, are migrating to the Clinton camp, according to a new survey; see full Bloomberg story here
  • Democrats have 60% chance of winning control of the Senate in Nov., according to New York Times’ “The Upshot” 
    • The estimate includes a 17% chance the Senate winds up evenly divided with a Democratic vice president providing the tiebreaking vote

TRUMP AND IMMIGRATION 

  • Trump this afternoon in Tampa, Fla., vowed to end government “corruption” if elected in Nov.
    • He reiterated his determination to build a “big wall” at the U.S. southern border, paid for by Mexico
    • The recital of one of his campaign’s cornerstones comes as Trump’s position on immigration is under scrutiny as it appears he is backing off off his earlier call for mass deportations of undocumented immigrants
    • At a town hall-style event last night hosted by Fox News, Trump was asked if there are parts of federal immigration law he’d change to accommodate law-abiding undocumented immigrants:
    • “There certainly can be a softening because we’re not looking to hurt people,” he said. He didn’t indicate openness to considering legal status for those people, however, and reiterated that he that he intends to follow the law, which requires removing them from the country
    • The second part of the Fox News discussion with Trump airs tonight
    • See related Bloomberg story

SILICON VALLEY FUNDRAISING

  • Clinton is in California again today and will attend a fundraiser co-hosted by Apple CEO Tim Cook
    • Cook has history of donating to both Democrats and Republicans; earlier this year he hosted a fundraiser for GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan
    • Trump is proposing a big tax cut for companies like Apple, which would see its tax rate slashed on about $200 billion of profit it keeps offshore, Bloomberg’s Lynnley Browning reported
    • Cook’s support for Clinton, who hasn’t tried to match Trump’s tax cuts for corporations, reflects how his proposals haven’t won him much support among U.S. technology leaders, Browning wrote; see full story here

ETC 

  • Clinton today called Mylan Pharmaceuticals’ price increases on EpiPen “the latest troubling example of a company taking advantage of its consumers”; said company should immediately reduce price; see full Bloomberg story here
  • Eric Trump told CNBC it would be “foolish” for his dad to release his tax returns because “people who know nothing about taxes” would examine them and try to come up with conclusions about “things they know nothing about”
    • “I’m actually the biggest proponent of not doing it”
    • Every major party candidate since 1976 has released their returns; Clinton and her running mate, Tim Kaine, released their returns earlier this month according to Wall Street Journal
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders’ post-campaign group, Our Revolution, holds launch event tonight; the former Democratic presidential candidate plans to speak
    • The group has been plagued by infighting over financing and management, New York Times reported

      CONGRESSIONAL ELECTIONS 

SENATE RACES

  • FUNDRAISING: Cmte for a Progressive Senate Majority filed organizing papers with Federal Election Commission to raise money jointly for Democratic Senate nominees Maggie Hassan in N.H., Catherine Cortez Masto in Nev., Ted Strickland in Ohio, Katie McGinty in Pa.
    • Treasurer is Tom Lopach, who is helping lead Democratic effort to overturn GOP Senate majority as executive director of Democratic Senatorial Campaign Cmte
  • AZ: Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick’s campaign released TV ad spotlighting $1m donation from Saudi Arabia to nonprofit linked to Republican Sen. John McCain
    • Narrator says “33 years in Washington have changed John McCain”; he was first elected to Senate in 1986 after four years in House
    • McCain has strictly honorary role with the nonprofit --McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State U. -- in compliance with Senate ethics rules, his spokeswoman told Bloomberg News when it broke story in March
    • McCain faces ex-state Sen. Kelli Ward in Aug. 30 primary; e Kirkpatrick unopposed in Democratic primary
  • FL: GOP Sen. Marco Rubio leads Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy 44%-39% in likely Nov. matchup, according to survey conducted Aug. 19-22 by Florida Atlantic University’s Business and Economics Polling Initiative
    • In Aug. 30 primaries, Rubio leads homebuilder Carlos Beruff, 69%-8%, in Republican race, with 15% undecided; while Murphy has 54% support in Democratic contest compared with 8% for Rep. Alan Grayson, 7% for lawyer Pam Keith, 22% undecided;
    • Survey had sampling margin of error of +/- 2.7 percentage points for general election, +/- 5.1 percentage points for Democratic primary, +/- 5.4 percentage points for Republican primary
    • Beruff’s campaign released statement saying he “supports Donald Trump 100%” while Rubio “supports himself 100%”; Trump beat Rubio 46%-27% in Fla.’s GOP presidential primary in March
  • NC: Republican Sen. Richard Burr had 45% to 43% for Democratic challenger Deborah Ross in Monmouth University poll conducted Aug. 20-23 of 401 likely voters; sampling margin of error was +/- 4.9 percentage points
  • NH: Hassan’s campaign released TV ad defending her efforts as governor to combat opioid/heroin crisis and criticizing attack ads from Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s “special interest backers”
  • NV: Senate Majority PAC, Democratic super-political action committee, released TV ad saying that since Dec.’s San Bernardino mass shooting, GOP Rep. Joe Heck “voted no 23 times” on measures “to ban suspected terrorists from buying guns”
    • Many of the votes were procedural, such as July 12 vote on Democratic “motion to commit” judicial review bill to Judiciary Cmte with instructions it add language barring gun transfers to international or domestic terrorist suspects
    • Senate Majority PAC is run by political advisers to Nev. Democratic Sen. Harry Reid, who’s retiring and backing Cortez Masto in race against Heck
  • OH: Strickland in TV ad responded to Republican attacks that as governor he “drained” state’s rainy day fund, saying he tapped money during national recession to protect funding for education, police, fire services
    • “Attacks ads are easy; leading in a crisis is hard,” said Strickland, who led Ohio from 2007-11 and is seeking to unseat Republican Sen. Rob Portman
    • Portman’s campaign in statement described Strickland as “the worst modern governor in modern Ohio history” and pointed to 2012 Columbus Dispatch editorial that said Strickland and Democrats “spent the state into a disastrous $8 billion shortfall”
    • Fighting for Ohio Fund, super-PAC supporting Portman, reported spending $715k more against Strickland, bringing to $7.2m its cumulative spending in OH-SEN race, according to FEC filing today

HOUSE RACES

  • FL-01: Republican Rebecca Johansen Bydlak will campaign Aug. 26 in Pensacola with Mich. GOP Rep. Justin Amash, chairman of House Liberty Caucus and member of House Freedom Caucus, according to campaign release
    • Bydlak, who works for anti-government-spending advocacy group, is among eight Republicans seeking district represented by GOP Rep. Jeff Miller, who’s not seeking re-election
  • FL-02: District now represented by Democratic Rep. Gwen Graham is “one of the few nationally that are likely to flip from Democrat to Republican this year,” Associated Press reported
    • Graham not seeking second term after new congressional map approved by Fla. Supreme Court last Dec. added more Republicans to district
    • Republicans Neal Dunn, Mary Thomas and Ken Sukhia “all agree on the main issues” and have “taken turns attacking each other for not being conservative or Republican enough,” AP reported
  • FL-04: Republican Hans Tanzler III endorsed by McCain in seven-candidate primary for open district in Jacksonville area, Florida Times-Union reported
    • Tanzler’s father was mayor of Jacksonville from 1968-79, period that overlapped with McCain’s captivity in Vietnam as his family lived in a Jacksonville suburb
    • “Mayor Tanzler took care of my family while I was a POW in Vietnam” and “I know and trust that Hans Tanzler will do the same for all Florida families,” McCain said in statement distributed by Tanzler campaign
    • Ex-Jacksonville sheriff John Rutherford also top candidate in GOP primary for seat of Republican Rep. Ander Crenshaw, who’s retiring after eight terms
  • FL-13: GOP Rep. David Jolly said “party matters a little bit less than community does” and “I have not endorsed Trump, nor do I defend him,” Associated Press reported in profile of his race against party-switching Democratic ex-Gov. Charlie Crist
    • District leans Democratic after changes in redistricting
  • NJ-05: Democrat Josh Gottheimer in TV ad said he “grew up in Jersey” and would “reach across the aisle and be a problem-solver” in Congress
    • Without mentioning GOP Rep. Scott Garrett by name, Gottheimer said “we’re being represented by a Tea Party extremist” and we “need to reject the bigotry of my opponent”
    • Garrett didn’t financially support National Republican Congressional Cmte, the House Republicans’ campaign arm, because it recruited gay candidates, Politico reported in July 2015; Garrett told NJ.com in March he supports “anyone who supports what’s in the Republican platform, which includes support for traditional marriage”
    • District includes most of Bergen County near NYC
    • Related Bloomberg story: Garrett Fundraising Lags as Wall Street Shies Away
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