Wednesday, October 05, 2016

The Donald Chronicles: IN for a Pence Gestapo

The big political story of the day, which is getting almost no attention, is the Gestapo tactics in Indiana of Gov. Mike Pence's administration in using the state police to shut down voter registration offices, confiscating their equipment and taking away forms that will probably disenfranchise thousands of voters.

It is part of an investigation of voter registration fraud.  But all forms would be reviewed by election officials, so there is no way that simply collecting registration forms constitutes actual voter fraud.

The investigation is the work of an Indiana A-G, emboldened by her success in getting her voter ID law past the Supremes.  And there appear to be other political motivations as well.  The group targeted is fighting back: "A group that registers Indiana voters is being investigated for alleged voter registration fraud. That group says they're not the ones doing something wrong, but that the people investigating them are. They've now asked the Department of Justice to look into their claims."

And there's no surprise in who is being targeted.  Again from this story:
With one week out for the voter registration deadline, the Indiana Voter Registration Project says 45,000 African-American voters are in jeopardy of not being able to vote because the forms they filled out have come into question because of this investigation. They might not find out until they show up to the polls to vote.

Police said it might take months to investigate the forms they confiscated.  Apparently in Indiana the police are the Republican police.  Something to look forward to in a Trump-Pence regime.

Pence of course was involved in the vice presidential debate that nobody watched on Tuesday.  By most accounts Pence won on style points and may have done something for Republican morale.  But he also denied that Trump had made a number of statements that he demonstrably made.

 The Clinton campaign quickly made ads with the denials and the statements, which Josh Marshall argues persuasively, was probably Kaine's job and the campaign's intent.  Fact checkers (for instance at NPR) also had a field day matching Trump's words to Pence's denials or demurrals.  And TV comics have only begun.

A national poll by Fairleigh Dickinson U. conducted in late Sept. through early Oct. gives Clinton a 10 point lead, 50% to 40% over Trump. Two new state polls show Clinton with a 2 point lead in Ohio, by identical spreads of 42%-40.

An interesting tidbit in a NYTimes story about incipient panic in the GOP is that while the Donald has been slipping in public polls: But private polling by both parties shows an even more precipitous drop, especially among independent voters, moderate Republicans and women, according to a dozen strategists from both parties who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the data was confidential.  This combined with increased Dem enthusiasm (i.e. their intent to vote for the party nominee) growing, and outpacing GOP enthusiasm by a significant margin.

Talking small ball now: state polls are starting to show more realistic numbers for third party candidates, particularly Johnson.  The Monmouth poll for Ohio, for example, has Clinton 44% Trump 42% Johnson 5%.  Let's assume third party voting will be a little higher this time than usual, so Johnson will get maybe 3.5%.  Some research shows Johnson voters are splitting evenly between Clinton and Trump.  Which makes William Weld's move interesting.

Weld--former MA gov-- is Johnson's v.p. and multiple stories say he's now concentrating on defeating Trump.  This muddies the waters a bit for Johnson, fading anyway due to his demonstrable ignorance about much of anything, but it may provide marginal help in tilting the former Johnson vote to Clinton, which in a few close contests could be significant.

Finally, the Atlantic magazine joins the list of publications doing something uncharacteristic, endorsing only its third presidential candidate in its long history (the first was Lincoln.)  It's Hillary, and especially, Not Trump.

No comments: