Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Donald Chronicles: States of the Race

It is Sunday before the Tuesday that will mark three weeks before this ordeal is over.  While the Trump campaign itself has devolved into a tawdry autopilot rant of the walking dead--more of a slow motion car wreck than the usual metaphor of a dumpster fire--sanity may require getting into technical stuff like states in play.

And the states in play seem to exclude some previous battleground states and include some previously considered GOPer all the way.  The Trump campaign has effectively abandoned Virginia, where a new poll shows Hillary ahead by 15 points.  According to the WPost analysis, Trump is actively contesting only four states (PA, Florida, Ohio, North Carolina) while Clinton engages him with TV ads in these plus New Hampshire, Nevada and Iowa.  A key observation: "Democrats are running coordinated campaigns in the battleground states, meaning money is being to spent to promote the entire ticket, not just Clinton."

Other states that may be in play include Arizona and Georgia.  The Clinton campaign is reportedly looking at Utah, although it seems more likely that Trump will be denied a victory there than Clinton could win it.

Meanwhile, according to a WPost interpretation of its own poll (which shows Clinton with only a 4 point lead versus the new NBC poll which finds her a whopping 11 points up): But the Post-ABC poll also makes this clear about what Trump is up to these days: He's doing almost everything wrong, and he's doing nothing to grow his support and actually put himself in a position to win."

Both Post articles suggest that decisions on allocating resources for the homestretch will be made this week, possibly right after the third and final debate on Wednesday.  Clinton and the Dems have far greater resources to deploy.  The Trump campaign has severed ties with the R party structure in Ohio, calling into question whether it will have any ground game there at all.

As for the Donald, his tweeting criticism of Saturday Night Live's sketch on the second debate seems to have had the predictable effect of bringing it more viewers, through various news sites.  The attention is deserved because it is the best of SNL's campaign sketches so far, succinctly nailing both Trump and Clinton.

Trump continues to insist that there is a conspiracy pitting the universe against him, and that the election is rigged.  Other Rs (including his vp) are pushing back lightly on the rigged election part, though agreeing on the media.  It's impossible to know yet if the fears of election (and post-election) violence will occur to any significant degree, but if a Clinton administration comes in with a Dem Congress, there should be additional election safeguards  made immediately at the federal level, including rules about guns near polling places, and a re-institution of civil rights protections.

And since The Battleground state of this election is the Commonwealth of PA, it's time for my home state to join the 20th century if not the 21st in adding early voting as well as paper ballot backup.

I'm not up to reading the premature articles on "the Clinton administration" but I do want to highlight E.J. Dionne's thoughtful piece on responding to the legitimate grievances that some apparent Trump voter groups have.

Finally, the buzz about Michelle Obama's speech last week continues.  One example is Frank Bruni's column in the NYTimes that begins:

"Isn’t it delicious that after trafficking in racism, promoting sexism and using a lie about Barack Obama’s birthplace as a pivot into political relevance, Donald Trump could receive his final death blow from a black woman: the president’s wife?"

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