Monday, October 24, 2016

The Donald Chronicles: The Sunday Pivot and Trumpless Minus 16

The pivot that the Dems began towards emphasizing Senate and House races, which is being led by their presidential candidate, has forced the GOPers hand.  Their pivot has also begun in the same direction, although it is away from their presidential candidate, trying to sell their downballot candidates as opposition to a Clinton White House.

That's the sense of this NYTimes analysis, one among several on Sunday.

 But Hillary is still pressing her current polling advantage to urge early voting, to give her an insurmountable lead in swing states like North Carolina and Florida.  And it appears to be working (especially in Florida)--judging by these graphs.  The bulk of early voting is just beginning, and Sunday saw an ABC tracking poll taken after the third debate that gives Clinton a 12 point advantage.

This poll shows Clinton continuing to gain women voters.  It also shows that Trump's reluctance to say he would accept the voting outcome did not go over well, with most people concluding that his talk about a rigged election is making excuses for losing.

Josh Marshall extracts something else from this poll--a 12 point drop in R enthusiasm for Trump, and a decline of 7 points in Rs who say they intend to vote. These appear to be voters who first favored a candidate other than Trump.

The Democrats push in downballot races extends far beyond the Senate or even the House.  President Obama is reportedly making endorsements and ads for state rep candidates.  Earlier stories suggested that Obama's chief political activity after he leaves the White House will be efforts to ensure that Dems get a fair shake in 2020 census redistricting.  The GOP domination of redistricting in 2010 is a big reason they hold the House, and a major disappointment--if not embarrassment--for Obama and the Dems.

There does seem to be a Wave building in the media for the idea of a political Wave on election day, but the Senate is surely not yet a lock for Dems (though FiveThirty Eight now sees the chances at 72%) and the House still looks somewhat remote.  I don't want to get my hopes up for that yet--after all, I'm an SF Giants fan who listened to them blow a 3 run lead in the 9th to end their postseason.  But I know how important a Dem Congress could be, and I am especially intrigued by one of the amazing possibilities, which is Texas.  Polls show the presidential race surprisingly close.

So this is an episode of the Donald Chronicles in which Donald is mostly absent.  Some folks are worrying that the media can't get over its Trump addiction on November 9.  Looking at the weekend's stories, this process may already have begun.  The news is moving on.  Hillary is making more campaign appearances and they are being covered.  She will campaign this week with Elizabeth Warren and (for the first time) with Michelle Obama, and no doubt there will be final week events with President Obama, whose approval rating has ticked up even more.  The political race coverage will concentrate more on the Senate and House.

 With just over two weeks until election day, and nobody taking anything Trump or his surrogates say seriously, we might consider this the withdrawal period.  There may yet be a few twists and turns, but with the Dem turnout machinery getting started and with the possibility of  a few more polls like today's ABC, that withdrawal of attention may well continue.   Trump's "suspense" on accepting defeat after election day returns may be his last big moment on the national stage.

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