No, That Podesta/Wikileaks Email Doesn't Prove Democrats Are Rigging Media Polls

This story started making the rounds on social media over the weekend, eventually catching fire due to Trumpworld's desperation to latch onto any piece of "evidence" -- no matter how embarrassingly ludicrous -- that the election is "rigged." (Reminder: The media turned exceedingly negative on Trump after the primaries, and the Clinton email investigation was highly questionable, but the electoral process itself is above-board and widely untainted). This latest conspiracy theory is that a Wikileaks-hacked email from John Podesta "proves" that Hillary's campaign is colluding with the mainstream media to rig the polls to make it appear as though Trump is losing. Trump himself appeared to amplify the bogus storyline on Twitter, because of course he did:

Here's what "the the Trump" is referring to:

See? They're deliberately oversampling Democrats to make it look like Trump is losing!  Or not.  The only thing that's remotely accurate about any of this is that Podesta used the word "oversamples," and mentioned "media polling" in the email.  But there's less to this supposed 'gotcha' than meets the eye.  Much less.  First of all, oversampling is an long-established polling practice with a very specific definition, described here by Pew Research (via Bradd Jaffy):

For some surveys, it is important to ensure that there are enough members of a certain subgroup in the population so that more reliable estimates can be reported for that group. To do this, we oversample members of the subgroup by selecting more people from this group than would typically be done if everyone in the sample had an equal chance of being selected. Because the margin of sampling error is related to the size of the sample, increasing the sample size for a particular subgroup through the use of oversampling allows for estimates to be made with a smaller margin of error. A survey that includes an oversample weights the results so that members in the oversampled group are weighted to their actual proportion in the population; this allows for the overall survey results to represent both the national population and the oversampled subgroup.

Click through for an explanation of how this methodology applies to African Americans, a subgroup Pew uses to illustrate how oversampling works. There is nothing controversial here. Oh, and Podesta's email was sent in January...of 2008. So his brief missive on polling comes from two presidential cycles ago, during the Democratic primary.  Bottom line: Even a cursory inspection reveals that this isn't what some people think it looks like.  If you're jonesing for a "the polls are wrong" argument, the Kentucky case study is probably your best bet at this stage.  I'll leave you with Trump's campaign manager conceding the obvious -- "we are behind:"

Watch Live: Trump Campaigns in St. Augustine

Hillary Thanks Warren For Reining in Wall Street After Goldman Sachs Basically Endorses Her

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) used Donald Trump's insults to her own advantage on Monday. At a Hillary Clinton campaign rally in New Hampshire, Warren introduced the Democratic nominee with a message: "Nasty women are tough. Nasty women are smart. And nasty women vote." Her remarks were a play on Trump's insult that Clinton was a "nasty woman" at their third presidential debate last week.

Clinton thanked Warren for the introduction, before acknowledging the Massachusetts senator's fight against powerful banks.

"She is going to make sure Wall Street never wrecks Main Street again," Clinton said.

Clinton's comments come a day after Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein said he "engages" with Clinton and is supportive of her in this year's election.

Yet, this cozy relationship with Goldman Sachs did not come up in conversation in New Hampshire. Clinton simply told the crowd she is dedicated to changing the economy to make it "fairer for everyone."

For Clinton to show her face with Warren, a progressive hero, while she receives praise from Wall Street and refuses to release her transcripts from her Wall Street speeches, is rich.

Will Bernie Fans Think Twice About Hillary After Goldman Sachs CEO Praise?

Former Bernie Sanders supporters who sold out for Hillary Clinton (harsh, I know, but true) may want to do some soul searching following a new revelation from Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein. While not outright announcing he's voting for her next month, the way he praised her on "Fareed Zakaria GPS" suggests he's with her.

“I’m supportive of Hillary Clinton,” Blankfein said, according to a transcript provided by the network. “Yes, so flat out, yes, I do. That doesn’t say that I agree with all of her policies. I don’t. And that doesn’t say that I adopt everything that she’s done in her political career or has suggested that she might do going forward.”

Blankfein also praised the Democratic nominee's apparent willingness to engage with those sitting across the political aisle.

Of course, Sanders fans should bristle at Blankfein's praise for Clinton. The Vermont senator's impassioned criticism of Wall Street has been one reason he has attracted so many progressive fans. During the Democratic primary, he hammered Clinton for her lucrative Wall Street speeches and her refusal to release the transcripts. When she tried to claim she has stood up to the big banks at one of their debates, he mocked her

“Secretary Clinton called them out,” countered Sanders. “Oh my gosh, they must have been really crushed by this. Was that before or after you received huge sums of money by giving speaking engagements?”

Additionally, new headlines reveal that donors are heavily financing Clinton's campaign. The Washington Times found that more than a fifth of the $1 billion donated to her was awarded by 100 well-to-do individuals and powerful labor unions.

Can progressive voters stomach the fact that people like Blankfein seem to want a Clinton win?

Frank Luntz On 2016: 'This Should’ve Been A Slam Dunk for the GOP'

As news organizations predict total Clinton victory, GOP pollster Frank Luntz isn’t one to offer such projections since there are enough undecideds across the country that can turn this election in Donald Trump’s favor. At the same time, Luntz did note on his appearance on CBS’ Face The Nation that he has never seen so many interparty battles raging at time when the party should be devoting all of their attention to defeating Hillary Clinton.

He added that there are Trump voters who will vote at the top of the ticket, but would refuse to vote down-ballot to send a message to the establishment, while you have independent voters who want to vote Republican down-ticket, but find that those candidates are too aligned with Trump.

Another criticism Luntz lobbed was that Trump’s Gettysburg speech this weekend, where he outlined his agenda for the first 100 days, should have been addressed weeks, or maybe months ago. He noted that when 70 million people watched the third and final debate last week, that’s when the agenda should have been articulated. After all, his own focus group showed that a) Trump dominates on trade; and b) even Hillary-leaning voters were more receptive to Trump’s language on the economy. But they all noted that they were thirsty for more details.

Trump has talked about how Romney lost a winnable election. This very well could be history repeating itself on November 8. Guy mentioned how the attacks on Clinton’s character are working, but it’s proven to be insufficient in terms of beating her. The latest CBS Florida Senate poll showed that 67 percent felt Clinton was dishonest, 56 percent feel she can’t relate to regular people, and a plurality said she served herself while being our top diplomat at the State Department. Maybe a little more detail from Trump and staying focused could have made all the difference and maybe reversed the media narrative we have right now.

Luntz noted that this campaign has prided itself in speaking for the workingman, the forgotten workers of this economy swallowed up by free trade and Obamanomics, but Trump’s attention has been on attacking the media, pushing back against the women accusing him of sexual misconduct (ineffectively), and the Republican Party (i.e. Paul Ryan). In that instance, the voice of the voters he claims to speak for is lost. While he does well about holding people accountable and on budgetary matters, he tanks when he lobs personal attacks on Clinton, especially Bill.

“I have never seen a campaign that has less discipline, less focus, less of an effective vision at a time when more Americans are demanding a change in how their government works. This should have been a slam dunk for the GOP,” said Luntz.

Reuters project Clinton to win 326 electoral votes, but Trump still has a slim path to 270. It is a grim picture. Even if Trump wins Ohio and Florida, he still short of 270. He needs to win Nevada and Colorado, which is a tall order this late in the game. If he loses Nevada and Colorado, he would need to win Pennsylvania, a state that hasn’t gone Republican since 1988, to win the election. Again, another steep hill to climb. ABC News noted other ways Trump could go to get to 270, which include winning New Hampshire. Another state that looks out of reach two weeks out from Election Day.

A perfect combination of states with fewer electoral votes could also place Trump in the White House. Victories in all of the small states in play -- including Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and the second Congressional district of Maine -- would give Trump exactly 270 electoral votes. And although Iowa and Nevada appear within reach, a WMUR/UNH poll shows New Hampshire is leaning toward Clinton -- she’s ahead by a whopping 15 percentage points.


The wildcard options include: 1) winning Wisconsin, the second Congressional district of Maine, plus either Nevada or Iowa 2) winning Virginia and either Nevada or Iowa or New Hampshire 3) winning Michigan and the second congressional district of Maine and 4) winning Colorado, Iowa and either Nevada or New Hampshire.

There's still a lot of time to go, folks. Trump has a tall hill to climb, but we'll just have to see what happens on November 8.

Landslide: Reuters Projects 326 Electoral Votes For Clinton

As we get closer to Election Day, there will be a new flurry of stories showing how Hillary has an 85+percent chance of winning—and that her Electoral College count is going to be a landslide. It’s over, basically—that’s the theme. For Reuters, they’re projecting Clinton to win 326 electoral votes, with a 95 percent chance of winning:

In the last week, there has been little movement. Clinton leads Donald Trump in most of the states that Trump would need should he have a chance to win the minimum 270 votes needed to win. According to the project, she has a better than 95 percent chance of winning, if the election was held this week. The mostly likely outcome would be 326 votes for Clinton to 212 for Trump.

Trump came off his best debate performance of the campaign Wednesday evening but the polling consensus still showed Clinton winning the third and final face-off on prime-time TV. Trump disputes those findings.

And some national polls had the race tightening a wee bit this week though others had Clinton maintaining her solid lead. But the project illustrates that the broader picture remains bleak for Trump with 17 days to go until the Nov. 8 election.

Trump did gain ground in South Carolina where his slim lead last week expanded to seven points, moving it into his column from a toss-up. Unfortunately for him, he lost ground in Arizona, which is now too close to call.

On one hand, some in the GOP will rejoice—this means the end of Trumpism, the ignominious defeat of the alt-right. Well, I’m not so sure these folks are leaving just yet. Second, Clinton would be president. Why is that a good thing? It’s a nightmare for the country. If this ends up being the end result on Election Day, it will not be without a sense of irony. When Mitt Romney decided to get on the Never Trump train, the billionaire lashed out at him, blaming him for losing a winnable election. In 2016, Reuters’ Electoral College map closely resembles that of 2012 (Romney got 206 electoral votes), and this was yet another winnable election for Republicans that we pissed away thanks for nominating flawed candidates, but I don’t want to get into “I told you so” games—though that’s a point of inevitability post-election I’m afraid.

Again, how many epitaphs have we written for this political campaign? Every time Trump looks like he’s about to collapse, he regroups. He survives. It very well could be a drumming by Clinton, but we shall reserve judgment until Election Day. We have polls showing him trailing by four, six, nine, and now twelve points. Some have it at a virtual dead heat (i.e. LA Times), while other have him leading by a point (Investors Business Daily). Now, that doesn’t mean that all is well either. Texas and Arizona are now in the toss-up column, Florida is moving to the Democrats—all of this spell disaster on November 8. If we lose Florida, forget everything else—the jig is up. Even Trump campaign manger Kellyanne Conway said that they’re behind. But the RNC seems to have delved into fantasyland to combat these developments, with Chairman Reince Priebus saying that Trump is going to do better with black voters this cycles than with McCain and Romney, with the added notion that Trump is going to win because “people have had enough.” Yeah, let’s not kid ourselves; Trump is going to do poorly with Hispanics and black voters—and we don’t know if he’s going to win the election. This spin makes the Right look desperate and embodies everything that liberals think about conservatives—that we’re detached from reality.

There is one theory that Trump’s campaign seems to be hedging on, which is that there’s a swath of voters who don’t like to be polled, and if a firm contacts them—these voters tell lies to protect themselves. It’s a fear Democratic pollsters have this cycle, that the people they poll, like the one’s saying they’re either voting for or leaning towards Hillary Clinton, are really voting for Trump. It’s our version of the shy Tory theory, in which the 1992 election in the U.K. projected a Labour win, only to end with the Conservatives winning the most votes ever cast in a British election. It’s impossible to gauge, but if this is the case, it shows how embarrassing these two candidates are for voters for either party. Right now, it’s all about stopping Clinton. And 45 percent of Republicans seem pretty dead set on making that happen, as this cohort has said they will not accept the election result that ends in a Trump defeat.

Hypocrisy is the Name of the Dems' Down-Ballot Game

The Clinton’s surrogate team is confident with their presidential prospects, and now are turning to down-ballot elections. There is the possibility for the Republicans to lose their advantage on the Hill, and the Democrats are capitalizing as much as they can on that. President Obama has made headlines the past week for his attacks on GOP House and Senate candidates.

On October 20th, the President went after Florida Senator Marco Rubio. Rubio, who is a staunchly pro-life conservative, is currently locked in a tight race with Patrick Murphy. RealClearPolitics is reporting that Rubio still has the edge, with an average 3.4 percent lead. Obama criticized Rubio for condemning certain actions and statements made by Donald Trump, while still casting his vote for the GOP nominee. The president suggested, “That’s a sign of somebody who will say anything, do anything, pretend to be anybody, just to get elected.”

Sunday, just three days after his Rubio rant, Obama slammed another GOP candidate, Darrell Issa, a representative from California. Darrell Issa’s main competition in California’s 49th District is Democrat Douglas Applegate. This time Obama cried foul on Issa for a mailing campaign and for being, as the president describes it, the “Trump before Trump.” The mailing campaign had a positive tone with Issa expressing that he was “very pleased” that Obama signed the Survivors’ Bill of Rights into law. Obama felt that the campaign was hypocritical of Issa, who constantly caused trouble for the administration when he chaired for the House Oversight Committee.

That last line of attack was rich, seeing as hypocritical is the only way to describe the Obama’s down-ballot strategy so far. Calling out Rubio for voting for Trump, despite condemning the candidate’s flaws? Bernie Sanders is doing that right now, with every message to his supporters to vote for the woman who he called corrupt and not a true progressive. Obama himself would be guilty of this after the hard fought democratic primary in 2008. That is what all politicians do after the primaries – they reevaluate their priorities based on who is left standing.

At least Rubio is still separating what he does and doesn’t agree with Trump over, while Sanders and Obama have completely moved to praising Clinton.

As for the Issa attack, Obama has no real ground to stand on. The Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act was always a bipartisan bill. Mimi Walter, a Republican representative from California, and Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat representative from California, introduced the bill. Issa cosponsored the bill, with the assertion that, “We have to overhaul the way our criminal justice system treats the victims of sexual assault. Too often, justice remains out of reach for who’ve already been victimized by this heinous crime.”

So, instead of appreciating one of the few times during his administration that both parties were able to accomplish something – Obama turns it into an attack.

Nice try Mr. President, but we see through that.

WSJ: Major Clinton Ally Funneled $675,000 to Wife of FBI Official Overseeing Email Probe

There is no "smoking gun" proof of an unethical quid pro quo arrangement in this Wall Street Journal report, but once again, voters are getting a distinct whiff of something that stinks. The key player here is Virginia's ethically-challenged Democratic Governor Terry McAulliffe, who is the target of a separate federal investigation over alleged illegal campaign donations -- and who, as a former DNC Chairman, is extremely close with the Clintons. He co-chaired Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign, and both Mr. and Mrs. Clinton were instrumental in securing his governorship.  Fast forward to 2015, when McAuliffe helped recruit and generously bankroll the (ultimately failed) State Senate campaign of a woman who is married to a member of the FBI's top brass -- who would eventually join a team that oversaw the Bureau's probe into Hillary's national security-endangering email scandal.  Details:

Campaign finance records show Mr. McAuliffe’s political-action committee donated $467,500 to the 2015 state Senate campaign of Dr. Jill McCabe, who is married to Andrew McCabe, now the deputy director of the FBI. The Virginia Democratic Party, over which Mr. McAuliffe exerts considerable control, donated an additional $207,788 worth of support to Dr. McCabe’s campaign in the form of mailers, according to the records. That adds up to slightly more than $675,000 to her candidacy from entities either directly under Mr. McAuliffe’s control or strongly influenced by him. The figure represents more than a third of all the campaign funds Dr. McCabe raised in the effort...The governor could recall only one meeting with Mr. McCabe—when he and other state Democrats met with the couple on March 7, 2015, to urge Dr. McCabe to run, according to the spokesman...Mr. McCabe’s supervision of the Clinton email case in 2016 wasn’t seen as a conflict or an ethics issue because his wife’s campaign was over by then and Mr. McAuliffe wasn’t part of the email probe, officials said...Dr. McCabe announced her candidacy in March 2015, the same month it was revealed that Mrs. Clinton had used a private server as secretary of state to send and receive government emails, a disclosure that prompted the FBI investigation. At the time the investigation was launched in July 2015, Mr. McCabe was running the FBI’s Washington, D.C., field office, which provided personnel and resources to the Clinton email probe.

Left-wing writer and fierce Clinton critic Michael Tracey notices something unusual about this timeline:

Hmm.  So Hillary's email scheme was revealed by the Times, then a few days later, McAuliffe importunes an FBI honcho's wife to run for a contested Virginia Senate seat, then sees to it that she receives well over a half-a-million dollars in payments from his PAC and the Democratic Party.  Months later, the candidate's husband was
"part of the executive leadership team overseeing the Clinton email investigation."  It does sound suspicious.  Let's run through the counter-points:  Even though Hillary's rogue, unsecure server was exposed in March of 2015, the FBI didn't launch its investigation into the matter until that July.  Dr. McCabe lost that fall, and Mr. McCabe wasn't promoted to Deputy Director until early 2016 (although it appears that he was connected to the investigation as early mid-2015, while the campaign was underway).  The Journal also reports that as soon as his wife took the political plunge, McCabe properly "sought ethics advice from the bureau and followed it."  Plus, it's not exactly surprising that a Democratic governor would maneuver to help elect Democrats to his state's legislature; McAuliffe's financial generosity to Dr. McCabe was noteworthy, but he sent even more aid to two other State Senate candidates that cycle.

That being said, I take issue with this line of justification, highlighted in the passage above: "Mr. McCabe’s supervision of the Clinton email case in 2016 wasn’t seen as a conflict or an ethics issue because his wife’s campaign was over by then and Mr. McAuliffe wasn’t part of the email probe."  In the summer of 2015, as his wife was actively campaigning and being boosted by McAuliffe, McCabe was running a key FBI office that was directly involved in the Clinton matter.  In early 2016, McCabe's wife was still licking her wounds from an election loss at the hands of Republicans.  She ran and lost as a liberal Democrat, and her campaign was championed by an exceptionally close friend of the Clintons.  Sure, McAuliffe "wasn't part of the email probe" -- he has his own probe to worry about, from which I trust (hope?) Mr. McCabe has recused himself -- but he had a very strong personal and partisan rooting interest in its outcome.  The notion that as soon as Dr. McCabe's campaign ended, those partisan ties and loyalties all simple disintegrated is naive.  On an issue this sensitive, both politically and from a national security perspective, everyone involved should have gone to great lengths to avoid even the appearance of impropriety.

There are perfectly plausible explanations for why all of this is innocent and not at all nefarious.  But there are also entirely reasonable concerns that perhaps should have raised more red flags about Mr. McCabe's involvement in the Clinton case from the very beginning.  Couple this story with (a) the Attorney General's secretive tarmac meeting with Bill Clinton during the probe's final stages, (b) the bizarre and unusual grants of immunity and side deals dished out by investigators to key scandal players, and (c) James Comey's unconvincing "no intent" defense under tough questioning, and it isn't hard to understand why many Americans might draw the conclusion that Mrs. Clinton's non-indictment was, well...rigged.

Project Veritas: New Video Shows Direct (And Illegal) Coordination Between Clinton Campaign, Dem Operatives, And Trump Protests

James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas released their third investigative video exposing the dark web of Democratic operatives and consultants who are seen allegedly colluding to instigate violence at Trump rallies, take part in voter fraud schemes, and provide a hub from where pro-Clinton super PACs can establish lines of communication. In this third video, taken from a yearlong investigation into the Clinton campaign’s inner workings, we have allegations that Hillary Clinton herself is involved with some of the activities at Trump rallies.

“In the end, it was candidate Hillary Clinton, the future president of the United States who wanted ducks on the ground, so, by God, we will get ducks on the ground, said top Democratic operative Bob Creamer. “Don’t repeat that to anybody,” he added. The operations called for activists to shadow Trump/Pence events dressed as Donald Duck, a swipe at the Republican nominee’s refusal to release his tax returns. O’Keefe alleges that the Clinton campaign, working with the DNC, and the non-profit Americans United for Change is an illegal coordinated campaign activity.

Project Veritas contacted lawyers on the subject who told them, “The ducks on the ground are likely public communications for purposes of the law. It’s political activity opposing Trump, paid for by Americans United For Change funds but controlled by Clinton and her campaign.”

Creamer had daily conference calls with representatives from the Clinton campaign and AUFC’s web of operatives; Creamer also works for AUFC as well. The reason the Donald Duck operations went from DNC to AUFC was because there was some trademark issue that Donna Brazile, interim DNC chair, was worried about.

“The duck has to be an Americans United For Change entity. This had to do only with some problem between Donna Brazile and ABC, which is owned by Disney, because they were worried about a trademark issue. That’s why. It’s really sily,” said Creamer. He later says that Brazil didn’t want to get sued due to her contributor status with ABC.

“We originally launched this duck because Hillary wants the duck,” said Creamer. And even with the change in quarterbacks regarding this operation, O’Keefe says the DNC and the Clinton campaign were still “running the show.”

Bob Creamer and Scott Foval were two of the main principals featured in the first two videos. Creamer’s firm, Democracy Partners, has deep ties to the Clinton campaign and the Obama White House. Between November 21, 2011 and June 24, 2016, Creamer visited the White House 342 times, 47 of which were directly with the president. Creamer has gone to jail for tax violations and bank fraud, which landed him a five-month jail sentence with eleven months house arrest in 2006. The site WeaselZippers asked, “what was this ‘black hat’ guy, convicted felon, doing on such great terms with the White House?” Mr. Foval, who is captured talking about hiring the mentally ill and the homeless to carry out his objectives at rallies, was let go from his national field director position at Americans United From Change after O’Keefe’s videos were released. Mr. Creamer also resigned from his role with the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee as a result of Project Veritas’ investigation.

There was a bit of anxiety with this last video as it took an unusually long time for it to upload to YouTube.

Miley Cyrus Tells Non-Hillary Suppoters to Kiss Her Rear, Wants to Do Yoga With Hillary Clinton

Shortly after campaigning at George Mason University for Hillary Clinton, singer/actress Miley Cyrus posted an Instagram photo bent over with her behind to the camera, with a caption stating that anyone who isn't voting for Hillary Clinton to "Kiss [her] ashtanga a**." (Ashtanga is a form of yoga.)

Cyrus also said that it was a "dream" of hers to do yoga with Clinton.

Since the election began, Cyrus has stood firm against Trump, in part due to the fact that Trump's sons have hunted big game in the past. (Cyrus is a noted anti-hunting advocate and a devoted vegan.) Back in March, Cyrus threatened to leave the country if Trump were elected president.

Obamacare Architect: Yeah, Bill Clinton ‘Has A Point’ To Call Obamacare The Craziest Thing In The World

On October 21, Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo had one of the main guys who crafted the Obamacare legislation, Dr. Zeke Emanuel, brother of former White House Chief of Staff and Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel, to discuss the state of Obamacare and the public option that Obama and Clinton have floated this cycle.

For Clinton, that public option is to allow Americans who are 55 years of age or older to buy into Medicare and Medicaid at an affordable rate, a policy that’ll be dead on arrival should the GOP retain the House.

Dr. Emanuel conceded that the law is flawed, it could use some bipartisan tweaks, namely placing the onus on conservative Republicans to move on from their repeal position, which is when Bartiromo rehashed when former President Bill Clinton called Obamacare “the craziest thing in the world” earlier this month. Emanuel said that Bill “had a point,” but added that subsidies should be increased for Americans between 250 percent of the poverty line and 400 percent of the poverty line, roughly those earning $50,000-$100,000, in the individual market. He also said that most of these people get their health care through their employer—and that more of its costs have been shifted to the employee since the law was passed. To Emanuel, this means that employers have seen a reduction in health care costs.

Whatever the reason, the facts are that premiums are set to spike, health insurers continue to flee the markets, and 2017 looks like a lot a pain is going to hit Americans’ wallets. More Americans are opting to pay the penalty to remain uninsured because it’s more economical. The CBO projections for those who should be enrolled by this law were off by 24 million, and the co-ops that were established (23 originally) are all on the verge of total collapse. So, yeah—Obamacare is crazy, it’s unworkable, it’s too expensive, and it’s a total disaster. Oh, and of course, the liberal answer to all of more government.

Emanuel had placed blame on the bill's disastrous results on Republicans (not a single member voted for the final bill), or insinuated that insurers' withdrawal from the Obamacare market was politically motivated. Have you seen their balance sheets?

Watch Live: Clinton Campaigns in Manchester, New Hampshire

Illinois Senate Race: Anti-Trump Republican Losing Traction

It has been tough sledding for Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk and his bid to seek re-election.  Democrats are poised and confident that U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth will defeat the Illinois Republican in this year's election, and the polls are steadily proving their case.

According to the most recent poll, Kirk trails Duckworth by 14 percentage points.

However, Kirk is warning that the polls may not be entirely accurate.

"News of my political death has been way too early," Kirk said. "Always Kirk has closed strongly."

Kirk has consistently maintained an 'F' rating from the National Rifle Association and has separated himself from the Republican nominee for president Donald Trump, calling him "delusional" and "too bigoted and racist for Illinois."

And to make things even more complicated, Barack Obama appeared at a fundraiser with Duckworth earlier this month.

"Tammy knows what's important to our families. That's because she's walked in our shoes," Obama said, calling her "a terrific leader who will never stop fighting for all of us."

Duckworth, who is a double-amputee as a result from combat in from the Iraq, has blasted Kirk for exaggerating his own military record, including his assertion that he came under enemy fire while flying reconnaissance missions in Iraq. She has also hauled in nearly three times the cash Kirk did during the final fundraising quarter, leaving her with more than $4 million to Kirk's roughly $1.4 million.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee had scheduled additional TV ads in the final weeks of the race, but recently cut back on the order and diverted the money to states with more competitive Senate races.

Kirk and Duckworth are scheduled to meet on Thursday in Springfield and Nov. 4 in Chicago for their two final debates.

New York Times Features Two-Page Spread of Trump Insults

In Monday's New York Times the newspaper included a full two-page spread of 281 people or things that Donald Trump has insulted on Twitter since kicking off his campaign last June. The list includes targets at political pundits, the United States as a whole, Jeb Bush's campaign, and many, many others.

Some "highlights":

George Will: "BORING"

Mark Cuban: "Dopey"

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA): "Didn't have the guts to run for POTUS"

Lincoln Chafee: "Can anyone imagine him as president? No way."

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT): "SAD!"

Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-TX) Campaign: "bad!"

VP Joe Biden: "Not very bright."

Trump Lands First Major Newspaper Endorsement

In a campaign first, Donald Trump has received an endorsement from a major newspaper publication. The Las Vegas Review-Journal wrote an editorial over the weekend in support of the Republican nominee.

More and more Americans express frustration and disillusionment today with the political institutions that govern the nation. They clamor for an alternative to the incestuous and pernicious atmosphere dominating the capital. They see a vast array of lobbyists, elected officials and entrenched interests manipulating the levers of power for their own enrichment at the expense of ordinary citizens.


Yes, Mr. Trump’s impulsiveness and overheated rhetoric alienate many voters. He has trouble dealing with critics and would be wise to discover the power of humility.

But neither candidate will ever be called to the dais to accept an award for moral probity and character. And we are already distressingly familiar with the Clinton way, which involves turning public service into an orgy of influence peddling and entitlement designed to line their own pockets — precisely what a disgruntled electorate now rises up to protest.

Mr. Trump represents neither the danger his critics claim nor the magic elixir many of his supporters crave. But he promises to be a source of disruption and discomfort to the privileged, back-scratching political elites for whom the nation’s strength and solvency have become subservient to power’s pursuit and preservation.

Donald Trump for president.

They are believed to be the third newspaper to endorse Trump, but the first major one to do so. Some have openly wondered if GOP mega donor and Trump supporter, Sheldon Adelson, owning the Las Vegas Review-Journal has had any influence in their decision.

On the other side, Clinton has earned the support of a plethora of newspaper publications, and notably winning the support of papers that have historically always gotten behind Republican presidential candidates.

Oh My: RealClearPolitics Shifts Texas to 'Toss-Up' Status

On one hand, despite this splashy move over the weekend, I still think Trump is the odds-on favorite to carry the Lone Star State and its trove of 38 electoral votes -- without which any GOP nominee would be truly doomed. He has never trailed Hillary in a single Texas poll, and the low dollar amount of Team Clinton's ad buy in the state makes it look more like a feint than anything else. On the other hand, hasn't led her by double digits in any statewide survey since August, with this new CBS News poll showing him ahead by just three points.  That's within the margin of error:

That's not an outlier, either. All three Texas polls taken this month show the contest within four points or closer. Mitt Romney trounced Barack Obama by 16 points among Texans in 2012, as a point of reference.  I suspect Trump will not only carry Texas, but do so by a few more points than the polls show.  But that's just a gut feeling based on the redness of the state.  Keep an eye on the trajectory of polling there over the next few weeks.  Also in RCP's 'tossup' category these days?  Georgia and Arizona (and...Minnesota?), where Trump is leading and trailing by small margins, respectively:

For what it's worth, the AP's projections are similar, but not identical, to RCP's.  Back to Texas.  Here's one particularly scary data point for Republicans from the CBS numbers:

Younger Texans are breaking for her, with Millennials fleeing the GOP nominee in droves.  Does that mean that Republicans generally are on the brink of ceding the state to Democrats, effectively ending GOP hopes of winning the White House?  It will be interesting to see how long younger voters hold the entire GOP responsible for Trump, but the answer to the question I posed is not necessarily.  In the gubernatorial race two years ago, Republican Greg Abbott crushed Democrat Wendy Davis by 20 points.  Voters in their 40's backed About by 17 points, Thirty-somethings went to Davis by a single-digit margin, and voters aged 25-29 swing to Abbott by 14 points.  In other words, younger generations of the Texas electorate are not sliding inexorably into blue territory.  But Trump appears to be uniquely poisonous, and that could have future implications.  Meanwhile, in Florida:

That result is bang on with other polling of the state, the last seven of which have given Clinton a lead of either three or four points. Dig into the numbers a bit, and you find some...interesting internals.  For instance, 60 percent of Floridians say Trump should pledge to abide by the election result (just 18 percent say he should not), but nearly the same number say they believe voter fraud happens "a lot" or "sometimes."  Of those two groups, nearly 70 percent believe Trump would win the election, if not for cheating.  While fraud is a real phenomenon and a problem that the Left tolerates and dismisses, there is no evidence that the national election can or will be rigged.  Trump's own campaign manager admitted Sunday that their campaign is not winning right now.  That's reality, not crooked spin, or whatever.  It should be noted that even though she's ahead in this survey, Hillary Clinton is not a popular figure among Florida voters.  By a 16-point margin, more respondents say she served her own interests over the country's as Secretary of State.  Fully 67 percent say she is not honest and trustworthy, and 56 percent say she doesn't 'understand regular people.'  Anti-Hillary attacks are hitting their marks; people just dislike Trump more, which has always been the problem.

A majority of Floridians say Republicans should have nominated someone other than Donald Trump for president, but Republican voters there say they'd still pick Trump over Marco Rubio, albeit by a significantly smaller margin than the results of March's blowout.  (Rubio exited the presidential race with a four-point average lead over Hillary nationally, and much better favorables than Trump).  Rubio narrowly leads his Democratic opponent in the Florida Senate race in this poll, maintaining his streak of never falling behind in that race.  The Left is pulling out all the stops to defeat him, with President Obama ripping into Rubio at a recent rally -- and the New York Times going out of its way to endorse in this race for some reason, backing the Democrat.  Actions speak louder than words, but perhaps there's a reason why strategic-thinking liberals are so eager to end Rubio's career.  Perhaps it's the same reason why Clinton's team feared Rubio, based on emails hacked by Wikileaks.  I'll leave you with this unnerving analysis from Nate Silver, who looks at the possibility of a down-ballot Trump armageddon for the GOP:

Every center-right voter must vote in November, in order to deny Democrats a turnout advantage that could fuel a wave.  It's no coincidence that a right-leaning SuperPAC is following in the Chamber of Commerce's (more implicit) footsteps and starting to run ads about electing Republicans as a check against Hillary:

7 Cartoons that Nail the Media's WikiLeaks Coverage

The mainstream media hasn't exactly given comparable coverage to both the Trump and Clinton scandals. Here are seven cartoons that perfectly sum of the media’s coverage - or lack thereof - of the WikiLeaks emails. 

Ignoring the monster under the bed. 

by Lisa Benson (10/17/2016)

What happens when sex sells...

by Dana Summers  (10/17/2016)

It’s like a game of where’s Waldo.

by Bob Gorrell (10/17/2016)

How convenient. 

by Gary Varvel (10/17/2016)

It's like an awful twist on a classic tune. 

by Glenn McCoy (10/12/2016)

“When you’re a star…”

by Robert Ariail (10/12/2016)

It’s all about the “framing”.

by Ken Catalino (9/1/2016)

Trump’s name is slapped in bold on the front page of every major newspaper, while news of John Podesta’s leaked emails is buried ten stories deep under a mountain of tax returns, lewd audio, and accusations of sexual assault. The Trump scandals are certainly newsworthy, but - as these cartoons point out - the media shouldn't be using them as a shield to protect Clinton from her own indiscretions.

Obama Claims He's Never Experienced a Major Scandal

President Obama has managed to sit in the Oval Office for eight years without facing a major scandal, so he claimed at a campaign rally for Hillary Clinton Sunday night in Florida. The statement came in response to criticism from Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA).

"Here's a guy who called my administration perhaps the most corrupt in history — despite the fact that actually we have not had a major scandal in my administration," Obama said.

On behalf of the American people, we would like to remind Obama about the decline of the Veterans Affairs agency, in which we learned thousands of veterans may have died waiting for care. We would also like to trigger his memory as to the IRS' targeting of conservative groups. Finally, we'd like to point out to him what happened in Benghazi and how his administration tried to cover up the terrorist attack as a spontaneous result of a YouTube video.

Why bother. We already know the president lives in his own reality. Last week, he gave a glowing review of his Affordable Care Act, arguing it has improved Americans' wellbeing - even if they don't know it. 

I dare him to repeat that when these premium hikes arrive.

WikiLeaks Exposes Hillary's Hypocritical Gender Pay Gap

In April, we found out that the Clinton Foundation pays its female employees 38 percent less than its male employees. This past week, WikiLeaks has provided some numbers to put that disparity into perspective. In the following exchange, uncovered from a hack into Clinton campaign chair John Podesta's emails, Hillary Clinton's staff were concerned about a "huge" gender pay gap at the Clinton Foundation. The financial divide was so obvious, in fact, they worried nosy journalists would notice.

With a little help from Julian Assange, they did.

Here's what The Washington Times found after some digging.

“3 out of the 11 highest paid employees of the Foundation are women. Avg salary of the highest paid men is $294,157.50, while the avg salary of the highest paid women is $181,576.66 ($112K difference),” Mrs. Seshasai said in an email seen by campaign manager Robby Mook and Cheryl Mills, Mrs. Clinton’s State Department chief of staff. “Median salary of the highest paid men is $346,106, while the median salary of the highest paid women is $185,386 ($190K difference).”

Of course, this salary gap does not jibe with the Clinton's pledge to break the glass ceiling and ensure that women are given the same opportunities as men.

This skewed pay ratio didn't start with the Clinton Foundation, however. Back when Clinton was a New York senator, her female employees were found to have been paid thousands of dollars less than their male counterparts. 

Unreal: Pentagon Demands Soldiers Repay Bonuses

Thousands of California soldiers are being forced to repay large bonuses that were given to them a decade ago for reenlisting and going to war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The bonus of $15,000 or more was offered as an enticement by the California National Guard, but now the Pentagon is demanding the money back after an audit revealed they were overpaid.

If they refuse, the nearly 10,000 soldiers this affects will be hit with interest charges, tax liens, and wage garnishments.

Investigations have determined that lack of oversight allowed for widespread fraud and mismanagement by California Guard officials under pressure to meet enlistment targets.

But soldiers say the military is reneging on 10-year-old agreements and imposing severe financial hardship on veterans whose only mistake was to accept bonuses offered when the Pentagon needed to fill the ranks.

Some veterans like Susan Haley are taking a huge financial hit in an effort to pay back the bonus. She's sending a quarter of her family’s income each month to the Pentagon and her family may even need to sell their home to make the payments.

“I feel totally betrayed,” Haley, who served 26 years in the Army, told the LA Times.

“They’ll get their money, but I want those years back,” she said about her six-year reenlistment.

The bonuses were supposed to be limited to soldiers in high-demand assignments like intelligence and civil affairs or to noncommissioned officers badly needed in units due to deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan.

The National Guard Bureau, the Pentagon agency that oversees state Guard organizations,  has acknowledged that bonus overpayments occurred in every state at the height of the two wars. 

But the money was handed out far more liberally in the California Guard, which has about 17,000 soldiers and is one of the largest state Guard organizations.

In 2010, after reports surfaced of improper payments, a federal investigation found that thousands of bonuses and student loan payments were given to California Guard soldiers who did not qualify for them, or were approved despite paperwork errors.

Instead of being forgiven for something that wasn’t their mistake to begin with, veterans now risk facing debt collection action.

“I signed a contract that I literally risked my life to fulfill,” Robert Richmond, an Army sergeant first class, told the LA Times. “We want somebody in the government, anybody, to say this is wrong and we’ll stop going after this money.”

Miley Cyrus Visits GMU To "Register Voters" For Hillary One Day After Registration Deadline Passes

On Saturday, singer/actress Miley Cyrus campaigned for Hillary Clinton on the campus of George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. Cyrus visited dorms, met with students, and encouraged people to register to vote and to vote for Hillary Clinton come November. There's just one small issue--Virginia's voter registration deadline was Friday, October 21, and Cyrus visited the school on October 22nd. 


Given that 81 percent of GMU students are Virginia residents and therefore can no longer register to vote in the state as of Friday, it seems as though perhaps the timing wasn't exactly the best for Cyrus' visit. While in theory it's possible that she was able to register some out-of-state students who still have time to get their registrations in, this just seems like a complete waste of time and did nothing to actually improve the democratic process.

Cyrus has threatened to leave the country if Donald Trump were elected president.

Professor With "Remarkable" Record of Predicting Elections Says Trump Will Win

Forget what the polls and pundits are saying, Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States, predicts Stony Brook University professor Helmut Norpoth.

Norpoth, who has accurately predicted the last five presidential elections, uses two models. The first, he told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, is the primary model, which tracks how the candidates are performing, and “it usually turns out the candidate who does better in his party's primaries or her party’s primaries beats the other guy who does less well.”

He used the primary races in South Carolina and New Hampshire for the 2016 election, where Trump won and did better than Clinton did in the Democratic race.

The second model, he explains, is called the Swing of the Pendulum, which is the tendency for a change after two terms of a party being in the White House. This, of course, gives the prediction that a Republican will win in 2016.

Norpoth is so convinced by his models that he’s putting his money where his mouth is. He bought shares in the Republican candidate in the Iowa Electronic Markets a long time ago and he’s sticking with it, he said. 

Wow: Watch This Incredible National Anthem Performance--With a Twist

Singer/artist Joe Everson performed the Star-Spangled Banner before the Toledo Walleye (an ECHL hockey team) game on October 22nd, and his rendition of the national anthem is about the most patriotic thing that's ever happened. I won't spoil it for you, but just watch what happens at the very end:

What a unique way to honor the United States and the brave men and women who serve in the military.

New ABC Poll Has Trump Down By Double Digits

A new ABC poll has Donald Trump down to Hillary Clinton by a double-digit margin. Clinton saw a huge boost in numbers after a 2005 audiotape of Trump making disparaging comments about women. Previously, Clinton only had a four-point lead over Trump, which has since grown to 12 points. Trump also had a large drop in the percentage of voters who were "enthusiastic" about voting for him.

Clinton is also polling higher among men for the first time this campaign season.

Given ABC's past accuracy in polling, these numbers have to be alarming for the Trump camp.

Not good.

Venezuelan Government: No Food (What's Left Of It) For Those Who Criticize Us

Venezuela is still paying for its failed experiment with socialism. The country still faces shortages of basic supplies, especially food, and the Chinese have cut off new loans after a decade of economic assistance. The supply shortages are probably the most pressing debacle facing President Nicolas Maduro, the late Hugo Chavez’s successor. Venezuelans have resorted to looting, breaking into zoos and eating animals, and finding sustenance in trashcans. For those who live with chronic illnesses, medicine is hard to find. For those suffering mental illnesses, the breakdown of reality only becomes more explicit (via NYT):

The voices tormenting Accel Simeone kept getting louder.

The country’s last supplies of antipsychotic medication were vanishing, and Mr. Simeone had gone weeks without the drug that controls his schizophrenia.

Reality was disintegrating with each passing day. The sounds in his head soon became people, with names. They were growing in number, crowding the tiny home he shared with his family, yelling obscenities into his ears.

Now the voices demanded that he kill his brother.

“I didn’t want to do it,” recalled Mr. Simeone, 25.

He took an electric grinder from the family’s garage. He switched it on.

But then, to spare his brother, he attacked himself instead, slicing into his own arm until his father raced in and grabbed the grinder from his bloody hands.

Venezuela’s economic collapse has already decimated its health system, leaving hospitals without antibiotics, surgeons without gloves and patients dying on emergency room tables.

Now, thousands of mental health patients — many of whom had been living relatively normal lives under medication — are drifting into despair and psychosis because the country has run out of the vast majority of psychiatric medicines, leaving families and doctors powerless to help them, medical experts say.

The hospital system has deteriorated to the point where conditions resemble the 19th century and reports of newborns being placed in cardboard boxes in maternity wings because there are no supplies. To deal with the food crisis, the government established the Local Committees of Supply and Production (CLAP), but has threatened to cut off food aid to anyone who has criticized Maduro’s government, the same government that’s so detached from reality that they’ve banned lines outside of bakeries and grocery stores to avoid showing the world how terrible 21st Century Socialism has become. It’s a total disaster (via PanAm Post):

Six months after the creation of the Local Committees of Supply and Production (Clap) that is designed to “distribute food directly to the people,” the government has decided to change its approach by threatening those using the program.

The Venezuelan government announced that it will suspend delivery of food packages to those who criticize its policies.

The suspension of an unnamed member of the communal council will last for three months, but could extend much longer, officials warned.

In addition, officials threatened to impose penalties against those who make their discontent with the government public by removing their information from the Clap database.

Isn’t socialism great, folks?