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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

If I Did It

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's record of scandalThe update -- recently published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.

Felicia Sonmez at WP:
President Trump suggested Sunday that he mentioned former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden in a phone call with the leader of Ukraine, amid swirling questions about whether Trump sought to use his influence to seek reelection help from a foreign country.
In an exchange with reporters outside the White House before departing for events in Texas and Ohio, Trump was asked about his July 25 conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The Washington Post reported last week that Trump pressured Zelensky to investigate a company with ties to Hunter Biden, and the call between Trump and Zelensky is the subject of an extraordinary whistleblower complaint.
“The conversation I had was largely congratulatory, was largely corruption, all of the corruption taking place, and largely the fact that we don’t want our people, like Vice President Biden and his son, creating to the corruption already in the Ukraine,” Trump told reporters. “And Ukraine has got a lot of problems.”

Saturday, September 21, 2019

High Crimes and Ukraine

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's record of scandalThe update -- recently published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.

Alan Cullison, Rebecca Ballhaus and Dustin Volz at WSJ:
President Trump in a July phone call repeatedly pressured the president of Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden ’s son, according to people familiar with the matter, urging Volodymyr Zelensky about eight times to work with Rudy Giuliani on a probe that could hamper Mr. Trump’s potential 2020 opponent.

“He told him that he should work with [Mr. Giuliani] on Biden, and that people in Washington wanted to know” if his lawyer’s assertions that Mr. Biden acted improperly as vice president were true, one of the people said. Mr. Giuliani has suggested Mr. Biden’s pressure on Ukraine to fight corruption had to do with an investigation of a gas company for which his son was a director. A Ukrainian official this year said he had no evidence of wrongdoing by Mr. Biden or his son Hunter Biden.
Mr. Trump in the call didn’t mention a provision of U.S. aid to Ukraine, said this person, who didn’t believe Mr. Trump offered the Ukrainian president any quid-pro-quo for his cooperation on any investigation.
The interactions between the president, Mr. Giuliani and Ukraine have come under scrutiny in recent days in the wake of a whistleblower complaint that a person familiar with the matter said involves the president’s communications with a foreign leader. The complaint, which the Washington Post reported centers on Ukraine, has prompted a new standoff between Congress and the executive branch.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Student Turnout

In Defying the Odds, we discuss state and congressional elections as well as the presidential race. The update -- recently published -- looks at political and demographic trends through the 2018 midterm.

A release from  from the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education (IDHE) at Tufts University’s Tisch College of Civic Life.
College-student voting rates in the 2018 midterm elections doubled compared to the 2014 midterms, marking a watershed election year for student voter turnout, according to a report today from the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education (IDHE) at Tufts University’s Tisch College of Civic Life. The report, Democracy Counts 2018, is based on an analysis of the voting patterns of more than 10 million college students on more than 1,000 campuses participating in the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE).
In 2018, the Average Institutional Voting Rate (AIVR) among campuses in the study was 39.1 percent, nearly 20 percentage points higher than 2014’s average turnout rate of 19.7 percent. Turnout increases were widespread, with virtually all campuses seeing an increase over 2014.
Major research findings include:​​
  • In the 2018 midterm elections, college students turned out to vote at double the rate of the last midterm. Across all students in the study, the National Student Voting Rate (NSVR) in 2018 was 40.3 percent. Remarkably, this 2018 student turnout was closer to the NSLVE-estimated voting rate for the 2016 presidential election–51.3 percent–than to the previous midterm in 2014–19.3 percent;
  • According to the U.S. Elections Project, the voting rate among all Americans increased 13 percentage points in 2018 as compared to the prior midterm. By comparison, the college and university National Student Voting Rate (NSVR) rose 21 percentage points;
  • In 2018, the voting rates of 99 percent of campuses in the study increased from the 2014 midterms, and nearly half of all institutions saw their rate increase between 15-24 percentage points;
  • Women in college continued to vote at higher rates than men in 2018, with black women maintaining their position as the most active voters on campus, and Hispanic women making the largest gains;
  • While older Americans historically vote at higher rates than their younger counterparts, 2018 data showed a trend toward age parity. The turnout gap between students over 30 and those under 22 narrowed from 22.3 percentage points to 16.9 points;
  • There was relative consistency in voting rates between students attending two-year, four-year, public or private institutions. Women’s colleges continued to vote at the highest rates among institutional types, but two-year, four-year, public, and private institutions showed consistent upward movement between 2014 and 2018; and,
  • Voting gaps between disciplines persisted in 2018. Turnout among students in STEM fields, as well as those majoring in business, lag behind students studying the humanities, social sciences, and education.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Justice Nails PAC Scamster

In Defying the Odds, we discuss the conservative movementThe update -- recently published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.

Eric Hoffer wrote: "What starts out here as a mass movement ends up as a racket, a cult or a corporation."  The conservative movement is a case in point.

Maggie Severns and Derek Willis at Politico:
In one of the first Justice Department cases of its kind, Maryland political consultant Kelley Rogers pled guilty to wire fraud on Tuesday for operating multiple fraudulent political action committees that raised money from donors for conservative causes but kept much of the funds for Rogers and his associates.
Rogers’ arrest and indictment took place shortly after Politico and ProPublica investigated one of Rogers’ PACs, Conservative Majority Fund, which since 2012 has raised close to $10 million — mostly from small-dollar donors, many of them elderly -- while giving out just $48,400 to politicians.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Selfies

 In Defying the Oddswe discuss the role of social media in the 2016 campaign.    The update  -- recently published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.  

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Trump on Facebook

In Defying the Oddswe discuss social mediafake news, and Russian involvement in the 2016 campaign  The update  -- recently published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.  

At Now This,  Judd Legum talks about Trump and Facebook:

Monday, September 16, 2019

Demon Mitch

In Defying the Odds, we discuss state and congressional elections as well as the presidential race. The update -- recently published -- looks at political and demographic trends through the 2018 midterm.

Alayna Treene at Politico:
Pelosi believes there is a ceiling on how much the party can shift public opinion on Trump, the aides say, noting that his approval rating has remained steady over the last several months.
  • But demonizing McConnell "is something even the more moderate Democrats can glom onto," one aide said. "He's seen as the face of obstruction and Trump’s enabler in the Senate. It's easy to message against him."
Details: Over the next few months, Pelosi will be hyper-focused on McConnell and "his refusal to pass meaningful legislation," per the Democratic leadership aides. The Senate's inaction on gun violence is a particularly effective example, they add.
  • Another benefit of the strategy, in their view, is that it creates a fresher way for the caucus to pivot to their own legislative achievements: "Their message of ‘look at all the things we’re passing' was falling flat," a Democratic congressional aide said.
  • By focusing on McConnell and Senate Republicans' blocking tactics, the aide said, House Democrats can "tout the good they’ve done and also helps show the importance of Dems taking back the Senate.”