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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Two Different Ways of Talking




Now I happen to differ with those who categorize the journalists I know, and others, as a different kind of American. I prefer to consider everyone on his or her merits and to treat each one of them as I would expect to be treated if our jobs were reversed. I think this is the way we have to deal with one another, whether it is a politician and the news media, or a politician and a constituent, or a competitor in one business or another.
And although I have had a lot of adversaries in my lifetime in the political arena, to my knowledge I have no enemies, nor will I ever have a list of enemies in this White House that I now occupy.
Now there are four of us on the platform who have had a few years, if you total them all up, in political life. And Marshall Parker, of course, was in your State legislature and is seeking election to the Congress of the United States. And if I might just say one nice thing in addition about Marshall, he is the kind of guy I would like to have in the House of Representatives.

But the point I was trying to make is that between the Governor and Strom [Thurmond] and Fritz [Hollings] and Marshall and myself, we have been exposed to the press, and I suspect all of us in one way or another have been criticized by the press. I am not sure any one of us like it particularly.
But what is more important, I would be more concerned if the press of this country were not free to criticize me or the others that I have mentioned.

Identity Politics

Bill Clinton did not practice identity politics in 1992; nor did Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. Nor have most Republicans. Some liberals have charged that Trump’s campaign was based on “white” identity politics. I consider that to be a case of either grammatical sloppiness or projection. Trump did have a following among fringe groups that extol and defend whiteness, and liberal cryptographers were able to find occasional twitter statements and the like that spoke to these groups, but Trump’s campaign was thematically centered on the slogan “Make America Great Again.” Its appeal was nationalist. When I explained this to one interviewer, he responded, “But nationalism is a form of identity politics.” That’s a misuse of the term. It’s allowing “identity” to go on a linguistic holiday. Is a concern about global warming planetary identity politics?
In Clinton’s case, even when she tried to sum up her campaign thematically, she invoked identity politics. “Stronger together” and “inclusivity” conjured up an image of the different groups gathered together and stronger together than they were by themselves. I am not going to repeat arguments here that this kind of identity politics is not a path to a Democratic majority – the results are clear in Clinton’s failure to defeat a remarkably flawed Republican opponent. In this brief note, I just want to make clear that it’s not an adequate response to the critics of this politics to say, as the editors of Vox do, that all politics is identity politics.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Clinton, Then and Now

Todd S. Purdum writes at Politico:
By 2016, spurred by anger at Wall Street, and at Washington gridlock and business as usual, the Democratic Party had moved well to the left of the one Bill Clinton had inherited in 1992. And while Hillary Clinton recognized the change intellectually, she seemed unable to catch up to the practical realities of its political implications for her campaign. She embraced bold approaches on hot-button issues like immigration and gun control that would have been shocking for a Democrat in her husband’s day, and accepted what was arguably the most liberal Democratic Party platform in history, but that never seemed to be enough to satisfy younger voters, especially. “People thought she’d been conceived in Goldman Sachs’ trading desk,” says one veteran Clinton aide, noting the irony that this was millennial voters’ jaded view of a woman often seen in the 1990s as reflexively more liberal than her husband.

“Part of the problem is that there have just been lots and lots of changes in America in the past 25 years,” says Elaine Kamarck, who was a senior domestic policy adviser in Bill Clinton’s White House and is now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. “There were just a lot of cultural issues that were relevant for Bill that were gone by the time Hillary’s campaign came along, because by and large they’d been resolved or defused.”

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Religion and the Democrats

At The Atlantic, Emma Green speaks with Michael Wear, former director of Barack Obama’s 2012 faith-outreach efforts.
Some of his colleagues also didn’t understand his work, he writes. He once drafted a faith-outreach fact sheet describing Obama’s views on poverty, titling it “Economic Fairness and the Least of These,” a reference to a famous teaching from Jesus in the Bible. Another staffer repeatedly deleted “the least of these,” commenting, “Is this a typo? It doesn’t make any sense to me. Who/what are ‘these’?”
The reasons why evangelicals voted for Trump:
It shows not just ineptitude, but the ignorance of Democrats in not even pretending to give these voters a reason to vote for them. We also need to have a robust conversation about the support or allowance for racism, misogyny, and Islamophobia in the evangelical tradition.
Why do liberals fail at outreach?
 [There's] a religious illiteracy problem in the Democratic Party. It’s tied to the demographics of the country: More 20- and 30-year-olds are taking positions of power in the Democratic Party. They grew up in parts of the country where navigating religion was not important socially and not important to their political careers. This is very different from, like, James Carville in Louisiana in the ’80s. James Carville is not the most religious guy, but he gets religious people—if you didn’t get religious people running Democratic campaigns in the South in the ’80s, you wouldn’t win.
On abortion:
The Democratic Party used to welcome people who didn’t support abortion into the party. We are now so far from that, it’s insane.
Persuading seculars to appeal to the religious:
 There are reports that high-level Democratic leadership was not interested in reaching out to white Catholics. And they sure didn’t have a lot of interest in white evangelicals. That’s a huge portion of the electorate to throw out. So if the civic motivation doesn’t get you, let me make the practical argument: It doesn’t help you win elections if you’re openly disdainful toward the driving force in many Americans’ lives.



Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Democratic Crackup Over Israel

In a harsh rebuke of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, Secretary of State John Kerry declared on Wednesday that the United States cannot “allow a viable two-state solution to be destroyed before our eyes.’’
House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer offered a pre-buttal:
"I urged the Administration to veto the recently passed U.N. Security Council resolution regarding Israel and settlements. Unfortunately, they failed to do so, and Israel's enemies were strengthened.

"As Ambassador Power pointed out in her statement on the U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334 on the situation in the Middle East, '...as long as Israel has been a member of this institution, Israel has been treated differently from other nations at the United Nations.' 2016 was no exception, and there were more resolutions regarding Israel than there were regarding Syria, North Korea, Iran, South Sudan, and Russia combined.
"Now, it is my understanding that Secretary Kerry, in the last few days of this Administration, intends to outline the parameters of an agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. This flies in the face of the United States's longstanding position that such a formulation should be reached only through negotiations by the parties and not by the United States, the United Nations, or any other third party.
"I urge Secretary Kerry and the Administration not to set forth a formula, which will inevitably disadvantage Israel in any negotiation. The United States must now take steps to signal unequivocally to the entire world that we will continue to stand by our ally Israel as it seeks to build a future of peace and safety as a Jewish state and an equal member of the family of nations."
On Friday, Jeremy Berke wrote at Business Insider:
Congressional Democrats issued scathing statements aimed at the Obama administration over the US's abstention from a Friday UN Security Council vote demanding Israel stop building settlements in occupied Palestinian territory.
Leading Democrats from both houses called out the UN as an inappropriate venue for rejuvenating the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians. They objected to the Obama administration's departure from what they view as decades of established US policy of vetoing UN resolutions regarding Israeli settlements.
Incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said it was "extremely frustrating, disappointing and confounding" that the Obama administration failed to veto the UN's vote.

Schumer called out the UN as a "fervently" anti-Israel body, since the days of "Zionism is racism."

Home Values and the 2016 Election

At The Wall Street Journal, Laura Kusisto reports on trends in home values:
Much of the spoils have been concentrated on the high end. A study by Weiss Analytics, a housing-data firm, found homes in ZIP Codes where the median value is $500,000 to $1 million are now worth 103% more than they were 16 years ago, before a boom in the mid-2000s was followed by the worst housing crash since the Great Depression. Home prices in those areas have shot up 39% since the bust.
Yet many places around the U.S. missed out on the recent boom, with prices remaining essentially flat during the same period. In ZIP Codes where the median home was worth $100,000 to $150,000, prices have risen 16% since the trough of the market and are now worth 24% more than they were in 2000.
The contrast offers one explanation for the frustration building in the mostly rural, middle-American areas that helped propel Donald Trump to victory in the presidential election. In counties that voted for Mr. Trump, home prices have been largely flat for the past 15 years, according to a county-by-county analysis of home values and voting patterns by real-estate tracker Zillow.
In areas that went for Hillary Clinton—mostly coastal urban areas such as California’s major markets—home values plunged from 2006-2012 but have roared back since.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Trump's Economic Worldview

Ben White reports at Politico:
“He’s likely to be unsuccessful on any sort of broad increase in U.S. manufacturing jobs,” said James Pethokoukis, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. “That line may blip up or down based on how the economy is doing but these are long-term trends that aren’t likely to change.”

Trump transition officials did not respond to a request for comment on how the administration would measure economic success.

In the face of all these challenges, Trump could simply use anecdotal examples of new manufacturing and coal industry jobs, seize on any further increase in wages, decide the jobless rate is now legitimate and declare victory.

“The president-elect judges his own personal wealth based on his own feelings,” Pethokoukis said. “So on any given day, he could just decide based on his feelings that America is great.”
Back in March, Adam Davidson wrote at The New York Times:
As an economic journalist, when trying to explain the idea of rent-seeking, I have always used one quintessential example from the United States — a sector in which markets don’t function, in which excess profits are held by a few. That world is Manhattan real estate development. Twenty-three square miles in area, Manhattan contains roughly 854,000 housing units. But there are many more people than that who want to own property there. A Manhattan pied-à-terre has long been a globally recognized sign of wealth and status — especially in recent years, as billionaires the world over have come to see a Manhattan condo, even one rarely visited, as a vessel for laundered wealth or a hedge against political upheaval at home.
Manhattan real estate development is about as far as it is possible to get, within the United States, from that Econ 101 notion of mutually beneficial transactions. This is not a marketplace characterized by competition and dynamism; instead, Manhattan real estate looks an awful lot more like a Middle Eastern rentier economy. It is a hereditary system. We talk about families, not entrepreneurs. A handful of families have dominated the city’s real estate development for decades: Speyer, Tishman, Durst, Fisher, Malkin, Milstein, Resnick, LeFrak, Rose, Zeckendorf. Having grown up in Manhattan myself, I think of these names the way I heard Middle Easterners speak of the great sheikhs who ran big families in Jordan, Iraq and Syria. These are people of immense power and influence, but their actual skills and abilities are opaque. They do, however, make ‘‘deals.’’
In recent weeks, hearing Trump talk, I’ve realized that his economic worldview is entirely coherent. It makes sense. He is not just a rent-seeker himself; his whole worldview is based on a rent-seeking vision of the economy, in which there’s a fixed amount of wealth that can only be redistributed, never grow. It is a world­view that makes perfect sense for the son of a New York real estate tycoon who grew up to be one, too. Everything he has gotten — as he proudly brags — came from cutting deals. Accepting the notion of a zero-sum world, he set out to grab more than his share. And his policies would push the American economy to conform with that worldview.

Democratic Troubles

At his last press conference, President Obama said:
And I think that that the thing we have to spend the most time on -- because it's the thing we have the most control over -- is how do we make sure that we are showing up in places where I think Democratic policies are needed, where they are helping, where they are making a difference, but where people feel as if they're not being heard and where Democrats are characterized as coastal, liberal, latte-sipping, politically-correct, out-of-touch folks. We have to be in those communities. And I've seen that when we are in those communities, it makes a difference.

That's how I became President. I became a U.S. senator not just because I had a strong base in Chicago, but because I was driving around downstate Illinois and going to fish frys and sitting in VFW halls and talking to farmers. And I didn't win every one of their votes, but they got a sense of what I was talking about, what I cared about, that I was for working people, that I was for the middle class, that the reason I was interested in strengthening unions, and raising the minimum wage, and rebuilding our infrastructure, and making sure that parents had decent childcare and family leave was because my own family's history wasn't that different from theirs, even if I looked a little bit different. Same thing in Iowa.

And so the question is, how do we rebuild that party as a whole so that there's not a county in any state -- I don't care how red -- that we don't have a presence and we're not making the argument. Because I think we have the better argument. But that requires a lot of work. It's been something that I've been able to do successfully in my own campaigns. It is not something I've been able to transfer to candidates in midterms and sort of build a sustaining organization around. That's something that I would have liked to have done more of, but it's kind of hard to do when you're also dealing with a whole bunch of issues here in the White House.
At Politico, 2016 congressional candidates Thomas Mills reports that the national party organization gave him the back of its hand:
I’ve spent 20 years working on political campaigns, and the political organization I encountered in 2016 was an utter disappointment. Back in the ’90s when I started out, the DCCC was tasked with contesting as many races as possible and providing staff, training and direction to the campaigns in the field. Today, they’re narrowly focused on a small number of highly targeted races. Other campaigns get little attention or support.

Democrats need to be sharper going into the next election cycle. With a 50-plus seat deficit in the House, the party will have to win more than just the most competitive seats. They’ll probably need a wave in which they figure out how to win some longshot races. That won’t happen unless the party actively recruits good candidates around the country and treats them with respect and encouragement. And it also won’t happen unless the party provides campaigns—especially in the toughest districts—with the training, support and infrastructure to create or take advantage of opportunities.




Monday, December 26, 2016

The Pragmatist

At The Washington Post, James Hohmann asked Gingrich: Can you see a President Trump getting on board with something on criminal justice reform?
Gingrich: Yeah, sure. … This is one of the things that’ll drive Washington crazy: he’s a pragmatist. He’s a fallback to what William James said was the one uniquely American contribution to philosophy: he actually thinks facts ought to drive theory, where he’s coming to a city where theory, of course, restates facts.
Jonah Goldberg writes that Trump is the most pragmatic, least ideological president since Nixon:
 “No, it’s not going to be the Trump doctrine,” Trump said in April. “Because in life, you have to be flexible. You have to have flexibility. You have to change. You know, you may say one thing and then the following year you want to change it, because circumstances are different.” 
A few days later, he told his supporters in California, “Folks, I’m a conservative, but at this point, who cares? We got to straighten out the country.”
His surrogates echoed the sentiment. Investor Carl Icahn assured voters that “Donald is a pragmatist. He’s going to do what’s needed for this economy.” Hedge fund mogul Anthony Scaramucci wrote in the Wall Street Journal: “What elitists misinterpret as uneven principles, entrepreneurs understand as adaptability. . . . Mr. Trump would be the greatest pragmatist and deal maker Washington has ever seen.”

Sunday, December 25, 2016

The People He Has Around Him

The choice of servants is of no little importance to a prince, and they are good or not according to the discrimination of the prince. And the first opinion which one forms of a prince, and of his understanding, is by observing the men he has around him; and when they are capable and faithful he may always be considered wise, because he has known how to recognize the capable and to keep them faithful. But when they are otherwise one cannot form a good opinion of him, for the prime error which he made was in choosing them.
-- Machiavelli
The character of Trump's subordinates says a lot.

Rick Schapiro reports at The New York Daily News that Jason Miller abruptly gave up the post of White House communications director   He had said he wanted to spend more time with his family.
But AJ Delgado, a senior advisor in Trump’s transition team, posted several tweets hinting that Miller was at the center of a sex scandal.
“Congratulations to the baby-daddy on being named WH Comms Director!” she wrote in one now-deleted tweet.

“The 2016 version of John Edwards,” she wrote in another, referring to the disgraced ex-Democratic senator who fathered a child with his mistress.
 “When people need to resign graciously and refuse to, it’s a bit...spooky,” she tweeted.
A Twitter follower asked who she was referring to. “Jason Miller. Who needed to resign...yesterday,” she replied.
Delgado later deleted her Twitter account.
Miller and Delgado have been the subject of salacious headlines once before.

The pair were reportedly among a trio of Trump senior advisors who spent the night before the third and final presidential debate partying at a Las Vegas strip club.
Ben Jacobs reports at The Guardian:
Donald Trump will appoint a real estate lawyer with minimal experience of foreign relations as his special representative for international negotiations, a role that involves overseeing negotiations between Israelis and the Palestinians.

Jason Greenblatt, who served as Trump’s top adviser on Israel policy during the campaign along with fellow lawyer David Friedman, will take on the role in the president-elect’s administration. Friedman has already been announced as Trump’s controversial pick for ambassador to Israel.
...
Aside from his work for Trump, Greenblatt practiced law at the firm of Fried Frank, Harris, Shriver and Jacobson, and also formed a business called The Credit Workshop in 1992 with his brother, Joseph Greenblatt, who is currently serving up to 18 years in New York prison for fraud. The father of six also runs a parenting blog with his wife, Naomi.
 David Kocieniewski  and Peter Robison report at Bloomberg:
Donald Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn, partnered this year with a controversial technology company co-run by a man once convicted of trying to sell stolen biotech material to the Russian KGB espionage agency.

Subu Kota, who pleaded guilty in 1996 to selling the material to an FBI agent posing as a Russian spy, is one of two board directors at the company, Boston-based Brainwave Science. During years of federal court proceedings, prosecutors presented evidence they said showed that between 1985 and 1990 Kota met repeatedly with a KGB agent and was part of a spy ring that made hundreds of thousands of dollars selling U.S. missile defense technology to Russian spies. Kota denied being part of a spy ring, reached a plea agreement in the biotech case and admitted to selling a sketch of a military helicopter to his co-defendant, who was later convicted of being a KGB operative.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Obama Was a Problem for the Democrats

At AP, Lisa Lerer reports that the Obama team seldom mentions one key stat: more than 1,030 seats -- the number of governorships, and congressional and state legislative seats that Democrats lost during Obama's tenure.
"What's happened on the ground is that voters have been punishing Democrats for eight solid years — it's been exhausting," said South Carolina state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, who lost two gubernatorial campaigns to Nikki Haley, President-elect Donald Trump's pick for ambassador to the U.N. "If I was talking about a local or state issue, voters would always lapse back into a national topic: Barack Obama."
...
After this year's elections, Democrats hold the governor's office and both legislative chambers in just five coastal states: Oregon, California, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Delaware. Republicans have the trifecta in 25, giving them control of a broad swath of the middle of the country.
Obama was not good at party-building.
It's a political reality that Obama has only been willing to acknowledge publicly after his party's devastating November losses. He's admitted he failed to createemoc "a sustaining organization" around the political force that twice elected him to office.
"That's something I would have liked to have done more of, but it's kind of hard to do when you're also dealing with a whole bunch of issues here in the White House," he said at his year-end press conference.
Maybe DWS was not the smartest choice to head DNC.
State parties languished and the Democratic National Committee struggled with dysfunction and debt.
"We built this beautiful house, but the foundation is rotten," said South Carolina Democratic Chairman Jaime Harrison, a candidate to lead the Democratic National Committee. "In hindsight we should have looked at this and said, 'Maybe the state parties should be strong.'"

Friday, December 23, 2016

A Reality Problem, Not a Messaging Problem

At The New York Times, Stanley and Anna Greenberg write that President Obama "declined to really spend time and capital explaining his initiatives in an effective way. He believed that positive changes on the ground, especially from economic policies and the Affordable Care Act, would succeed, vindicating his judgment and marginalizing his opponents."

This argument does not make much sense.  Obama spent a great deal of time explaining his policies. The problem is that the explanations did not track with reality. PolitiFact found 37 instances in which President Barack Obama or a top administration official said something like, “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan,” referring to health insurance.  Former Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said in 2014: Obama “should never have said as much as he did, that if you like your current health care plan, you can keep it. That wasn't true. And you shouldn't lie to people. And they just lied to people.”

Foreign policy presents a darker picture.  Aleppo has fallen.  Leon Wiesltier writes:
Contemplating the extermination of Aleppo and its people, I was reminded of a sentence that I read this summer. It appeared in an encomium to Elie Wiesel shortly after his death. It was a sterling sentence. It declared: “We must never be bystanders to injustice or indifferent to suffering.” That was Wiesel’s teaching, exactly. The problem with the sentence is that it was issued by the White House and attributed to President Obama. And so the sentence was not at all sterling. It was outrageously hypocritical.
I wrote in CQ Researcher:
In 2009, Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize. The award was not for his accomplishments — he had served for only a few weeks — but instead reflected the hope that he would make a real difference for the cause of world peace. The data suggest otherwise. Between 2010 and 2015, fatalities in armed conflicts around the globe more than tripled, from 49,000 to 167,000. Obviously, the president was not to blame for all of this bloodshed, but in some places he bore at least some responsibility. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof writes that “allowing Syria's civil war and suffering to drag on unchallenged has been his worst mistake, casting a shadow over his legacy.”
Proverbs 25:14 provides an epitaph for the Obama presidency: “Like clouds and wind without rain is one who boasts of gifts never given.”

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Upscale Dems Are a Barrier to Progressive Populism

Thomas B. Edsall writes at The New York Times:
Mark Muro, the director of the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings, analyzed the differences between those communities that supported Hillary Clinton and those that backed Donald Trump. The findings of Muro and Sifan Liu, a Brookings research assistant, suggest that Democrats who are calling for a return to progressive populism will encounter more hurdles than they expect.
In their Nov. 29 essay, “Another Clinton-Trump divide: High-output America vs low-output America,” Muro and Liu determined that:
The less-than-500 counties that Hillary Clinton carried nationwide encompassed a massive 64 percent of America’s economic activity as measured by total output in 2015.
In other words, the Clinton counties are the ones in which the economy is booming; they are hardly fertile territory for a worker insurrection.Muro enlarged on his findings in an email:
America’s most important, competitive, and often export-intensive industries — what we call its “advanced” industries — cluster tightly in such metro counties. Some 70 percent of these crown-jewel industries are concentrated in the 100-largest metros — the core of what Hillary won.
In a separate February 2015 study, “America’s Advanced Industries,” Muro and four colleagues report that the 50 industries in this heavily high-tech sector are crucial to America’s future growth:
These industries encompass the nation’s “tech” sector at its broadest and most consequential. Their dynamism is going to be a central component of any future revitalized U.S. economy. As such, these industries encompass the country’s best shot at supporting innovative, inclusive, and sustainable growth.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Chilling the House GOP

Rachel Bade reports at Politico:
Since the election, numerous congressional Republicans have refused to publicly weigh in on any Trump proposal at odds with Republican orthodoxy, from his border wall to his massive infrastructure package. The most common reason, stated repeatedly but always privately: They're afraid of being attacked by Breitbart or other big-name Trump supporters.
"Nobody wants to go first," said Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), who received nasty phone calls, letters and tweets after he penned an August op-ed in The New York Times, calling on Trump to release his tax returns. "People are naturally reticent to be the first out of the block for fear of Sean Hannity, for fear of Breitbart, for fear of local folks."
An editor at Breitbart, formerly run by senior Trump adviser Steve Bannon, said that fear is well-founded.
“If any politician in either party veers from what the voters clearly voted for in a landslide election … we stand at the ready to call them out on it and hold them accountable,” the person said.

Republican Hill staffers have wrestled in recent months with how to respond to inquiries from Breitbart or other pro-Trump bloggers. Engage them or ignore them? One GOP aide told POLITICO members are “damned if you do, damned if you don't." Another said it's having a "chilling effect" on GOP lawmakers.
And they've co-opted the ones they haven't chilled.  Tim Alberta reports at National Review:
[Mick] Mulvaney is one of them. In June, he conceded there had been surprisingly little conservative opposition to Trump, but promised that Freedom Caucus members would hold the Republican nominee to the same standard as Obama — particularly on the issue of executive power. “I’m not concerned about Donald Trump shredding the Constitution, because I know the people who stand in the House between him and the Constitution,” Mulvaney told me at the time. “We’ve been fighting against an imperial presidency for five and a half years. Every time we go to the floor and push back against an overreaching president, we get accused of being partisan at best and racist at worst. When we do it against a Republican president, maybe people will see that it was a principled objection in the first place. So we actually welcome that opportunity. It might actually be fun, being a strict Constitutionalist congressman doing battle with a non-strict-Constitutionalist Republican president.”
Instead, he’s joining Trump’s administration.

Mulvaney was recently named director of the Office of Management and Budget, the powerful agency that supervises and coordinates the government’s financial planning. The week before he was chosen, I asked Mulvaney whether he stood by his promises about congressional Republicans’ holding Trump accountable. He declined to comment, because he was waiting to hear back from New York about the OMB post. Freedom Caucus members — and Ryan, notably — issued ecstatic statements lauding Mulvaney’s selection as a sign of Trump’s commitment to fiscal responsibility.

That’s one way of looking at it. Another way is this: Trump just sidelined one of the House’s most outspoken conservatives, someone who repeatedly stood up to Republican leadership, thereby weakening potential intra-party resistance to his administration’s initiatives.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

"Landslide" Trump is Still 46th


“Today marks a historic electoral landslide victory in our nation’s democracy. I thank the American people for their overwhelming vote to elect me as their next President of the United States. The official votes cast by the Electoral College exceeded the 270 required to secure the presidency by a very large margin, far greater than ever anticipated by the media. This election represents a movement that millions of hard working men and women all across the country stood behind and made possible. With this historic step we can look forward to the bright future ahead. I will work hard to unite our country and be the President of all Americans. Together, we will make America great again.”
Nope, no landslide. Clinton won the popular vote by more than two percent.  With 304 electoral votes, Trump has 56.51 percent of the electoral vote, a slight shrinkage from his immediate postelection total, and still 46th of 58 elections.
Presidential Election Winners, Ranked by Percentage of Electoral Vote 
  1. 1792          George Washington                100%
  2. 1789          George Washington                100%
  3. 1820          James Monroe                         99.57%
  4. 1936          Franklin D. Roosevelt             98.49%
  5. 1984          Ronald Reagan                       97.58%
  6. 1972          Richard Nixon                         96.65%
  7. 1804          Thomas Jefferson                    92.05%
  8. 1864          Abraham Lincoln                    90.99%
  9. 1980          Ronald Reagan                       90.89%
  10. 1964          Lyndon B. Johnson                 90.33%
  11. 1932          Franklin D. Roosevelt             88.89%
  12. 1956          Dwight D. Eisenhower           86.06%
  13. 1852          Franklin Pierce                        85.81%
  14. 1940          Franklin D. Roosevelt             84.56%
  15. 1816          James Monroe                         84.33%
  16. 1928          Herbert Hoover                       83.62%
  17. 1952          Dwight D. Eisenhower           83.24%
  18. 1872          Ulysses S. Grant                     81.95%
  19. 1912          Woodrow Wilson                    81.92%
  20. 1944          Franklin D. Roosevelt             81.36%
  21. 1840          William Henry Harrison          79.59%
  22. 1988          George H. W. Bush                79.18%
  23. 1832          Andrew Jackson                     76.57%
  24. 1920          Warren G. Harding                 76.08%
  25. 1868          Ulysses S. Grant                     72.79%
  26. 1924          Calvin Coolidge                      71.94%
  27. 1904          Theodore Roosevelt                70.59%
  28. 1996          Bill Clinton                             70.45%
  29. 1808          James Madison                        69.71%
  30. 1992          Bill Clinton                             68.77%
  31. 1828          Andrew Jackson                     68.20%
  32. 2008          Barack Obama                        67.84%
  33. 1908          William Howard Taft              66.46%
  34. 1900          William McKinley                   65.32%
  35. 1892          Grover Cleveland                    62.39%
  36. 1844          James K. Polk                         61.82%
  37. 2012          Barack Obama                         61.71%
  38. 1896          William McKinley                   60.63%
  39. 1860          Abraham Lincoln                    59.41%
  40. 1812          James Madison                        58.99%
  41. 1856          James Buchanan                      58.78%
  42. 1888          Benjamin Harrison                  58.10%
  43. 1880          James A. Garfield                   57.99%
  44. 1836          Martin Van Buren                   57.82%
  45. 1948          Harry S. Truman                     57.06%
  46. 2016          Donald Trump                       56.51%
  47. 1960          John F. Kennedy                     56.42%
  48. 1848          Zachary Taylor                        56.21%
  49. 1968          Richard Nixon                          55.95%
  50. 1976          Jimmy Carter                           55.20%
  51. 1884          Grover Cleveland                    54.61%
  52. 2004          George W. Bush                     53.16%
  53. 1800          Thomas Jefferson                    52.90% (tie with Burr, went to House)
  54. 1916          Woodrow Wilson                    52.17%
  55. 1796          John Adams                            51.45%
  56. 2000          George W. Bush                     50.37%
  57. 1876          Rutherford B. Hayes              50.14%
  58. 1824          John Quincy Adams               32.18% (draw, went to House)

Monday, December 19, 2016

Very Little Vote Fraud

Michael Wines reports at The New York Times:
In an election in which more than 137.7 million Americans cast ballots, election and law enforcement officials in 26 states and the District of Columbia — Democratic-leaning, Republican-leaning and in-between — said that so far they knew of no credible allegations of fraudulent voting. Officials in another eight states said they knew of only one allegation.
A few states reported somewhat larger numbers of fraud claims that were under review. Tennessee counted 40 credible allegations out of some 4.3 million primary and general election votes. In Georgia, where more than 4.1 million ballots were cast, officials said they had opened 25 inquiries into “suspicious voting or election-related activity.”
But inquiries to all 50 states (every one but Kansas responded) found no states that reported indications of widespread fraud. And while additional allegations could surface as states wind up postelection reviews, their conclusions are unlikely to change significantly.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Trump Flips Off Congressional GOP

At The New York Times, Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns report that Mitch McConnell had been courting Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) to run against Senator Jon Tester.  But Trump had different ideas.
Mr. McConnell learned early this week that Mr. Trump had grown interested in Mr. Zinke to be secretary of the interior. Mr. McConnell quickly contacted both Vice President-elect Mike Pence and Reince Priebus, the incoming White House chief of staff, in an effort to head off the appointment, according to multiple Republican officials familiar with the calls.
Mr. Trump was not moved. He was so taken with Mr. Zinke during their meeting on Monday at Trump Tower that he offered him the position. Mr. Trump’s son Donald Jr. quashed a competing candidate, Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington State, because of her support for selling off public land, a senior Republican official said.
. Mr. Trump’s defiant selection of Mr. Zinke, 55, dismayed Republicans in the capital and raised suspicions about how reliable an ally he will be for the party. Even as Mr. Trump has installed party stalwarts in a few cabinet departments, he has repeatedly shrugged off the requests of Republicans who have asked for help reinforcing their power in Congress.
Trump's camp had earlier floated the name of Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), chair of the House GOP Conference.
With just one appointment, Mr. Trump snubbed the highest-ranking Republican woman in the House, Ms. McMorris Rodgers, imperiled the party’s chances in a key Senate race and likely triggered a special election for Mr. Zinke’s House seat.
...
House and Senate Republicans had little warning about the decision to select Mr. Zinke and pass over Ms. McMorris Rodgers. Indeed, some House Republican leadership aides believed that Ms. McMorris Rodgers already had the job in hand.
But Donald J. Trump has never been a party guy. In June, as CNN reported, he made his attitude clear:
Donald Trump slammed GOP leaders on Wednesday for not lining up behind him, implying that he's willing to go forward without their help.
"We have to have our Republicans either stick together or let me just do it by myself. I'll do very well. I'm going to do very well. OK? I'm going to do very well. A lot of people thought I should do that anyway, but I'll just do it very nicely by myself," Trump said, though he did not elaborate on what doing it "by myself" would mean.
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee also accused his party's leaders of being weak and told them to "please be quiet."

Saturday, December 17, 2016

A Good Year for Incumbents

Kyle Kondik and Geoffrey Skelley write at Rasmussen:
With Republican Sen.-elect John Kennedy’s triumph in the Louisiana runoff last weekend, victories by two other Republicans in Louisiana House races, and Gov. Pat McCrory’s (R) concession last week to Gov.-elect Roy Cooper (D) in North Carolina, the winners of 2016’s House, Senate, and gubernatorial races are now set. This allows us to do a little housekeeping. Kennedy’s win confirms that this is the first cycle in the history of popular Senate elections that every state that held a Senate election in a presidential cycle voted for the same party for both president and for Senate (34 for 34 this year). Also, finalizing these results permits us to give a final assessment of our down-ballot Crystal Ball projections for 2016: We picked 32 of 34 Senate races correctly, along with 10 of 12 gubernatorial races and 428/435 House races.
Looking over the down-ballot outcome, there’s one inescapable conclusion in a year that was defined by a political outsider, Donald Trump, winning the presidency: It was still a really good year to run as an incumbent in 2016, all things considered.
This election cycle, 393 of 435 House representatives, 29 of 34 senators, and five of 12 governors sought reelection (several of the governors were prohibited from seeking another term). Of those, 380 of 393 House members (97%), 27 of 29 senators (93%), and four of five governors (80%) won another term. These members of Congress and governors not only won renomination, but also won in November.
See the chart at OpenSecrets 

Friday, December 16, 2016

Outstate

At AEI, Michael Barone writes:
  • Hillary Clinton lost the election because of voting results in the outstate Midwest—counties beyond the region’s million-plus metro areas.
  • The 50 electoral votes Donald Trump captured in Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin were responsible for his victory.
  • In the future, the 2016 election results might draw more politicians’ attention to voters in the previously disregarded outstate Midwest.
At The Washington Examiner, he wrote a couple of weeks ago:
These are all places with many non-college whites and few blacks, Hispanics or Asians. Trump's stands on trade and immigration — distinctly different from those of other Republicans — were surely partly responsible for his outstate margins, and it seems unlikely another Republican nominee could have matched them.
Two other factors were in play, factors which led to sharp Democratic gains in these same areas in the 1970s. One was honesty: The outstate Midwest recoiled against Richard Nixon's Republicans in the Watergate years and against Clinton email lawbreaking and lies. That helped Trump, and probably would have helped any other Republican nominee.
The other factor is dovishness. The upper Midwest has long been the most isolationist part of the country. In the 1970s, voters there reacted against Republicans' support of the Vietnam War. This year, they seem to have moved toward Trump, who opposed military interventions supported by other Republicans. It seems unlikely another Republican nominee could have duplicated this appeal.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Whites Lost Jobs

Thomas B. Edsall writes at The New York Times:
Eduardo Porter, a Times colleague, raised the same basic issue in a column earlier this week, “Where Were Trump’s Votes? Where the Jobs Weren’t.” Porter wrote that
less-educated white voters had a solid economic rationale for voting against the status quo — nearly all the gains from the economic recovery have passed them by.
Since Nov. 7, 2007, according to Porter, Hispanics have gained nearly 5 million jobs, African-Americans and Asian-Americans have each gained over 2 million jobs, but whites have lost nearly 1 million jobs. Those job losses were heavily concentrated in those Rust Belt and, relatively speaking, more rural states where Trump racked up his Electoral College win.
The credibility of the Democratic Party generally among Trump voters is at an all-time low, as Democratic candidates discovered on Nov. 8.
This Democratic vulnerability was explored in depth by Katherine Cramer, a political scientist at the University of Wisconsin, in a book on voters in that state, “The Politics of Resentment,” which came out in March. In her study, Cramer described the three elements of “rural consciousness”:
First, a belief that rural areas are ignored by decision makers, including policy makers, second, a perception that rural areas do not get their fair share of resources, and third a sense that rural folks have fundamentally distinct values and lifestyles, which are misunderstood and disrespected by city folks.
The result, she argues, is the creation of a rural identity “infused with a sense of distributive injustice,” much of it focused on liberal policies directing tax dollars to urban racial minorities.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Hack

At The New York Times, Eric Lipton, David E. Sanger, and Scott Shane report on how the Russians used cyberwar to help Trump:
An examination by The Times of the Russian operation — based on interviews with dozens of players targeted in the attack, intelligence officials who investigated it and Obama administration officials who deliberated over the best response — reveals a series of missed signals, slow responses and a continuing underestimation of the seriousness of the cyberattack.
...
By last summer, Democrats watched in helpless fury as their private emails and confidential documents appeared online day after day — procured by Russian intelligence agents, posted on WikiLeaks and other websites, then eagerly reported on by the American media, including The Times. Mr. Trump gleefully cited many of the purloined emails on the campaign trail.
The fallout included the resignations of Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, the chairwoman of the D.N.C., and most of her top party aides. Leading Democrats were sidelined at the height of the campaign, silenced by revelations of embarrassing emails or consumed by the scramble to deal with the hacking. Though little-noticed by the public, confidential documents taken by the Russian hackers from the D.N.C.’s sister organization, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, turned up in congressional races in a dozen states, tainting some of them with accusations of scandal.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Swamp Thing

Isaac Arnsdorft reports at Politico:
Former government officials are lining up to vouch for ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Donald Trump’s secretary of state, and they all have something in common — a financial stake in the outcome.
James Baker, the George H.W. Bush secretary of state who, MSNBC reported, advised Donald Trump to pick Tillerson, is a partner at a law firm that has represented Exxon as well as Rosneft, the Russian state-owned oil company that partners with Exxon.

The Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Rosneft’s chairman, a close Vladimir Putin ally named Igor Sechin, in 2014 in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
The firm, Baker Botts (named for Baker’s great-grandfather), also represents Gazprom, the Russian state gas company.
Baker’s direct relationship with the companies isn’t clear, but his practice specializes in cross-border transactions, and as a partner in the firm, he probably profits from the range of its clients. He didn’t answer requests for comment.
Tillerson, who was formally nominated by Trump on Tuesday morning, also came recommended by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates. They also work for Exxon through their international consulting firm, Rice Hadley Gates.
Rice and the firm also didn’t answer requests for comment. A Trump transition spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Arnsdorf also reports:
Bob Dole’s lobbying Donald Trump on Taiwan went far beyond a congratulatory phone call from Taiwan’s president.
Dole, the only past Republican presidential nominee to endorse Trump before the election, briefed the campaign’s policy director, set up meetings between campaign staff and Taiwanese emissaries, arranged for Taiwan’s delegation to attend the Republican National Convention, and helped tilt the party platform further in the island’s favor, a lobbying disclosure document filed with the Justice Department and released to POLITICO shows. He even arranged for members of Taiwan’s ruling party to take a White House tour, according to the filing.

Taiwan paid the 93-year-old Dole and his law firm, Alston & Bird, $140,000 between May and October, according to the new disclosure. His spokeswoman declined to comment.

Monday, December 12, 2016

"Why Wasn't This Brought Up Before Election?"

Homeland Security chair: I told Donald Trump that Russia was behind hacks 
-- CBS, October 26
Mike Pence Contradicts Trump, Says Russia Behind Hacks

Trump Told Russia To Blame for Hacks Long Before Debate
-- NBC, October 11

U.S. government officially accuses Russia of hacking campaign to interfere with elections

-- Washington Post, October 7

U.S. Says Russia Directed Hacks to Influence Elections
-- New York Times, October 7

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Transition Items

Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson is reportedly Trump's choice for secretary of state. Elise Viebeck reports at The Washington Post:
President-elect Donald Trump said he does not believe the CIA’s conclusion that Russia intervened in the election to help him win, attributing the assessment to Democrats who supported Hillary Clinton and claiming repeatedly that the U.S. intelligence community has “no idea” what might have happened.
“I think it’s ridiculous,” Trump said in an interview with “Fox News Sunday,” his first Sunday show appearance since the election last month. “I think it’s just another excuse. I don’t believe it . . . No, I don’t believe it at all.”
Trump also denied the importance of receiving the daily intelligence briefing, a tradition for presidents and presidents-elect. He has received the briefings only sporadically since winning the election.
“I get it when I need it,” he said. “I’m, like, a smart person. I don’t have to be told the same thing in the same words every single day for the next eight years.”
...

Trump declined to confirm whom he will name secretary of state but lavished praise on his expected pick, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, calling him a “world-class player” and even alluding to Tillerson’s ties to Russia, which are a source of concern for hawkish Republicans on Capitol Hill.
“He’s in charge of an oil company that’s pretty much double the size of his next serious competitor,” Trump said of Tillerson. “It’s been a company that’s been unbelievably managed. And to me, a great advantage is he knows many of the players, and he knows them well. He does massive deals in Russia. He does massive deals for the company.”
Exxon is not necessarily a conservative favorite:



Michael Isikoff reports at Yahoo that a business and lobbying partner of Manafort is helping plan the inauguration. 
The business partner, Rick Gates, was not mentioned in the Trump transition team’s Nov. 15 public announcement naming the members of the inaugural committee. But behind the scenes Gates is serving as the chief deputy to Thomas Barrack, the private equity investor and close friend of Trump who is inaugural chairman, the sources said. One described him as in effect the “shadow” chair of the event, involved in everything from raising the $50 million to $75 million the Inaugural committee is seeking to the selection of entertainers.
...
As first reported by Yahoo News, Gates also was a co-investor with Manafort in a $26.2 million business deal with Oleg Deripaska, a billionaire Russian aluminum baron who had been barred by the FBI from entering the United States due to alleged ties to Russian organized crime. Deripaska later initiated legal action against both men in the Cayman Islands, alleging in court papers they had “simply disappeared” when his lawyers sought to liquidate their joint investment in 2014 and sought to question them about what happened to his funds.
Barrack worked for the law firm of Nixon's personal lawyer, Herb Kalmbach, Says Roger Stone, “John Dean told prosecutors that Attorney General John Mitchell had recruited California lawyer Herb Kalmbach to raise hush money for the Watergate burglars.” Kalmbach had a direct relationship with Nixon campaign aide Herbert Porter, who according to the Senate Watergate Committee Report, paid Stone to undermine the Democrats and the candidacy of anti-war Republican Pete McCloskey.In 2004, Barrack lent money to Manafort’s wife, Kathleen, secured by a lien on property belonging to the Manaforts. Manafort’s clients have also included the Lebanese arms dealer Abdul Rahman el-Assir.  In 1982, Barrack had arranged for the sale of Edwin Meese 3d’s California home while Meese was in the Reagan White House. Just five months later, the Administration appointed Barrack as a deputy undersecretary of the Interior Department. But he resigned in August 1983. During Meese’s confirmation hearings for Attorney General, Meese and Barrack each denied any connection between the Meese house sale and Barrack’s Interior Department appointment.
====================

Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan confirmed rumors that U.S. President-elect Donald Trump was considering building luxury hotels and resorts in Taiwan’s Taoyuan City, according to media reports Wednesday.
A woman working for the Trump Organization came to Taoyuan in September, declaring the company’s investment interest in Taiwan’s Taoyuan Aerotropolis, a large urban planning development project surrounding the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. 
================
 Trump reportedly sold all his stock in June  -- just when he needed cash for legal fees and a potential settlement.  Though he has not released his tax returns, other documents strongly suggest that he is not as rich as he says, and that he has had liquidity problems.

Democrats and Environmentalists v. WWC

Josh Kraushaar writes at National Journal:
If the GOP gains in the Mid­w­est were an an­om­aly, per­haps Demo­crats could af­ford to cater to their en­vir­on­ment­al base. But this wasn’t the first time that Demo­crats lost sig­ni­fic­ant ground in the re­gion. In 2010, they lost a whop­ping 63 seats in the House in part be­cause of failed cap-and-trade le­gis­la­tion; over one-third of the seats they lost were in the Mid­w­est. Re­pub­lic­ans am­ped up their at­tacks on Obama’s en­vir­on­ment­al policies dur­ing the 2014 midterms—air­ing more than 26,000 spots cit­ing the En­vir­on­ment­al Pro­tec­tion Agency—and swept nearly every com­pet­it­ive Sen­ate race on their way to the ma­jor­ity.
Take the Key­stone XL pipeline as a stand-in for voter sen­ti­ment on the bal­ance between pro­tect­ing the en­vir­on­ment and pro­du­cing jobs. A March 2014 Pew Re­search Cen­ter poll, con­duc­ted dur­ing the Key­stone de­bate, found that a 49 per­cent plur­al­ity of Demo­crats sup­por­ted build­ing the pipeline—even though the pres­id­ent and top party lead­ers op­posed it. Among work­ing-class Demo­crats (those who made less than $50,000 a year), sup­port for the Key­stone pro­ject out­dis­tanced op­pos­i­tion by a whop­ping 22 points (54 to 32). When your party’s own voters are at odds with its elite, it’s a re­cipe for dis­aster. Don­ald Trump’s Mid­west­ern sweep was the cul­min­a­tion of these long-stand­ing trends.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Union Decline and the Election

At The Wall Street Journal, Kyle Jenkins talks to Tracie Sharp of the conservative State Policy Network:
Anyone wondering whether an advantage in the states truly matters should look at this year’s Electoral College map. In Wisconsin, union membership is down 133,000 since 2010, the year before Gov. Scott Walker’s Act 10 overhaul passed. Donald Trump’s margin of victory there? Less than 30,000. In Michigan, public-union membership is down 34,000 since 2012, the year before Gov. Rick Snyder’s right-to-work law kicked in. Mr. Trump’s margin? Only 11,000.
Ms. Sharp says she had always felt these two states were only “thinly blue,” and that the GOP has been put on better footing by the unions’ slide. “When you chip away at one of the power sources that also does a lot of get-out-the-vote,” she says, “I think that helps—for sure.”
It is not that former union members suddenly stopped voting Democratic.  Rather, they were no longer part of union mobilization and fundraising efforts.  The weakening of those efforts probably hurt Democrats in the industrial states.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Conspiracies and Other Myths

Public Policy Polling reports on a new survey:
Over the course of the campaign we found there was a cult like aspect to Trump's support, where any idea he put forth a substantial share of his supporters would go along with. We see that trend continuing post election. 60% of Trump voters think that Hillary Clinton received millions of illegal votes to only 18% who disagree with that concept and 22% who aren't sure either way.
A couple other findings related to the vote in this year's election:
-40% of Trump voters insist that he won the national popular vote to only 49% who grant that Clinton won it and 11% who aren't sure.
-Only 53% of Trump voters think that California's votes should be allowed to count in the national popular vote. 29% don't think they should be allowed to count, and another 18% are unsure.
There's been a lot of attention to the way fake news has spread and been believed especially by Trump supporters and that's borne out in our polling:
-73% of Trump voters think that George Soros is paying protesters against Trump to only 6% who think that's not true, and 21% who aren't sure one way or the other.
-14% of Trump supporters think Hillary Clinton is connected to a child sex ring run out of a Washington DC pizzeria. Another 32% aren't sure one way or another, much as the North Carolinian who went to Washington to check it out last weekend said was the case for him. Only 54% of Trump voters expressly say they don't think #Pizzagate is real.
There's also been a lot of discussion recently about how we might be in a post-fact world and we see some evidence of that coming through in our polling:
-67% of Trump voters say that unemployment increased during the Obama administration, to only 20% who say it decreased.
-Only 41% of Trump voters say that the stock market went up during the Obama administration. 39% say it went down, and another 19% say they're not sure.
Back in May, PPP polled voters with a favorable opinion of Trump:
-65% think President Obama is a Muslim, only 13% think he's a Christian.
-59% think President Obama was not born in the United States, only 23% think that he was.
-27% think vaccines cause autism, 45% don't think they do, another 29% are not sure.
-24% think Antonin Scalia was murdered, just 42% think he died naturally, another 34% are unsure.
-7% think Ted Cruz's father was involved in the assassination of JFK, 55% think he was not involved, another 38% are unsure.
And closing the loop on the greatest conspiracy theory of this election- a rare one that Trump didn't embrace- 5% of voters nationally think Ted Cruz is the Zodiac Killer, 18% are unsure, and 77% find Cruz not guilty of the charge of being a serial killer in diapers. So at least he has that going for him.
It is not just Trumpistas, as an October survey from Fairleigh Dickinson University showed:
Almost 90 percent of Donald Trump’s and Hillary Clinton’s supporters believe in conspiracies that smear the candidate they don’t like, even in the absence of credible evidence, according to a Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind national poll. Conspiracy beliefs unrelated to the election—such as birtherism, trutherism, and even the belief that global warming is a hoax perpetrated by scientists continue unabated.
A majority of Trump’s supporters believe that President Barack Obama is “definitely” or “possibly” hiding important information about his background and early life. Among Trump supporters, 24 percent say that Obama is “definitely” doing so, and 43 percent say it’s “possibly true.” In contrast, only 14 percent of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s supporters fit into either category. In sum, skepticism about Obama’s background among Republicans has decreased, but not significantly. In May of this year, 31 percent of Republicans said Obama was definitely hiding this information, and 39 percent said it was possible. Five months later, 21 percent of Republicans say that it’s “definitely” true, and 43 percent say that it’s possible.
“Trump’s statement that he now believes Obama was born in the U.S. doesn’t seem to have made much of an impact on Trump supporters,” said Dan Cassino, a professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University and an analyst for the PublicMind poll.
...
Sixty-four percent of Americans say it’s at least possible the two major political parties rig the primary election process to make it harder for outside candidates to get the presidential nomination. Fifty-six percent of Clinton supports say that the primary system is “possibly” or “definitely” rigged, compared with 70 percent of Trump supporters.