U.S. Politics

10 things you need to know today: November 2, 2016

Win McNamee/Getty Images

THE WEEK

1. FBI unexpectedly releases file on Bill Clinton’s 2001 Marc Rich pardon
The FBI unexpectedly released documents from a 2001 investigation into former President Bill Clinton’s controversial pardon of Marc Rich, who was the husband of a Democratic donor and fled to Switzerland after being indicted on tax evasion and other charges. The presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, heading into a Nov. 8 election with her lead over Republican Donald Trump narrowing, questioned the timing of the release, which came days after the FBI disclosed it was looking into a new batch of emails possibly linked to Clinton’s private server. “Absent a FOIA litigation deadline, this is odd,” Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon tweeted. “Will the FBI be posting docs on Trump’s housing discrimination in ’70?”

Source: USA Today

2. 2 Iowa police officers killed in ‘ambush-style’ attacks
Two central Iowa police officers were killed Wednesday in “ambush-style attacks” as they sat in their patrol cars, the Des Moines Police Department said. The first attack occurred at about 1 a.m. in Urbandale, where an officer was fatally shot while sitting alone in his vehicle. Twenty minutes later, police found another officer with a fatal gunshot wound in a patrol car at an intersection about two miles away in the city of Des Moines — the first officer killed in the line of duty in Des Moines since 1977. The identities of the officers were not immediately released.

Source: Des Moines Register

3. Obama says Army Corps mulling ways to ‘reroute’ Dakota Access pipeline
President Obama said in an interview released Tuesday that the Army Corps of Engineers is examining whether it would be possible to “reroute” the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline. A stretch of the $3.8 billion pipeline in North Dakota would run under the Missouri River less than a mile from the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, and protesters say construction would threaten sacred lands and the local water supply. Obama’s comments came after a week in which hundreds of law enforcement officers in riot gear used pepper spray and rubber bullets on activists refusing to disperse, and arrested 141 people.

Source: NowThis, The Washington Post

4. Ryan says he fulfilled his promise to vote for Trump
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has clashed openly with Donald Trump, but said Tuesday that he had followed through with his pledge to vote for the GOP’s presidential candidate. “I stand where I’ve stood all fall and all summer,” Ryan told Fox News. “In fact I already voted here in Janesville for our nominee last week in early voting. We need to support our entire Republican ticket.” Despite his differences with Trump, Ryan said he preferred the GOP nominee to Democrat Hillary Clinton, saying “there’s always a scandal” surrounding her.

Source: CNN

5. Pope Francis says ban on women priests could last forever
Pope Francis said Tuesday that the Catholic Church would probably never allow women to serve as priests. Pope John Paul II wrote in 1994 that Jesus chose only men as his apostles, and that, “The exclusion of women from the priesthood is in accordance with God’s plan for his Church.” Francis said the letter indicated that the ban would likely endure forever. The pope raised hopes of advocates for ordaining women when he created a commission earlier this year to study the possibility of women serving as deacons, who perform many of the functions of priests. Women served as deacons early in the church’s history.

Source: The Washington Post

6. Election uncertainty upsets markets
Global stocks and oil fell early Wednesday, after U.S. stocks lost ground on Tuesday as uncertainty increased ahead of next week’s presidential election, with Democrat Hillary Clinton’s lead narrowing and her Republican rival, Donald Trump, even edging ahead in one national poll. Clinton is expected to largely stay the course on the economy, while Trump has spoken out against existing trade deals. “There is concern over Trump being unexpected, because the market has really priced in a Clinton win and it hasn’t priced in a Trump win at all,” said Ken Polcari, director of the NYSE floor division at O’Neil Securities.

Source: Reuters

7. Open enrollment begins as ObamaCare’s fate faces election test
Open enrollment began on Tuesday for 2017 ObamaCare. Despite increasing prices and decreasing choices on the marketplace, an estimated 11.4 million are expected to re-enroll or sign up for ObamaCare policies between Nov. 1 and Jan. 31. The Obama administration hopes to hit closer to 13.8 million enrollees for the year. ObamaCare has become a big focus of the presidential election, now just days away. Democrat Hillary Clinton vows to improve the existing law, and Republican nominee Donald Trump promises to swiftly repeal and replace it.

Source: Politico, Chicago Tribune

8. Russia gives Syrian rebels deadline to leave Aleppo
Russia on Wednesday warned Syrian rebels to leave the besieged, divided city of Aleppo by Friday night. The news suggested that Russia, which is supporting President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, would extend its moratorium on airstrikes on rebel-held parts of Aleppo “to avoid senseless victims,” the Russian Defense Ministry said. Rebels have been told to leave via two corridors, while civilians, the sick, and the wounded will be allowed to leave using six other routes.

Source: Reuters

9. Report: Florida dunes devastated by Hurricane Matthew
A United States Geological Survey report released this week found that last month’s Hurricane Matthew washed over and damaged 15 percent of Florida’s sand dunes. The Category 4 storm only grazed the state, traveling up the coast with its strongest winds just offshore. Still, the storm washed out some beach roads and blasted through 12 feet of dune on a barrier island, creating a new inlet joining the Atlantic Ocean and the Matanzas River near St. Augustine.

Source: NPR, The Palm Beach Post

10. Cubs beat Indians to force decisive Game 7 in World Series
The Chicago Cubs beat the Cleveland Indians 9-3 on Tuesday night to force a seventh and final game of the World Series. Shortstop Addison Russell gave the Cubs a lift with a grand slam and six total RBIs, tying a record for a World Series game. The Cubs are looking for their first World Series title in 108 years. The Indians are trying to end a 68-year World Series drought. Game 7 will be played at Progressive Field in Cleveland on Wednesday.

Source: Cleveland.com, Chicago Tribune

U.S. Politics

Hillary Clinton Is Poised To Win In Florida

Image result for photo of lawrence o'donnell

GRONDA MORIN

(Yes our own Gronda!)

Last night (11/1/16), I was watching the MSNBC TV show, “The Last Word,” hosted by Lawrence O’Donnell.

During the show, it was shared that Moody Analytics, which has always accurately predicted presidential elections outcomes, has Hillary Clinton becoming the U.S. Madam President by 332 electoral votes on November 8.

There was also a guest, Tom Bornier of TargetSmart and William & Mary College, who is stating, that based on the pattern of Florida’s early voting, his company is forecasting that Hillary Clinton will win Florida on November 8 by 8 points.

clinton-good-face-shot-with-friends-and-foes-lead_960

Newsmax published what was said on “The Last Word” on 11/1/16 and here is what the report is claiming:

Here are the results:

Clinton 48 percent.

Trump 40 percent.

“Other polls have shown a tighter race, with election-watchers, including Fox News, moving Florida from leans Democrat to toss-up in recent days.”

clinton-hillary-clinton-donald-trump-third-debate-rex-14

“But TargetSmart’s Tom Bonier told MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell on Tuesday night his firm’s methodology is more accurate because his pollsters call a random sample of the actual 3.6 million voters who already have cast early ballots and ask them how they cast their ballots, as well as obtain demographic data about them.”

“We can construct a sample that’s perfectly representative of the people who’ve voted so far,” Bonier said.”

“Much of Clinton’s rise in support comes from registered Republicans who abandoned the party’s nominee Donald Trump, according to the poll.”

“Clinton has won 28 percent of registered Republicans, while Trump has been able to pick up only 6 percent or registered Democrats, he said.”

“Clinton’s 8 percent lead is a combination of early voters and those who identify as likely voters, but when counting only those who have already cast votes in person or by mail, Clinton leads 17 points, 55-38 percent.”

“Trump’s former rival for the GOP nomination, Sen. Marco Rubio, however is leading Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy, according to the poll:

Rubio: 49 percent.

Murphy: 43 percent.

“Full results of the poll are to be released Wednesday. No margin of error is calculated because the poll used a combined internet/phone survey method.”

clinton win map new

 

CONTINUE READING HERE>>>

 

U.S. Politics

Before Election Day: That Viral Listing Of Trump’s and Clinton’s Scandals

 

AMERICAN NEWS X

Granted, this may be a bit one-sided but the choice is still crystal clear…ks

The following is making its way around the interwebs. One week before election day, it might help put things in perspective.

Clinton emails. Trump admitting sexual assault.
Clinton emails. Trump charity fraud.
Clinton emails. Trump calls for nuclear proliferation.
Clinton emails. Trump calls for national stop and frisk.
Clinton emails. Trump violates trade embargo with Cuba.
Clinton emails. Trump sued over Trump U fraud.
Clinton emails. Trump bribes DA.
Clinton emails. Trump doesn’t pay taxes for 20 years.
Clinton emails. Trump employs campaign manager involved in illegal corruption with Russia.
Clinton emails. Trump calls for ban of an entire religion from entering US.
Clinton emails. Trump lied about support for Iraq War over and over in debate.
Clinton emails. Trump in court for rape of a minor.
Clinton emails. Trump unaware of Russia’s Crimea occupation.
Clinton emails. Trump unaware of situation in Syria.
Clinton emails. Trump penalized for racist housing discrimination.
Clinton emails. Trump files for bankruptcy 6 times.
Clinton emails. Trump goes 0-3 in debates by showing scant knowledge of world politics.
Clinton emails. Trump slams people for being POWs.
Clinton emails. Trump calls Mexicans rapists.
Clinton emails. Trump questions judge’s integrity because of parent’s heritage.
Clinton emails. Trump deletes emails involved in casino scandal.
Clinton emails. Trump commits insurance fraud after florida hurricane.
Clinton emails. Trump has dozens of assault victims and witnesses come forward with allegations of abuse.
Clinton emails. Trump attacks former Ms America for being overweight.
Clinton emails. Trump tweets about sex tapes at 3am.
Clinton emails. Trump calls for US citizens to be sent to Gitmo.
Clinton emails. Trump calls for more extreme forms of torture to be used.
Clinton emails. Trump asks why cant we use our nukes if we have them.
Clinton emails. Trump calls for offensive bombing attack on sovereign nations because someone gave the middle finger.
Clinton emails. Trump calls to kill women and children of suspected terrorists.
Clinton emails. Trump says women should be punished for having abortions.
Clinton emails. Trump makes fun of disabled people.
Clinton emails. Trump calls for end of freedom of the press.
Clinton emails. Trump calls global warming a Chinese hoax.
Clinton emails. Trump praises Putin and Kim Jong Un’s strong leadership.
Clinton emails. Trump openly admits to not paying his employees during debate.
Clinton emails. Trump calls Obama an illegitimate noncitizen hundreds of times over 7 years.
Clinton emails. Trump uses campaign donations to enrich his own businesses.
Clinton emails. Trump says Ted Cruz involved in JFK assassination unironically citing National Enquirer.
Clinton emails. Trump says laziness is an inherent trait in black people.
Clinton emails.

Don’t forget: November 8th is election day.

As the election day nears, don’t let the utter absurdity of this campaign season distract you from voting. It isn’t just your right, it is your civic duty.

So mark November 8th on your calendar. Paste a sticky note to your car’s windshield. Write it with a sharpie on your hand. Set 27 reminders on your phone. Whatever you do, do not forget to vote. Don’t know where to go? Click here. And be sure to read up on all the issues on your local and state ballots. And that means not just showing up, but showing up informed and prepared.

Note:  The best we can find, that gem originated here. However, if we’re wrong, please let us know. Featured image from flickr

Charlie Barrel

U.S. Politics

Donald Trump’s “special session” to repeal Obamacare doesn’t make any sense

Donald Trump's

Image Credit: Getty Images

POLICY.MIC

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who has made repealing President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act one of the primary planks of his campaign, promised on Tuesday to immediately call a special session of Congress to do just that following his election, the Washington Post reported.

“When we win on Nov. 8 and elect a Republican Congress, we will be able to immediately repeal and replace Obamacare,” Trump told a crowd in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. “Have to do it. I will ask Congress to convene a special session so we can repeal and replace.”

The only problem? Such a promise might make for a flashy conservative soundbite, but it has no basis in reality.

The current, 114th Congress — which has repeatedly seen no successful attempts to repeal the health care law — will reconvene for a lame-duck session after the elections and remain as such until January 3, 2017. That’s the same day its successors, the 115th Congress, will be sworn in.

But the next president won’t be sworn in until Jan. 20, 2017, meaning in all likelihood a theoretical President Trump would take office with a fresh 115th Congress already in session. Thus there wouldn’t be any need for a “special” session.

Moreover, while Trump has promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Democrats would need to suffer crushing losses in the general election to allow for any kind of quick Republican-led appeal. Further, the Republican nominee has offered very few details regarding how he would replace it, though health care markets would likely spiral into chaos if no such alternative was passed into law during a repeal.

Tom McKay

U.S. Politics

The Republican civil war starts the day after the election

 

Image credit: Javier Zarracina / Vox

VOX

Will the GOP remain the party of Trump post-2016?

You may think the Republican Party is in the midst of a civil war.

You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

If Donald Trump loses the election next week, “there will be a lot of blood left on the floor between November and the 2020 primaries,” predicts GOP consultant John Weaver, who advised John Kasich’s campaign.

For all the attention on the fights between Trump and a faction of Republicans who have refused to support him, most GOP elected officials have so far taken the path of least resistance. They’ve supported their party’s nominee, even if they’re not thrilled about him.

These Republicans — from Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and Reince Priebus to Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton, and many others — have calculated that since Trump was the nominee chosen by Republican voters, and the only person standing in between Hillary Clinton and the presidency, they should stand by him.

Should Trump lose on Election Day, though, many Republicans will want to say “I told you so” and turn the page on the Trump experiment, returning to a more generic Republicanism that they see as a better vote-getter and a more substantively defensible ideology. And to discredit Trumpism, they’ll make the case that Trump is to blame for his defeat — that he blew what should have been a winnable election for Republicans.

Many of Trump’s most passionate supporters won’t see it that way at all, though. They’re being primed to see a candidate betrayed by an out-of-touch establishment that is compromised by its social and economic ties to a cosmopolitan elite. So if Trump loses, his backers will try to turn grassroots disappointment at his defeat into grassroots rage against Republicans who were insufficiently supportive, thus leveraging their own way into power. (If he wins, the party will face a whole different set of issues.)

Before the next presidential cycle, this war will be fought in the media, in Congress, in primaries, and for the hearts and minds of Republican politicians. And strikingly, even many Trump critics in the GOP are already concluding that the party had previously failed to satisfy the concerns of his strongest supporters, who aren’t going anywhere and must therefore be accommodated somehow — for primary politics if for no other reason.

But others are sounding the alarm that if Republicans continue down the path of white identity politics, they’ll drive nonwhite voters and young voters away from the party for decades to come — and put a presidential election victory even further out of reach.

“That is the existential threat to the party,” says Tim Miller, a former Jeb Bush staffer and a fierce critic of Trump. “Some candidates and elected officials will want to go down the Trump path, in ways that viscerally turn off young voters and minorities, because there would be short-term gain.”

“And if that faction wins out,” Miller continues, “the party is going to die.”

Battleground No. 1: The media (or, the “conservative entertainment complex”)


Stephen Bannon, Trump campaign CEO, currently on leave from running Breitbart. Paul Marotta/Getty Images for SiriusXM

When you ask around about who should get the blame for Trump’s rise, the media is usually high on the list. And while many conservatives like to gripe about the endless coverage the mainstream media gave to Trump, others tend to acknowledge that a more serious problem lies within their own shop.

“There is no autopsy this year that does not include dealing with the right-wing media,” conservative talk radio host Charlie Sykes, a Trump critic, told Business Insider’s Oliver Darcy and Pamela Engel. “There is none.”

The problem, as establishment-oriented and even some staunchly conservative Republicans see it, goes beyond Trump. Right-wing media outlets have grown increasingly willing to whip the GOP base into a frenzy with fact-free nonsense — and even mainstream Republican politicians have often been unable or unwilling to resist their demands.

Steve Schmidt, who ran John McCain’s 2008 campaign, dubs this “the conservative entertainment complex.” It “has become the tail that wags the dog that Washington leaders, policymakers, and conservative leaders are terrified of,” he says.

The complex’s leading members include many Fox News commentators (especially Sean Hannity), talk radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham, and leading online outlets like the Drudge Report and Breitbart. And it soon may include Donald Trump himself, if reports that he’s looking to participate in a post-election media venture of some kind pan out.

For years, commentators and media outlets like these have loomed large over the Republican Party’s messaging and policy priorities. “I’ve seen with my own eyes conservative leaders alter their message and public priorities in response to Fox’s demands,” David French writes at National Review. Talk radio hosts and outlets like Breitbart would frequently give Republican leaders heartburn by denouncing them as not conservative enough, or as unwilling to truly fight against Obama.

But when Trump rose, most of these personalities either enabled him or actively promoted him, despite his lack of conventional conservative credentials. Some, like Hannity, have become particularly fawning backers. As in the Republican Party writ large, some of these commentators will likely turn against Trump if he does lose big to Clinton.

Others won’t. If Clinton wins, Hannity has said, he will try to make sure that conservative critics of Trump would get the blame. And Breitbart in particular has positioned itself as not just a pro-Trump website, but as one that will continue to stand up against “globalism,” offer friendly coverage of the “alt-right,” and denounce Republican leaders it deems to be sellouts — like Paul Ryan — after the election. (Not-so-coincidentally, Breitbart chief Steve Bannon became the Trump campaign’s CEO in August.)

There’s a fundamental discrepancy in incentives between Republican leaders, who want to win the presidency and need to win over swing voters to do so, and the right-wing media, which wants to stoke outrage and appeal primarily to the faithful.

“We’ve got this online media where the profits are driven by controversy and clicks,” says Sarah Rumpf, a former Breitbart contributing writer who’s joined Evan McMullin’s presidential campaign this year out of disgust for Trump. “It’s just an activism problem in general, where it’s easier to fundraise and easier to get members when you can declare an emergency, when you can declare a crisis, when you can identity an enemy.”

So there’s a growing sense among anti-Trump Republicans that, in some way, the power of these media outlets must be challenged — that their incentives have developed in a way that’s fundamentally incompatible with the Republican Party’s electoral success in presidential years. “I think there will be some effort with certain elements of the conservative media, with the talk radio folks, that there will be some effort to at least try to come to terms with that, and to try to some extent reduce that influence,” says GOP consultant Patrick Ruffini.

How would this happen? “You can put pressure on advertisers and corporations that run them,” GOP strategist Matt Mackowiak said to Darcy and Engel. “Someone needs to be making sure that if you want to go open $50,000 [in ads] on Breitbart … that you get a phone call that follows that up and makes clear you’re not helping.” And Ruffini mused to me, speaking hypothetically, that perhaps conservative institutions and organizations like CPAC might end up trying to disassociate themselves from media outlets like Breitbart.

Still, the problem here is that these commentators and media outlets get their influence because they can get ratings and clicks — and behind those ratings and clicks are actual people attracted to that content. Breitbart has set traffic records this year as it’s championed Trump when other conservative websites wouldn’t. Hannity recently bragged that his show “pays the bills” for Fox.

In many cases, these hosts are deliberately delivering what their viewers want, as Robert Draper recently concluded in a New York Times magazine feature. And when some big-name conservative commentators have ended up criticizing Trump, they’ve been subjected to intense backlash from his fans, as Fox’s Megyn Kelly and Redstate’s Erick Erickson were.

“There’s clearly a market for Trumpism,” says Schmidt. “So anywhere there’s opportunity to communicate to a sizable market, there’s gonna be people doing it.” Indeed, even if the biggest names abandon Trump, he could still have conspiracy theorist Alex Jones in his corner, plus the newly-minted pundits have sprung up supporting Trump this year and the legions of websites that post false pro-Trump content optimized to go viral on Facebook.

Breitbart in particular seems set on establishing itself as the home for Trumpism after the election, whether Bannon and Trump end up going into business together or not. “I think what you’re gonna see,” Schmidt predicted to me, “is Steve Bannon monetizing 30 percent of the electorate into a UKIP-style movement and a billion-dollar media business.”

Bannon himself was nearly as blunt to Bloomberg Businessweek’s Josh Green and Sasha Issenberg, saying the Trump campaign had built “the underlying apparatus for a political movement that’s going to propel us to victory on Nov. 8 and dominate Republican politics after that.”

We’ll see about the “victory” part in a week, but Bannon is suggesting that his post-election ambitions will be very big indeed — and that he doesn’t want to stop with merely getting more clicks and making more money. He wants to transform the GOP.

Battleground No. 2: Congress (and Paul Ryan’s future)

Photo Desk / AFP / Getty

Except for the 2016 presidential primary, the most vicious internecine Republican Party fights in the past few years have been fought in Congress — and, in particular, in the House of Representatives.

And the rising bad blood between Speaker Paul Ryan and Trump’s biggest supporters suggests many more of these fights are still to come.

CONTINUED >>>>

U.S. Politics

15-year-old black, autistic cross country runner assaulted during race

 

CREDIT: Screencap via CNYCentral.com

THINK PROGRESS

Initially, no charges were pressed, but police have renewed the investigation.

Last month, 15-year-old Chase Coleman got lost during a cross country race in Rochester.

According to witnesses, Coleman — who is autistic, nearly nonverbal, and African American — was running down the middle of the road when Martin MacDonald, a 57-year-old white man, got out of his car and shoved the teenager to the ground. Before driving away, MacDonald allegedly shouted, “Get out of here!”

Chase’s mother, Clarise Coleman, wanted to press charges against MacDonald, but a judge in Rochester initially denied the request for an arrest warrant.

After the case received an onslaught of media attention, however, police in Rochester changed their minds. They announced on Monday that they are renewing their investigation into the case.

“If that man had been black and Chase had been white, and that [police] report went in, he’d have been in jail,’’ Clarise told Syracuse.com.

According to the initial incident report, MacDonald never denied pushing Chase.

“When [the deputy] asked [MacDonald] why he did that, he replied that he thought Chase was going to mug his wife and take her purse,” the report reads, via the Washington Post. “MacDonald’s wife was sitting in the front passenger seat at the time of the [incident]. When [the deputy] asked him why he thought that, MacDonald told him that some youths had broke into his car recently and that crossed his mind. MacDonald went on to say that Chase wasn’t responding to him telling him to move out of the road.”

MacDonald particularly stressed that the people who broke into his car recently were black men, making this case seem like a pretty clear-cut case of racial profiling in the eyes of Syracuse city councilor Susan Boyle.

“If that man had been black and Chase had been white, and that (police) report went in, he’d have been in jail.”

After finding out about the incident on Facebook, Boyle wrote a letter to Monroe County District Attorney’s Office asking them to explain the lack of charges.

“For an Autistic, nonverbal student to have joined a team, to be competing in organized athletic programs and acting as a part of a team and community is the kind of success we strive for,” Boyle wrote. “For all of this progress to be lost due to a racist, aggressive, unprovoked attack on a disabled African-American minor with absolutely no consequences is, for lack of a stronger word, unacceptable.”

With the police investigation starting back up, Clarise Coleman hopes that her son will regain his love for running. It took the family many tries to find a sport that made Chase happy, but since the assault, he has refused to go to practice and even turned in his uniform to his coach.

“[MacDonald] snatched a joy out of my child that took a long time to establish,” she said.

Lindsay Gibbs

U.S. Politics

October surprises muddy House landscape

161101-issa-trump-getty-1160.jpg

A large number of races could tilt either way on Election Day, especially in California, where Democrats are hoping to unseat Rep. Darrell Issa. | Getty

POLITICO

House Republicans and Democrats are both flying blind into the storm of Election Day after another tumultuous week in the presidential campaign.

Last week’s revelation that emails related to Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server were back under FBI scrutiny was the latest in a string of unwelcome October surprises for both parties, coming just as most House campaigns were wrapping up their private pre-election polling. It followed weeks of panic among Republicans that Donald Trump’s vulgar “Access Hollywood” tape would tank the GOP up and down the ballot.

Now, with millions of early votes already cast and Election Day looming on the horizon, operatives in both parties say there’s little evidence that those surprises have had a meaningful impact on the struggle for control of the House. But both sides remain nervous about how those episodes could affect turnout in the battleground districts, though the tightening presidential race has given Republicans hope that their worst-case scenario — a late Trump collapse that caused the bottom to follow out for candidates across the country — won’t come to pass.

“I think we’re in a much better place now than we were a couple of weeks ago,” said Gene Ulm, a leading GOP pollster working on House races.

Republicans are still looking at steeper losses than many in the party were predicting a couple of months ago, when they still hoped to hold Democrats to fewer than 10 pickups. (The House GOP currently has a 30-seat majority). An unusually large number of races in the wide-open battlefield could tilt either way on Election Day. That may be especially true in California, where Democrats — who already dominate the state delegation — are bullish about their chances of unseating Jeff Denham, Darrell Issa and Steve Knight.

“The floor fell out because of Trump a week ago, maybe 10 days ago, in California,” said Jason Roe, a GOP consultant in the state. But Republicans’ chances have since rebounded a little. “I think that has been accelerated by the Comey letter,” he continued.

But pollsters don’t see Comey’s letter or the other October surprises — from the “Access Hollywood” bombshell to new WikiLeaks revelations — as game changers.

“There’s been a temptation among many to overstate the impact” the Trump tape and other surprises have had on the race, said Zac McCrary, a Democratic pollster working on House races.

“I think a lot of it is just the natural ebb and flow of the cycle,” McCrary added.

Even House Republicans have been hesitant to seize on the Comey revelations as evidence their race has shifted dramatically.

“I have to imagine it would discourage some Democrats, especially those who were [Bernie] Sanders people who were not really enthusiastic about Mrs. Clinton to begin with,” Republican John Faso, who’s running for an open swing seat in New York’s Hudson Valley, told a radio host on Monday. “How much this filters into a congressional race, in the 19th District — I mean I’m cautious about it.”

But Republicans are hoping that a fresh round of headlines reminding voters of Clinton’s private email server will help drive home the “check-and balance” ads the NRCC and Congressional Leadership Fund have been running in certain districts. The ads, designed to appeal to potential ticket-splitters, portray the Democratic candidate as “rubber stamp” for Clinton and the Republican as counterweight to a potential President Clinton.

“Those [check-and-balance] numbers were already strong,” said Brian Walsh, a GOP operative working on multiple House races. “I can only imagine how much they’re improving that performance.”

The big question now for both parties is turnout. Democrats are hoping that Republicans who can’t bring themselves to vote for Trump will stay home altogether — and that enough ardent Trump supporters will refuse to vote for House Republicans who have abandoned Trump to tip those races. Republicans have been encouraged by some early voting results that have shown lower turnout among African-Americans and young voters, who tend to vote Democratic.

What’s clear is that Comey’s letter and the Democratic backlash against it don’t seem to have shifted the dynamics in early voting.

“The patterns look very similar now as they did before the news broke in terms of the distribution of the people who are voting and [their] party registration,” said Michael McDonald, an associate professor of political science at the University of Florida whose United States Elections Project tracks early and absentee voting. “And we’re seeing the levels of early voting the same as well.”

Some Democrats argue that it’s House Republicans’ reaction to the biggest October surprise, the “Access Hollywood” tape, that could cost them.

More than a dozen House Republicans ditched Trump shortly after the tape of him bragging about sexually assaulting women came out. Internal polling conducted in several GOP-held districts where incumbents broke with Trump shows the Democratic “challenger has tied up the race for the first time all cycle,” said Meredith Kelly, a DCCC spokeswoman.

Rachael Bade contributed to this report.

U.S. Politics

Democrats Shouldn’t Panic Over One Poll Showing Donald Trump Ahead

JOHN LOCHER/ASSOCIATED PRESS |Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton smiles after the third presidential debate in Las Vegas on Oct. 19, 2016.

THE HUFFINGTON POST

Hillary Clinton still has a strong advantage in the Electoral College, but her supporters need to vote if she’s going to win.

The ABC News/Washington Post national tracking poll shows Republican nominee Donald Trump closing the gap on Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Over just 8 days, the poll went from a 50-38 strong Clinton lead to an insignificant 46-45 Trump lead as the presidential election approaches.

That poll is the most extreme example, but over the last week, Republicans are returning to their prior levels of support for Trump after a lackluster month.

Much of that movement in the polls, including the spread in the ABC/Washington Post poll, occurred before FBI director James Comey’s announcement that the bureau is looking into more emails that could be related to Clinton’s private email use while she was secretary of state. The FBI investigation doesn’t seem to have affected views of Clinton, but there’s evidence that it could have taken a toll on enthusiasm to vote for her.

Those two trends have a lot of Democrats on edge and some Republicans getting more hopeful. But a closer look at the polls, predictions and campaigns indicates that Clinton is still likely to prevail.

The ABC/Washington Post poll is a high-quality poll, but it’s the only one showing such a dramatic change in the last week. It’s very unlikely that voter preferences have changed by 13 points in 8 days. For example, the IBD/TIPP tracking poll, which favored Trump in its debut, has held steady, with Clinton leading by 1-4 points over the past week. All other national polls in the past week have shown Clinton leading by 1-7 points.

The HuffPost presidential forecast gives Clinton a 98 percent chance of winning. That runs counter to the narrative that polls are closing in and is very different from other forecast models ― most notably the 71 percent probability she has in FiveThirtyEight’s model.

One reason for that is the HuffPost model relies almost entirely on state-level polling data, which shows Trump still has a huge Electoral College deficit, rather than national-level data.

State polls show that Clinton is maintaining her lead in the key states she needs to win: Colorado (+5 points), New Hampshire (+5 points), Wisconsin (+6 points), Pennsylvania (+6 points) and Michigan (+7 points). Those five states, plus all of the Democratic strongholds, get her to 273 electoral votes.

Clinton also narrowly carries North Carolina (+2 points), Florida (+2 points), Ohio(+1) and Nevada (+2). That’s a total of 341 electoral votes ― more than Barack Obama’s 332 in 2012, but less than the 365 he garnered in 2008.

Trump, on the other hand, faces a steep uphill battle. He only has 164 electoral votes from states he leads by more than 5 percentage points, plus another 33 from Georgia, Arizona and Iowa, where he has a narrower lead. That’s still only 197 electoral votes. He needs to turn 73 votes over in order to win ― no small task.

Trump’s most likely path to victory would be through Nevada, Ohio, Florida, North Carolina and either Colorado or New Hampshire ― states he has the best chances of flipping. If he loses Florida, there’s not much that will save him. In that case, he’d need Nevada, Ohio, North Carolina, Colorado and New Hampshire, plus both Wisconsin and Michigan or Pennsylvania.

Trump only has a more than 10 percent chance of winning two of those states: Ohio and Nevada. Unless all the polls are wrong, there’s not much of a possibility that he’ll pull an upset.

That still leaves the matter of the national polls closing in, though. National polls do provide a good indicator of the state of the race, even though the election happens in the individual states. And since state polls are generally slower to come in than national polls, it’s possible that we could see some narrowing in the state polls as well.

But if the state polls do close in to reflect the national poll movement, it probably won’t be enough to swing the race. Over the past week, Trump has gained about 1 percent in the HuffPost Pollster average, putting him just over 6 points behind Clinton in a head-to-head matchup and about 5.6 points behind her when third-party candidates are included. Even if he continues to gain, he’ll be behind on Election Day.

Trump supporters should be very worried.

Clinton supporters, meanwhile, should be concerned about get-out-the-vote efforts but remain calm. They should only get very worried if all the polls nationally and in swing states start tilting wildly toward Trump ― but short of a massivescandal much larger than other recent “October surprises,” that’s not likely to happen.

Other forecast models, most notably FiveThirtyEight’s, show that Trump has more substantial odds of winning than the HuffPost forecast model shows. As Nate Silver wrote last week, the FiveThirtyEight model differs from other models in four ways, the most important being that it allows for higher probability that the polls are wrong and that all of the states would be wrong in the same direction.

HUFFPO INTERACTIVE CHART

Clinton supporters, meanwhile, should be concerned about get-out-the-vote efforts but remain calm. They should only get very worried if all the polls nationally and in swing states start tilting wildly toward Trump ― but short of a massivescandal much larger than other recent “October surprises,” that’s not likely to happen.

Other forecast models, most notably FiveThirtyEight’s, show that Trump has more substantial odds of winning than the HuffPost forecast model shows. As Nate Silver wrote last week, the FiveThirtyEight model differs from other models in four ways, the most important being that it allows for higher probability that the polls are wrong and that all of the states would be wrong in the same direction.

 

The New York Times compares Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning the presidency, according to different forecast models.

 

The possibility that polls could be wrong is factored into HuffPost’s model ― in fact, that assumption accounts for most of the 2 percent chance that Trump will prevail ― but not as aggressively.

There’s always the possibility that FiveThirtyEight’s 71 percent chance of a Clinton win is closer to reality. But there’s just as much of a chance that we’re correct, and Clinton’s odds of winning are around 98 percent, even though that doesn’t make for much of a splashy headline right now.

Either way, all models still point to a Clinton win, and ― more importantly ― the Electoral College is stacked in her favor.

Democrats just need to vote. Republicans need to vote too, but they have a lot more reason to worry.

Natalie Jackson

U.S. Politics

Gary Johnson’s VP on MSNBC: ‘I’m Here Vouching for Mrs. Clinton,’ High Time Someone Did

MEDIAITE

Once again, Gary Johnson‘s VP candidate is making news for seeming to go at odds with Gary Johnson.

Yes, Bill Weld seems to be more focused on stopping Donald Trumpthan propping up his own campaign recently.

And Rachel Maddow told Weld tonight, “I can’t imagine that you wouldn’t tell a person in North Carolina and Ohio to vote for Hillary Clinton.” She thinks a moderate Republican like Weld does not want to dare risk the possibility of a Trump presidency.

And then Weld actually said this:

“I’m here vouching for Mrs. Clinton, and I think it’s high time somebody did… She deserves to have people vouch for her.”

RELATED: Gary Johnson’s VP: I’m Not Sure Anyone’s More Qualified Than Clinton to be President

(Let’s go ahead and emphasize again that this is a candidate who is running against her.)

Watch above, via MSNBC.

[image via screengrab]