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Everybody be Calmer

[ 198 ] August 1, 2016 |


The first post-convention polls are out, and Clinton has a significant lead:

The Upshot has Clinton at 72%, 538 at 66% in the polls-only, Wang is still at 65%-80%. And I’ll also add that given his abnormally poor campaign organization he’s much more likely to under-perform the models than to over-perform them.

I’m not saying don’t panic, exactly, but odds-wise the risk we’re dealing with is more “Russian Roulette” than “coin flip in No Country For Old Men.”


Comments (198)

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  1. TM1 says:


  2. Grumpy says:

    And as the documentary The Deer Hunter taught us, one can survive playing competitive Russian Roulette for years at a time.

  3. lawtalkingguy says:

    1) You should still panic because 30-40% of the country are Trumpkins who will be even further embittered that oranged fuhrer was kept out. Witness him already claiming if he doesn win the election is rigged
    2) If Hillary doesnt run up the score on him massive, 1) is more believable
    3) Servile, feckless GOP ‘elites’ now learned a valuable lesson, white nationalism>anything else in the primary. Look for a more competent Republican like Tom Cotton be Trump 2.0 in 2020. Unless Hillary gets really luck with a recession starting early in her term and then evening out by 2020 she will lose.
    4) The spread isnt large enough to get back Congress. May not be large enough to even get back Senate.

    • Peterr says:

      4) The spread isnt large enough to get back Congress. May not be large enough to even get back Senate.

      You can’t tell much about taking back the senate by looking at a national poll of the presidential race. Senate races are first and foremost state races, where the presidential race exerts its influence in a secondary way.

      Right now in MO, incumbent GOP senator Roy Blunt ought to be running away with his reelection, especially with his party’s presidential candidate leading in the state polls. Instead, he’s fighting a two front battle. On the one hand, Trump’s negatives make middle of the road voters look at other GOP candidates poorly. On the other hand, Trump’s anti-GOP elites strategy in the primaries was aimed precisely at Blunt, a quintessential GOP DC insider.

      A July 15 analysis of MO races by PPP said this (emphasis added):

      Missouri continues to have one of the most underrated Senate races in the country. Roy Blunt leads Jason Kander only 41/38. That closeness is mostly a product of Blunt’s unpopularity. Only 31% of voters approve of the job he’s doing to 42% who disapprove. One thing that’s particularly striking is how poor Blunt’s numbers are within his own party– only 49% of Republicans approve of the job he’s doing to 26% who disapprove. Kander is actually winning more support now from Republicans (13%) than Blunt is from Democrats (10%) despite Blunt’s far longer presence on the statewide scene.

      As I look at this, the better Trump does with MO republicans, the less they like Blunt because he represents the DC insider mentality that Trump is attacking.

      I suspect Blunt has come to the same conclusion, which is why he refused to go to the GOP convention and has (weakly) objected to Trump’s handling of criticism from the Kahn family. Blunt is hoping MO moderates will approve of his distancing himself from Trump in large enough numbers to make up for the Trump voters that will either skip past his race or (even worse) vote for Jason Kander as a stronger rebuke of Blunt.

      Good luck with that, Roy.

      • cleter says:

        I think Rubio is going to have a similar bind. He’s not Trumpy enough for the Trumpkins and no one is thrilled with the job he did as a senator.

      • postmodulator says:

        There are a couple of other chickens coming home to roost there, too. Blunt might have been able to build some middle-of-the-road support as a bulwark against the radical right, if he had been able to point to some bipartisan legislation, or even if he had brought home some pork. Instead he’s been doing the party-of-no thing, trying to make sure he’s not primaried by someone from the crazy wing, like most Republicans in the Senate.

        Here’s the thing about crazy people that most people learn from being in a shitty relationship and that the GOP is currently learning from Tea Partiers/Trump: you can’t make crazy people happy by giving them what they want. Not permanently.

    • Big G says:

      Claiming a rigged election was highly predictable; he is never ever EVER going to admit that he lost no matter how lopsided, and will spend the rest of his life urging his crazy base to not accept that election or any other. One could claim that republicans and Fox news have been doing this for decades, but I think he’s going to bring the incitement to insurgency (or worse) right out into the open. The only question is how many will listen.

      • howard says:

        look how many people on the left are still convinced that vote rigging in ohio cost kerry the 2004 election.

        which is another way of saying that if the race ends up close, then a fair number will listen, but if he gets stomped, no one will pay any attention.

        • CrunchyFrog says:

          A better comparison is that there are a lot of wingnuts who believe Romney won in 2012 except for busloads of blahs and backs-that-aren’t-dry who were bussed in hoards to make fraudulent votes. No really, I’m not making this up – they believe that.

          By contrast, although Kerry lost by 3% nationally there was extreme vote caging in Ohio and it might have been enough to tilt the state, which by itself would have swung the electoral college. Unlikely, but at least within the realm of possibility. As conspiracy theories go, it actually is more plausible than the 1960 stolen election theory, which most wingnuts don’t realize would have required massive vote fraud in two large states.

          • Brad Nailer says:

            Funny you should mention 1960. Just this evening, I was kidding with my Trumpster brother and told him that our votes would “happily cancel each other.” He said, no, he was going to “pull a Chicago” on me. I reminded him that it’s the Republicans who are now cheating, through their vile vote suppression schemes; this didn’t phase him: “They’re both doing it!”

            Could our politics be more fucked up than they are now? Don’t answer that.

        • Phil Perspective says:

          look how many people on the left are still convinced that vote rigging in ohio cost kerry the 2004 election.

          Maybe because it is true!! Or do you trust Republicans to run elections on the up and up?

          • witlesschum says:

            Do you trust the party of Heckuva Job Brownie to steal an election more competently or quietly than they did the one in 2000?

            • mds says:

              Well, not necessarily out-and-out steal through effectively-executed ballot fraud. But Ohio POS SOS Ken Blackwell certainly made a concerted effort to keep Democratic voters from voting, from bullshit registration rejections to removing half of normal allocation of voting machines from “urban” areas. Remember, the winner in Ohio was called while there were still people lined up waiting to vote in Cleveland. Not definite, but we’re talking about a difference of fewer than 120,000 votes. (Of course, keeping it close enough to steal if need be was almost certainly their watchword. If Kerry had eked out a tiny victory in, we would have gotten Bush v. Kerry as a result. Nowadays, Democrats don’t just have to win, but win by enough to keep Republicans from successfully stealing it anyway.)

      • weirdnoise says:

        I’m hoping that Trump loses and decides to run as the Putin-backed president of Ukraine.

  4. Scizzy says:

    Also good is that if Clinton can hold, say, a ten point lead for a week or two, even if it’s likely to fade, that’s probably enough to open the floodgates of Republican officials cutting bait or even Trump taking his ball and going home.

    • Captain Oblivious says:

      The polls are rigged, too.

      The Right is never wrong. They are only wronged.

    • witlesschum says:

      I don’t believe either of those. Donald Trump does not strike me as the guy who would ever believe he’d lose a popularity contest. And Republican officials openly and loudly repudiating him doesn’t seem wise for their own prospects. They’ll try to thread the needle in various way, I expect.

  5. Joseph Slater says:

    I believe 538 has Hillary at 60.3% in “polls only” (not 66%) and 66.8% in “polls plus.” But given that Hillary was at 51% in “polls only” literally at the beginning of the day, it’s very good news.

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      Nope. Feel free to click through. (It’s actually now 68% — they may have factored in the CNN poll after I posted.)

      • kped says:

        Personally, I prefer regular Pollster or Sam Wang. 538 is too much into manipulating data, and it leads to these wide swings. Plus the “now-cast” is just stupid click bait. I believe Wang outperformed Silver the last few elections, and his methodology is a lot more clear (doesn’t throw out bad pollsters or underweight them like 538 does, so much less massaging of the numbers).

        • (((max))) says:

          Wang hasn’t really outperformed Silver, but also vice versa. Which tells me Wang is Good Enough to grasp how it’s going. (I probably should not be using ‘grasp’ and ‘Wang’ in the same sentence. Oops.)

          At any rate, it’s August 1st, and Hill has decent numbers.

          [‘DON’T PANIC.’]

        • xq says:

          But “now-cast” is pretty much what Wang does?

          • Craigo says:

            Nope, as glancing at his website for two seconds would reveal.

            • xq says:

              I’ve glanced at his website for a lot more than two seconds and my comment still seems correct to me; care to explain? The main thing on his site is his meta-analysis, which is “directed at the question of who would win the Electoral College in an election held today.” That’s exactly what now-cast is supposed to be.

              Silver seems more focused on Nov. 8 prediction and Wang on the current state of the electorate, which is why I found kped’s comments a bit weird.

              • Pseudonym says:

                Here at the Princeton Election Consortium we follow a relatively simple procedure to generate (1) a snapshot of conditions today (see the top line of the banner), and (2) a prediction of November outcomes (“Nov. win probability” in banner).

                – use the median and distribution of state polls to estimate each state’s current margin and win probability (see the right sidebar),
                – combine the probabilities to make an exact snapshot of today (the EV count above),
                – calculate how far national sentiment is from an electoral tie (the Meta-Margin),
                – calculate what would happen if the nation were to drift in either direction by November (gives the random-drift probability), and finally
                – impose a prior that the final outcome will be somewhere in the vicinity of where it’s been so far, a.k.a. regression to the mean (gives the Bayesian probability).


                The latter two points are predictions for Election Day.

                • xq says:

                  Which is why I said “more focused” rather than “exclusively focused.” Wang cares most about his snapshot but also includes some simple ways of turning it into a Nov 8 prediction; Silver cares most about his prediction but includes the snapshot as an interesting intermediate product.

                • Pseudonym says:

                  Wang believes that the opaque modeling algorithms 538 uses for its predictions don’t improve accuracy over simpler statistics based on state-level polls but actually detract from it, and so far empirical evidence supports his view. The meaningful difference is in methodology, not time horizon: both of them use polls as data to produce a probabilistic estimate of the current election outcome and as input into a statistical model to predict the outcome in November.

                • kped says:

                  Wang’s predition has not strayed from his 65 random drift-80% Bayesian range,while the now-cast has jumped around like a pinball machine. To say they are similar is ridiculous. The Meta Margin has only now just moved from it’s 2.5% to 3.0%. IT’s been incredibly stable, while Nate’s now-cast has been…pointless to look at.

                  Now, that’s just the “now” cast, his other stuff is better. I still don’t like all the stuff he does to the polls, but that’s his choice, and he is accurate overall.

    • Joseph Slater says:

      It’s now showing 63.3% in “polls only” (it says updated 9 minutes ago), and 67.7% in polls plus. I thought I was accurate as of when I typed it, but obviously it’s been volatile today.

      The main point is, though, is that this is great news for John McCain!

  6. LosGatosCA says:

    Turn out! TURN out! TURN OUT!!

    Bury this motherfucker and get D’s across the board.

    There’s no substitution for turn out.

    ETA: In 2004, I voted early. long lines in South Florida and they were all Kerry supporters. Donated time and equipment, everyone was very enthusiastic in Delray Beach local HQ.

    Kerry got 47% statewide.

    Run through the tape. Celebrate on November 10. Stay paranoid and motivated until then.

    • (((max))) says:

      Yes…but is ‘calm but wary and motivated’ good enough? Because I don’t think some of the folks on our team handle paranoid.

      [‘Well, it ain’t good, but Lord knows it ain’t that bad.’]

      • djw says:

        but is ‘calm but wary and motivated’ good enough

        Anyone reading this can choose to be deeply complacent, or spend three months panicking, or anything in between, and it won’t have any impact whatsoever on the outcome of the election. Choose whatever mindset you wish; it doesn’t matter.

  7. bobbo1 says:

    At the very least it means that people didn’t watch a feel-good convention with some beautiful speeches and a great show of diversity and patriotism and say to themselves, “Well then, Trump.”

  8. kped says:

    Here’s a good way to know that Trump is toast. He is already going out saying the election will be rigged, and having surrogates say this everywhere. Roger Stone was saying that it will be illegitimate if he loses a state where he is up in the polls, and there will be blood in the streets. Which polls? How many does he need to be up in and lose for it to be illegitimate?

    I’m glad these new polls are reducing some of the annoying chicken little bullshit that aggravates the hell out of me. People need to chill, do the work, get people to the polls, whatever needs to be done. But panic does no one any good.

    • postmodulator says:

      Roger Stone was saying that it will be illegitimate if he loses a state where he is up in the polls, and there will be blood in the streets.

      I have a mental image of Roger Stone blindfolded, smoking a cigarette, standing up against a pockmarked brick wall. It is…not the saddest thought I have ever had.

  9. jim, some guy in iowa says:

    but how you gonna get 400 comment threads without panic?

  10. howard says:

    there are really only two polling data points that i’m watching: the first is how trump is doing with white voters in general and the second is how trump is doing with college-educated republicans.

    if he doesn’t do better than romney on those two, he ain’t gonna win.

  11. Karen24 says:

    I’m one of the worst Chicken Littles around and even I’m confident. I got my yard sign out today, and while yard signs aren’t all that important, my house is next door to an elementary school and parents will be taking their kids to Back To School events and seeing that sign for weeks before the election. I also signed up to do block walking and possibly even voter registration drives.

    My biggest worry is that Trump is such a terrible candidate that the only lesson the R’s will learn is “don’t nominate an idiot who insults Gold Star Mothers and fire marshals who rescued him in the very same day.” We’ll get a slightly cagier fascist the next time.

    • howard says:

      this is exactly what i have been saying: that i’m not that worried about trump because of his obnoxiousness, but a smoother white nationalist candidate could in fact win at some point, even if it’s only about democratic presidential fatigue….

      • Gregor Sansa says:

        That’s why we have to go nads to the crosstabs in order to take the House this year, so we have something to show for it. Because 2018 looks bad, and I don’t like to imagine 2020 after 4 years of nothing.

        • SNF says:

          We’re not gonna take the House this year. There’s just too much gerrymandering and too many Democrats clustered in cities.

          Maybe we can get the House in 2022 if Democrats do really well in 2020, draw less gerrymandered districts, and follow it up with a strong showing in 2022.

      • postmodulator says:

        I’ve said this a whole bunch of times and the rejoinder has always been that running Trump’s campaign doesn’t work unless you’re getting Trump’s amount of free media.

        • Pseudonym says:

          A smoother white nationalist candidate (wasn’t this Pat Buchanan’s schtick?) wouldn’t get Trumps amount of free media and also wouldn’t let support for white nationalism be deniable (as in “Trump doesn’t actually mean it, he’s just trolling dumb liberals by being politically incorrect”).

    • PeteMoss says:

      the demographics seem to be moving against white nationalism though, no? I doubt Trump – or anyone even remotely like him – would be able to duplicate his feat in 2020.

      I don’t think the GOP will continue to be quite so extreme if (when) they go down in flames in November. The idealogues and extremists will grudgingly start listening to the more moderate Republicans after this.

      • TM1 says:

        No in 2020 they’ll say Trump was the problem and proceed to run a bog-standard dog-whistling/funerals-for-fetuses/plutocracy campaign headed up by Ben Sasse.

        2024 will drop the dog-whistles and fetus humping and go Full Plutocracy with Paul Ryan. The platform will look like Atlas Shrugged.

        They’re not going to finally learn their lesson until 2028.

        • AMK says:

          The question becomes who headlines the “return to normal crazy” ticket against Clinton in 4 years. I predict Nikki Haley leading the faux moderates against Greg Abbot, who’s as vicious as Cruz or Cotton but will get hero treatment from the media because cripples can’t really be fascistic theocrats.

      • LosGatosCA says:

        grudgingly start listening

        Confirmation bias and tribalism won’t break for another 30 years. As long a s they have the South, Plains, and Mountain States they won’t change. Texas and Georgia need to go purple before they will reconsider their political position.

        But a nice little recession, a bad regime change in Syria/Iraq/Egypt, some untimely terror in Europe or here, Ukraine/Georgia is subverted by the Russians and voilà – Republicans are viable at the national level again.

        There’s no room for complacency, ever.

      • M. Bouffant says:

        Yes about the demographics (we hope). But, that will only make the bitter clingers even more desperate in 2020, which of course will be important because of redistricting.

        I can also imagine splits in the G.O.P. leading to two rump parties, one dedicated to glibertarianism, one dedicated to bedroom policing; I really doubt the ideologues and extremists are ever going to learn the rightcorrect lesson.

        • bender says:

          A split might occur, but whether it does or not, I do not think the GOP can continue for another twenty years with a purely negative platform without being supplanted by an upstart party.

          The new party is not necessarily going to be liberal or moderate by current standards. It just has to have a program that is for something as well as being against something.

      • John F says:

        The idealogues and extremists will grudgingly start listening to the more moderate Republicans after this.

        No they won’t, part of what makes them extremist ideologues is that they do not listen to reason and moderate- ever- if their guy loses it is because the other side cheated and/or the squishes (i.e, moderates) on their side stabbed them in the back.

    • Peterr says:

      There’s a joke going around that says that in years past, a classic political dirty trick was to steal your opponent’s yard signs, but this year the trick is to put a Trump sign up next to your opponent’s signs.

      I thought of this the other day, after getting home from yet another long day of driving across Missouri. While on these trips I’ve been taking lately, I have been struck by the campaign signs I’ve seen posted. In a bunch of places, I’d see lots of GOP signs for downticket races in a single yard/field, but no Trump signs standing with them.

      Maybe that’s not so much of a joke.

    • richard mayhew says:

      Yep, but that cagier fascist will be working with from his perspective worse demographics so his minimal needed white win percentage will tick up another point of two over Trump’s which is a couple points over Romney. And as importantly a Justice Department plus a court system willing to call bullshit on voter suppression. In a neutral environment the whites only energizer strategy is looking to for a jack of clubs only on the flop. Sure it could work but the odds are not good.

  12. Emmryss says:

    Makes me wonder how you folks (us Canucks — where they’ve been spectacularly wrong for a while now — too) ever did elections before there were polls. Seriously, does anyone know of a rigorous takedown of polling as a way of doing politics?

  13. M. Bouffant says:

    I’m going French & taking August off. Get back to me after Labor Day when the sheeple are paying what little attention they’ll pay.

  14. russiannavyblog says:

    How many people too embarrassed to admit to a pollster they are favoring Trump will pull the lever for him in November?

    • Duvall says:

      There was no “shy Trumper” effect in the primaries, though admittedly those were Republican primary voters, not regular people. If anything Trump’s lousy organization caused him to underperform his polling numbers, at least while he still had competition.

    • LosGatosCA says:

      Trump is on the verge of becoming a joke candidate, McGovern level campaign fiasco.

      There is always a group of people that will break for the expected winner at the last minute, those folks will go the Hillary

      That should offset any reverse Bradley effect (gender or bigot bias) for Trump.

    • mijamison says:

      I wonder the opposite. How many people will bluster Trump to a pollster and then either not show up to vote or simply leave that line blank?
      I’ve run into a few people who claim to be for Trump as simply provocation or trolling.

      • Aimai says:

        A lot of working class white guys don’t vote at all. Either because they work tuedays, or they never registered at all, or because they are all talk and no action. A lot of these guys talk politics, and event hink about politics, in groups but they don’t do politics alone. I wonder if any of our resident poli sci wonks can talk about different racial,ethnic, and geographic communities and whether they tend to vote singly, or only in numbers? Because a lot of politics during the primary and around big events like the conventions is a spectator sport with mass triablist overtones and a sports vibe. But its not like people who watch sports and identify with their team also expect to go out and play the actual game. Ditto for voting. its one thing to have a favorite and another thing to work to get that favorite over. I would expect a significant fraction of Trump’s voter base to have either never voted, or to have let their registration lapse, or to simply not show up at the polls to vote.

  15. Frank Wilhoit says:

    Polls don’t, and aren’t going to, mean anything this cycle. This election is going to be decided by vote suppression, including extremely widespread violence on the day.

    • M. Bouffant says:

      New White Panthers w/ night-sticks at the polls? I dunno, “extremely widespread violence” isn’t that good a look, especially if you’re going to claim it’s all rigged.

    • (((Hogan))) says:

      Are you for that or against it?

    • bender says:

      Widespread violence requires organization. There may well be some freelancing but I doubt it will be widespread and most of it will take place in states that are going to be won by Trump anyway. Armchair opinion and I might be wrong.

      Many people have observed that Trump is making similar appeals to Mussolini, but without the organized gangs of thugs that fascists use to suppress the opposition. Give it another four years, eight years tops. And not necessarily under the Republican banner, as I wrote further up the thread. Trump’s the forerunner; he shows what’s possible.

      • Steve LaBonne says:

        This is exactly what I have nightmares about. What we’re seeing is how frighteningly large the potential support for a serious fascist might be.

      • Frank Wilhoit says:

        Organization? Have you absorbed the lessons of Rwanda? You may be extremely confident that Rush Limbaugh, and his lesser-known, more reckless imitators, have absorbed the lessons of Rwanda.

        The states at issue are Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin — not only those four, but those four are enough.

        • witlesschum says:

          Trumpkins are not some sort of hardened brownshirt brigade, they’re a bunch of guys that breath heavily getting into their SUVs and misspell racial slurs on Facebook. If they want to try to intimidate Michigan into voting for Trump, they’ll fail, because they’re not very intimidating.

  16. Alex.S says:

    So… random stuff from random polls that everyone should over-interpret.

    1. From PPP, in a four-way race, Johnson had 6% and Stein had 2%. In a three-way race with Harambe as an independent, Harambe got to 5%.

    2. In the CNN poll, their 4-way race has Trump being behind both Johnson and Stein with or non-white voters. Trump is at 7% with Johnson and Stein both at 8%.

    3. OMG A TIE IN GEORGIA!!!!!11111one Oh, other polls show Trump leading and that poll is probably an outlier and Trump is going to win that state.


    But on the other hand, I’m going to wait until mid-August to be seriously looking at polls. It’s just too early to look at a convention bounce and to think it is sticky.

    • postmodulator says:

      From PPP, in a four-way race, Johnson had 6% and Stein had 2%. In a three-way race with Harambe as an independent, Harambe got to 5%.

      Vote Johnson 2016: Slightly More Trusted Than A Dead Gorilla

    • Murc says:

      Oh, other polls show Trump leading and that poll is probably an outlier and Trump is going to win that state.

      The point of polls like that isn’t “Hillary is going to win Georgia.” The point is “Democrats are beginning to be in striking distance in Georgia,” which is, in fact, a big deal for 2020 or 2024.

      The Clinton Campaign shouldn’t go all-in on Georgia and Texas in the idiotic way that Trump is deciding to invest real resources in places like New York and Jersey, but those states are trending just purple enough that they should make a few swings through them.

      • Karen24 says:

        The smart move is to spend enough money in Georgia — Texas is too far away and too damned expensive a market — to force the Republicans to spend money there, especially on downballot races. The more effort they have to spend in Georgia, the less they’ve got for North Carolina.

      • EliHawk says:

        As someone from Georgia who’s worked on multiple Georgia campaigns, I’d be a lot more excited if that tie were at a higher level. It’s easy for the Democrat to get to 45%. Obama got 47% in 08 and 45% in ’12, and Carter and Nunn both got 45% in the ’14 midterms. It’s a VERY hard lift to get to the 49-50% you’d need to win.

        Now, in the longer term, I’m still confident that Georgia will be the next in the VA/NC Southern swing state change. The key is that ATL and its inner suburbs are slowly becoming the next Northern VA. Fulton, Cobb, Dekalb, and Gwinnett are the four biggest counties in the state. Collectively, they have 1.4 million voters, about 1/3 of the state’s total. Traditionally, Republican Cobb and Gwinnett balanced out solid Democratic Dekalb and lean Democratic Fulton, so the impact on the statewide vote was marginal. That’s stopped being the case over the last two election cycles:

        2000: Dem +28,731
        2004: Dem +44,032
        2008: Dem + 270,415
        2012: Dem + 221,616

        There is a back sliding from ’08-’12, but in ’08 Obama somewhat contested the state and aired ads while in ’12 they didn’t spend a dime. And his margin slid back a bit both state and nationwide. And even then, he still shrank the margin in Gwinnett by another 2,000 votes.

        In the broader metro Atlanta area, which accounts for a little under 2/3 Georgia’s votes, the margin’s been cut back too:

        2000: Rep + 93,094
        2004: Rep + 233,972
        2008: Dem + 48,835
        2012: Rep + 28,863

        So, the Dems have turned Metro Atlanta’s inner suburbs into a vote source, and have cut Metro Atlanta into pretty much 50-50. So why do they still lose? Well, the big shift from 2000 on is that the end of the last of the Yellow Dog Dems means they get slaughtered in the rest of the state:

        2000: Rep + 119,865
        2004: Rep + 314,133
        2008: Rep + 253,142
        2012: Rep + 277,895

        If Clinton is going to win Georgia, she needs to make up something like 260,000+ votes in the Metro Atlanta area. Is that possible? Sure, if Trump is radioactive to the kind of GOP women and educated business class Republicans in those areas. I think you’re going to see more of a shift in those inner suburbs this fall, HRC may even become the second Democrat to win Cobb or Gwinnett since JFK (the other being Jimmy Carter in 1976; he lost both to Reagan in 80). But barring a major investment disparity, I suspect the exurbs and rural areas will carry Trump over the line.

  17. Gwen says:

    Ross Douthat and Slate are now inventing counterfactuals to prove that Democrats would vote for a Trump-like candidate.


    • muddy says:

      Doesn’t this example require that liberals like Sean Penn in the first place? It’s a pretty poor example when you can’t find an actual person who is actually popular. The problem with their argument isn’t Penn’s self-described political views, but rather that no one gives a shit about him anyway. The whole exercise is empty.

    • Alex.S says:

      I don’t believe a Trump-like candidate would be able to unite enough of the Democratic factions to win the primary. I also believe that Democratic factions are more pragmatic than most of the Republican factions.

      • Gwen says:

        I think the top comment nailed it. The whole premise of this exercise is like asking: if a rooster laid an egg on top of a roof, which way would the egg roll?

        Slate seems to be extra Slate-pitchy today. Unusually large number of stupid hot takes. Must be the dog days of summer..

      • TM1 says:

        Yeah they Republicans don’t have a constituency as level-headed and rational as African-Americans (which saved us from Sanders).

        • Murc says:

          Except for all those young Africa-Americans who voted majority for Sanders, of course. But they don’t count, am I right? They’re just the future of a voting bloc that’s going to be ever more important going forward. They didn’t have the brains to “save” us from a perfectly decent candidate the way their elders.

          • TM1 says:

            They didn’t have the brains to “save” us from a perfectly decent candidate the way their elders.

            Sorry, Sanders would have been a trainwreck. And when the people that voted for Sanders are 35 instead of 20 they won’t be voting for someone with liabilities like Sanders had. That’s all I’m going to say on that before we start re-living the primary.

            • Gwen says:

              I voted for Sanders and I’m 34…

              Sanders was not a typical candidate, but he isn’t close to being as bad as Trump. First of all, he isn’t a giant narcissist windbag.

              It’s true that he might have gone down like McGovern… but McGovern was never a threat to the American system of government.

              • Gwen says:

                And I’d add this… Sanders actually has more experience running and winning elections than Hillary Clinton had. He’s a politician, and a triangulator. She also, to a certain extent, has an airy-fairy notion that politics is about making the impossible possible. The difference between Sanders and Clinton is largely a matter of a difference of opinion about how far left the American people are willing to venture, about what is possible and what is impossible.

                Trump — does not seem to care at all about what is possible, or ethical, or good. He just runs his mouth and thinks that he can “negotiate” (bully) his way out of any tough spot.

                One reason why the Democrats would never nominate someone like this, is because the Democrats are largely a transactional political organization. We’re a coalition of different interest groups that hangs together because of specific political promises. If our leaders can’t keep their promises, or explain them, the coalition falls apart.

                The Republicans mainly seem to be defined by what they are against.

                • EliHawk says:

                  And I’d add this… Sanders actually has more experience running and winning elections than Hillary Clinton had.

                  Eh. That’s true insofar as he had to run for the House every two years in tiny Vermont for several years. But because it’s a safely liberal seat, there’s not much utility in that experience. Like saying that Charlie Rangel or Lamar Smith have more experience winning elections. True s far as it goes, but not comparable with having to win and manage interest groups and voters in a state as big as New York.

              • TM1 says:

                I was referring to the demographic referenced by the reply to my post.

                Oh, he’s most certainly not Trump, and my problem with Sanders has to do with things like his age, his lack of institutional support in the party, far over-promising what he could actually accomplish, and to a lesser extent all the skeletons in his closet (and he has many) that the GOP could drag out. Not so much the issues, or that I think he’s a narcissist (he’s not).

          • Karen24 says:

            I think younger AA’s will remain further to the left than their parents even as they get older. What will see is a general run of candidates between Clinton and Sanders in the future.

    • Murc says:

      Ross Douthat and Slate are now inventing counterfactuals to prove that Democrats would vote for a Trump-like candidate.

      The thing is, Democrats wouldn’t have to just nominate a loon. They’d have to nominate a loon who was worse than the Republican loon.

      I’d vote for Sean Penn over Rick Santorum. 100%. Sean Penn would be a terrible, damaging President. But he’d be less terrible and damaging than Rick Santorum.

      On the other hand, if the Republicans hadn’t driven guys like Bill Weld out of their party… sure, I’d vote for him over Sean Penn. Absolutely.

      The unspoken thesis of that piece is that it is wrong to vote for someone dangerously unqualified even if they’re less dangerously unqualified than the other choice. It’s making an argument against lesser-evilism, essentially, to the extent it is coherent at all. There’s also a lot of “we should take the politics out of politics!” balderdash mixed in; another unspoken assumption of it is that there is common-sense political common ground in this country and only nasty old partisanship prevents us from reaching it.

      And that’s as inane as it always is. We’re not mad at Republicans who are making a calculation that Hillary would be worse than Trump so they have to vote Trump because they’ve made a lesser-evil calculation; we’re angry at them because that calculation is either wrong, or the values undergirding it are horrific, or both.

    • Nick056 says:

      Ross Douthat said today that “asking Rs to vote for Hillary is a little like asking Ds to vote for Newt Gingrich running on Ted Cruz’s platform.”

      Newt Gingrich hasn’t been in office in almost two decades because Republicans lost faith in him. Ted Cruz is a first-term senator who famously got virtually no endorsements from the Senate even when it was just him and Trump. Douthut is comparing Hillary Clinton’s persona and politics to two people widely disliked in their own party.

      That is the what the sickness looks like. A complete inability to publicaly recognize that Clinton is not the Democratic equivalent of an erratic wash-out from 20 years ago and an insurgent with few friends in his own party.

      • Nick056 says:

        I hasten to add: in his attempt to come up with a “Trump of of the left,” the first name he picked was … Al Sharpton. Which is of course hideously racist. And, as part of his rant, he said that Rick Santorm’s policy positions “save for his zeal” were mainstream 10 years ago, which is of course hideously homophobic because you cannot call it “zeal” when you describe to people having sex as the more equivalent of bestiality.

    • ForkyMcSpoon says:

      Jill Stein is a little loony on a couple issues. But she’s not the equivalent of Trump.

      A better example than Newt Gingrich running on Ted Cruz’s platform is someone like John McCain (before he got embittered by his 2008 loss) or Mitt Romney running on Marco Rubio’s platform.

      For the Democratic Trump… it’s hard to think of the equivalent. The far-left candidates tend to be less threatening to democracy because they’re all cut the military drastically and let’s have less guns and less police brutality, etc. There’s no figure on the left who embraces violence that way and gets much of any support. The left hasn’t been amping up violent rhetoric like “2nd amendment solutions” in response to much of anything.

      We’d need someone who blatantly wants to violate the constitution (in terms of presidential power, not just “oh they want gun control”), encourages violence and has extreme ideas – and the Democratic establishment would have to roll over for this person.

      But sure, if the choice was John Kasich vs. a flat-out Stalinist, I’d probably vote Kasich. Do they really think Democrats would vote for gulags and reeducation camps?

  18. bspencer says:

    I can’t be calm when I look at the hairstyle on Javier Bardem.

  19. C.V. Danes says:

    The real race has always been, and continues to be for the Senate.

  20. Incontinentia Buttocks says:

    Here in Oklahoma, the talk is that Clinton might even win a county (maybe two!), which would be doing better than Obama ever did in the Sooner State.

  21. tomscud says:

    I am somewhat annoyed that the internet has yet to deliver me a gif/youtube clip of Donald Trump screaming “KHAN!” a la William Shatner.

  22. SNF says:

    Legit question.

    After 2012 everyone was saying that it was now impossible for Republicans to win without doing better among non-whites.

    Trump is tailor made to alienate as many non-whites as possible.

    So how is it possible for Trump to get close in the polls, and even briefly surpass Clinton? Where is his support coming from?

    • Mike in DC says:

      non-college educated whites, primarily. Secondarily, college educated white men. Trump’s only hope is for 1) increased turnout among unlikely/infrequent voters in the first group and 2) decreased turnout among young people and non-white voters. Unfortunately, Trump has been a powerful motivator for latinos, driving substantial new voter registrations.

      • Michael Cain says:

        I understand the Arizona registration drives are also having people sign up for the permanent absentee-ballot list. That should reduce the kinds of effect that Maricopa County’s polling place distribution had in the primaries. The statistics from Arizona say that >70% of all votes cast in 2014 were cast by mail. That could go over 80% this year.

      • SNF says:

        But those people existed in 2012.

        So did everyone just assume that Republicans couldn’t do better among non-college whites?

        • were-witch says:

          On a post titled Everyone Be Calmer, you are asking “some people said Republicans actually winning the election would be figuratively impossible, so how can Trump be doing well in some polls?

          I guess one answer is, those people spoke prematurely, the trend is slow enough that we’re not actually at the point of impossibility. Another answer is, even McCain looked good in some August polling, it’s just polling, we need to relax and be calmer.

          But the truth behind the premature statement remains: Trump has less of a shot than Romney had, and some disquieting Trump polls don’t change that; Romney had some disquieting polls too.

    • LeeEsq says:

      If Trump could get all or most of his demographic out than he can still beat Hillary because of numbers. Its just that Trump can not do this because of the infrastructure or lack there of, of his campaign.

    • Gregor Sansa says:

      There’s a good 5-10% of people who know in their hearts they’re gonna have to vote for Clinton but who aren’t willing to say it to a pollster yet.

  23. Matt Hubbard at Above None Of The Above blog, has Clinton at 99%

    He also has some words for Nate Silver’s fidgeting with his numbers….

  24. Warren Terra says:

    A bit off topic, just today Trump did the following (and it’s likely incomplete):
    1) Attacked Khizr Khan again, saying Khan is upset that Trump wants to keep terrorists out.
    2) In doing so, claimed that “thousands and thousands” of terrorists are currently getting in – an obviously untrue statement.
    3) Said that if a woman, even his daughter, was sexually harassed by their boss they should quit and seek a new job elsewhere.
    4) Attacked another fire marshal for doing their job.
    5) Said the election was rigged, would likely be stolen, and that he was way ahead in Florida.
    6) Called Hillary the devil.
    7) Praised Paul Ryan’s primary challenger, while Paul Ryan is (1) basically the leader of his party and (2) standing by his endorsement of Trump.
    8) Claimed his July fundraising of $35 million was “unheard of for Republicans”; it’s a third of Romney’s fundraising in July 2012.

    That’s just today, and today’s not over. He’s saying the crazy stuff faster than anyone could keep up.

    • Karen24 says:

      The fire marshall story would be topping the news cycle but for Trump’s idiocy regarding the Khans. He accused the GUY WHO RESCUED HIM FROM A MALFUNCTIONING ELEVATOR of being a Clinton partisan ruining his rally by refusing to allow the venue to be overloaded. Firefighters are venerated almost as much as the families of dead soldiers here in Real ‘Murca.

    • Lee Rudolph says:

      That’s just today, and today’s not over. He’s saying the crazy stuff faster than anyone could keep up.

      Clearly, his Russian handlers, raised in a traditional hacking culture, are aiming for a register overflow.

      • CD says:


        NYT front page has been crazy today.

    • Ken says:

      Claimed his July fundraising of $35 million was “unheard of for Republicans”; it’s a third of Romney’s fundraising in July 2012.

      See? He’s able to be truthful.

      Admittedly, it’s the truthfulness of a movie ad with a quote “…never seen anything [like this] in thirty years as a reviewer…”

      • postmodulator says:

        I always bring up those double-entendre letters of recommendation: “The quality of her work will astonish you.” “You would be lucky to get this man to work for you.”

    • Murc says:

      Praised Paul Ryan’s primary challenger,

      I’d really love to see Ryan get Cantor’d.

      Well… with qualifiers. If Ryan gets taken down from the right, I really, truly think we end up in a genuine crisis early next year, where the House decides to shut down the gub’mint unless Donald Trump’s platform is enacted in its entirety and then actually sticks to that for months instead of weeks. That would be… bad.

    • Warren Terra says:

      Apparently he’s now said “I know the Constitution very well, probably as well as anybody”, which is silly (people have spent their lives studying the Constitution).

      And he’s vowed to crack down on internet pr0n.

      I’m not sure either is as crazy as the rest of the list, though.

  25. Thrax says:

    Okay, good. Now, can anyone make a case for why I shouldn’t be worried that (a) the Clinton campaign’s turnout operation and/or (b) the various state boards of elections will get hacked?

    I’m guessing the former will have reasonably good security, but I really doubt the latter will. These are state governments we’re talking about. We’d be lucky if they have antivirus software at all.

    Obviously, the state boards just aggregate results that come in from the precincts, and a simultaneous hack of the necessary amount of precincts would be…quite a trick. But if anyone wants to show me that this can’t work, please go ahead.

  26. tomscud says:

    Huh, the whole Trump/Khan thing makes me wonder: has Richard Dawkins weighed in on the election yet?

  27. I am reliably informed, by some thriller I can’t place just now, that the real odds in Russian roulette are somewhat better than one in six (for a six-shot revolver). The weight of the bullet and cartridge will tend to bring the cylinder to rest with the one loaded chamber away from the barrel, assuming the mechanism is well-oiled and you are holding the revolver the right way up. Don’t try this at home, unless your name is Donald Trump.

    • Craigo says:

      That’s why Russian roulette players are supposed to point the barrel at the ceiling or floor while spinning the chamber.

    • Aziraphale says:

      It’s one of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels. I think Die Trying, the one where he is accidentally kidnapped along with a woman by a right-wing militia.

      Of course it’s not unlikely that another thriller would tell you the same.

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