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Debate Pre-Thread

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I confess that I have great foreboding about the debate. I have a sinking feeling that Trump is going to lie and lie again, Hillary won’t effectively respond, the moderator won’t call him out (or will quickly cower under his bluster if he pushes back at all), and even more white people will see him as the embodiment of their resentments and fears.

This does not help me feel better.

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  • junker

    I think Josh Marshall made a good point over the weekend – Trump’s problem is that Clinton has stuck to a relatively small, but still durable lead in the polls (pollster has her at a roughly 4 point national lead head-to-head for all of September). Trump therefore needs to shake things up. The problem lies in the fact that he has dual-pressures:

    1. Act “Presidential” and calm, because most of the people not voting for him think he’s too erratic, but
    2. Needs a big moment that sticks out in people’s mind, which almost by definition isn’t going to come if he’s calm.

    So how can you thread that needle?

    • Morse Code for J

      Provoke Clinton into a gaffe of some kind.

      Of course, a roomful of congressmen spent 12 hours trying to do that without success, and he’ll only have 90 minutes.

    • NewishLawyer

      I don’t expect Trump to win a majority and 538 is saying that HRC is winning in the states where she needs to win. They even admit that there is a lot of volatility in the polls and unlike 2008 and 2012, there could be some dramatic changes on election night. Nate states that 538 is more pro-Trump than other polling/aggregate sites but also the one who thinks HRC has the highest possibility of a landslide.

      But I do think a narrow Trump loss is still really bad for the nation overall and Trump would be a LePage with more damage if he wins.

      • los

        Trump would be a LePage with more damage if he wins.
        a lazy-minded bumbler with tendency to react defensively.

    • Slothrop2

      She’s probably going to lose Colorado and maybe even Pennsylvania.

      No matter who she is, I suppose it was all worth the effort to try to elect the first woman president.

      • junker

        Your pronouncements now make me more sure than ever that she is going to win those states.

        • Slothrop2

          Quite amazing that the Democratic Party managed to nominate a candidate who cannot beat Trump. Rick Santorum would win by a landslide. Just pathetic.

          • junker

            *Forces smile, nods politely, backs away slowly*

          • Dr. Waffle

            Yes, because Bernie’s “socialism” wouldn’t have been a liability at all in the general election.

            Half this country is freaking the fuck out because a quarterback is refusing to stand for the National Anthem. You really think these same people would have voted for an explicitly left-wing candidate? What universe are you living in?

          • Philip

            UNLIMITED CORPORATE CASH

            • That is the one explanation of Trump’s success that is definitely wrong. He has raised a fraction of the money Clinton has done and is spending even less, once you account for the skim. The Kochs are out, Wall Street is out, Adelson gave him an insulting $5m.

      • Karen24

        You really like that sweet, sweet Oculus cash, don’t you?

        • junker

          Ha! I didn’t make that connection, I think this is a perfect response for this particular troll.

  • keta

    Oh, cheer up! If nothing else, this election season has done something many thought impossible, and united the country in a common cause. I mean, the other side might be scum, but we can all agree that the biggest villain in America today is the loathsome media.

    Common ground to build on!

    • NewishLawyer

      It is interesting to see new Media like Slate and some obviously center-left or liberal publications like the Media scream to the big dailies and TV News Reporters “Do YOUR job!!! Your definition of your job is wrong. You need to do this!!!!”

  • Thom

    So much for all that “it’s a blowout, why even think about the presidential race” talk from just a few weeks ago. And, YIKES!

    • Murc

      So much for all that “it’s a blowout, why even think about the presidential race” talk from just a few weeks ago.

      From whom?

      • Jordan

        If you are generous about “a few weeks ago” then the majority of LGM commentators on the prediction post.

        (well, not the “why even think about it”, that never happened).

        • Murc

          (well, not the “why even think about it”, that never happened).

          You make my point for me.

          • Jordan

            hey man, I don’t don’t know what part of a quotation you are referring too :).

        • los

          blowout
          From whom?
          Trump will win in a (another Romneyesque?) landslide, according to many “deplorable *” altcucks on twitter.

      • Steve

        August in the pundit-sphere was all about how Trump was dragging down all the down-ticket races, the House might be in play, the RNC might abandon Trump, “don’t give Hillary a “blank check,” even more GOPers have said they won’t vote Trump, etc.

        I didn’t see a lot of back-patting here though Scott has been bullish of Clinton and posted, I think, 2-3 times about what a historically bad candidate Trump is.

        • mnuba

          Well, some of the ways in which Trump is historically terrible, namely in campaign organization and GOTV, theoretically won’t show up until ballots actually start being counted.

          And he’s still horrible. The extremity of Republican tribalism doesn’t make Trump any better of a candidate or a human being.

      • CrunchyFrog

        From whom?

        Scott in his posts here about how Trump was running a historically terrible campaign.

        • Isn’t he doing so?

          ETA: It’s compatible that he’s running a historically bad campaign and that he will win the election (even without HRC running an even worse campaign).

          3rd party spoiling comes to mind a one mechanism.

          EATA: On some things the campaign has picked up a little, e.g., fundraising. So it’s not as dire as it was. GOTV seems still pretty damn bad.

        • Murc

          Scott in his posts here about how Trump was running a historically terrible campaign.

          Do the goalposts make a beeping noise when you move’em like that?

          I’ll be charitable. Show me Scott saying it is going to be a blowout and we don’t even need to think about the Presidential race, and I’ll admit I’m wrong.

          • CrunchyFrog

            This sure did seem like gloating.

            http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2016/08/walk-of-shame

            But he certainly wasn’t saying we didn’t need to worry about the presidential race, to be sure. All those Jill Stein posts made the opposite point.

            • CrunchyFrog
              • Thom

                In any case I was referring to media in general, not Scott.

              • This seems to be an accurate summary of the Trump campaign esp. at that time.

                This is a better example:

                It’s not strictly accurate to say that Trump has no chance. But a Clinton landslide is much more likely than a Trump win:

                Which was true given the polling at the time. (Adjusted for thinking that the bounce had settled. It clearly hadn’t.)

                Or this:

                It’s not strictly accurate to say that Trump has no chance. But a Clinton landslide is much more likely than a Trump win:

            • That post does not say that it’s a blowout nor that the presidential race is not worth thinking about. It says that Republicans were polled with high buyer’s remorse and that Trump was not winning. He still isn’t.

        • cpinva

          “Scott in his posts here about how Trump was running a historically terrible campaign.”

          he historically is. I don’t believe those polls showing Trump even or ahead of Clinton, absent the tabs showing an actual random sample. methinks the polls and the media have been having their chains pulled for a while now. I look forward to an even more historic meltdown, by Karl Rove, the evening of Nov. 8th, when the true measure of Clinton’s trouncing of Trump becomes clear.

    • econoclast

      It would have been a blowout, but then the media spent a month painting Clinton as a crook. The poll tightening didn’t just happen — the media made it happen. Let’s not pretend it was inevitable or a natural phenomenon.

      • Slothrop2

        Oh Gawd.

      • addicted44

        Highlighted by front page articles on how the Clinton Foundation casts a cloudy stormy shadown on her campaign because she helped a donor, who also happened to be a Nobel Peace prize winner, a winner of a bunch of awards from the American and other governments, that she knew going back to her days as first lady in Arkansas, and was being politically persecuted by her government, on the same day the Trump foundation was actually found to have committed real irregularities to the point where it was paying a fine to the IRS.

      • Scott Mc

        I think too that the riots in Charlotte are influencing this latest round of polls. When faced with nevertrumping and a Hilary win vs getting a “strong” leader who will deal with those people, the rethugs will go to strong leader in a heartbeat.

        • los

          the riots in Charlotte are influencing this latest round of polls… rethugs will go to strong leader (Donald Duce hysteria)
          which makes the Fraternal Order of Police’s October Surprise “duty” easy.
          Within the period of October 25 through November 4, get one bad kill on phonevids in each of about 5 or 6 large cities.

  • Steve

    I am terrified. I am hearing a lot of “oh he wouldn’t be any worse than Bush,’ or “He is just another Berlusconi.” I don’t know if that is just folks’ psychological defense mechanisms kicking-in or what but neither is comforting even if true (e.g. Bush killed a million people)and they aren’t because they ignore enormous differences in context and (Trump’s) character.

    • Cheerful

      I think Berlusconi would also have made a terrible U.S. president. People have no idea how much damage an American president can do to the world if he has bad ideas, is an incompetent manager influenced by whoever gains his ear, and a complete narcissist.

      But apparently there’s an even chance they will find out.

      Edit: And to torture ourselves further, here is an account of those policies Trump could undertake immediately, on his first day in office, through executive order:

      http://www.slate.com/articles/podcasts/trumpcast/2016/09/president_trump_s_first_days_in_office.html

      • Steve

        Berlusconi was restricted by the EU and by his fragile ruling coalition. Also he didn’t have the US military at his disposal or US economy to steward. And while he did ally with nationalist groups he never proposed the insanity that Trump already has.

        So yeah…the potential damage here is a several orders of magnitude worse.

        • Joe_JP

          Yup. I read someone (who does know Trump is horrible) compare him to that guy. I think he’s probably worse but even if he was the same, it would be worse.

          Also, don’t like just calling Trump names like “buffoon,” since that gives him too much credit.

        • Hob

          Berlusconi going all-in with the anti-immigrant right did real, serious damage to people– both in terms of official policy, and in stoking hatred among the general public which leads to things like the recent murder in Fermo. He was also almost certainly in bed with the fucking mafia, which is often treated as a joke here but is still responsible for a significant amount of death and terror (including attacks on refugees; contrary to the popular image of gangsters being apolitical, they’re happy to make common cause with right-wing regimes).

          Basically, anyone who thinks “just another Berlusconi” would be a relatively harmless thing is someone who either doesn’t know anything about Italy, or doesn’t give a shit about the kinds of people who inevitably suffer under a Berlusconi or a Trump, and therefore feels personally safe as long as there isn’t a nuclear war.

    • Tom in BK

      EDIT: Fuck it, I remembered 2000. I’m terrified, too.

    • econoclast

      Wait, people are using “another Berlusconi” as an argument in favor of Trump? Berlusconi didn’t literally cause everyone in Italy to die in a fire, but Italy’s economy has been stagnant for 20 years, pretty much beginning with the Berlusconi era.

      • Steve

        No, they are using it as a, “it won’t be THAT bad if he wins…chill everyone.”

    • CrunchyFrog

      If Trump wins with a majority of the House and Senate being Republican the situation will be as dire as it has been since 1860 – maybe even worse than that.

      First, he will appoint the Scalia replacement and probably replacements for two of the four Democratic justices, guaranteeing a very long Republican majority on the SCOTUS.

      Second, expect Democratic vote statistics to plummet dramatically. Expect photo ID for voting to become the law of the land combined with state laws that make it exceptionally hard for people who don’t drive to get state photo ID. Add in everything else they can think of, from too few voting machines in Democratic districts to requiring voter registration to be in person at facilities that are located far from where most Democrats live. We won’t see the House go Democratic again in decades, at the very minimum.

      Obamacare of course is repealed before the end of January and Medicare for those under 55 will become a coupon program. Social security gets slashed for future retirees and COLA gets frozen. All progress on climate change – minimal though it has been – gets reversed as subsidies for clean energy are slashed or removed entirely and off shore drilling and pipelines are approved en masse.

      And we haven’t even gotten to foreign policy yet.

      If Clinton fucks up the debate tonight I’ll have our emmigration applications into New Zealand and Canada as soon as possible to get in the front of the queue.

      • Timurid

        I’ll have my immigration papers ready for… ah, who am I kidding? I’m barely employable in this country. No First World country would have me as an immigrant, even before the increased competition caused by the Trumpocalypse.

        • CrunchyFrog

          Sadly, the rest of my family (not me) has dual citizenship, but their other country just voted for Brexit.

          • Philip

            Ah, so they get to choose which dystopian science fiction story they’d like to live in

      • Steve

        Think of all the alt-right folks he’ll appoint to run our bureaucracies and as judges. And think of all the federal, state and local politicians who will run on a white nationalism platform going forward.

        And then there are the probable trade wars, the nuclear arms race in east asia, the collapse of NATO as a credible organization….and you know a Trump win will encourage rightwing vigilantism.

    • los

      Silvio Berlusconi versus Donald Trump – who is more corrupt?

    • Sly

      “oh he wouldn’t be any worse than Bush,’ or “He is just another Berlusconi.”

      “I’ll be fine in my white suburb.”

      • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

        White Kansas Republicans are finding that government can affect their lives.

  • TPM Polltracker is worse.

    http://polltracker.talkingpointsmemo.com/contests/us-president-2016

    Just as it wasn’t being so scary! :)

    • kped

      And…I continue to stick to Sam Wang and PEC. So much more opaque in how he is arriving at his numbers, so much clearer on what everything means.

      Also love the analysis from sometimes commentator Dana Houle on twitter, who is someone whose dealt with polls. And David Plouffe’s thing in the Plum Line was very informative.

      I’m done with 538, Nate is too click-bait for me. And his massaging of state polls with the national polls is just fucking weird. He seems like someone who is trying to prove how much smarter then everyone else he is, trying to make “the math”, when regular math works better.

      (note, none of this is unskewing polls. Especially Dana’s stuff, I can see people saying that. But it’s not true. He is looking at the actual data and comparing it to recent reality. A bad Clinton poll in Colorado where Hillary only wins 48% of the non-white vote? The Trump lead gets the attention, but Dana is correct to point out that the cross tabs don’t reflect reality.)

      • junker
        • However, Plouffe also said a great deal is riding on Clinton’s performance in tonight’s debate.

          I hope that’s not what he said, cause that’s nonsense.

          PLOUFFE: My sense is that Trump has got more of his vote in the bank than Clinton does. There are still a decent number of Latinos who are undecided. She’ll win a vast majority of those. Almost every African American undecided voter will side with her. There’s a good chance that college educated voters — and this is where the debates are important — will break decisively in her favor.

          The debates are a stage that should suit her more than the day-to-day campaigning. She has an opportunity to convince some of those undecided voters, but more important, to give people who might not be sure they’re going to vote — but who would support her — a little more passion. She’s got the opportunity to talk directly to people. Even millennial voters.

          Hmm….I’m not convinced at all. Maybe it’ll affect differential response in polls thus improve her numbers, but move the needle for voting?!? That would be super duper surprising and contrary to the polysci consensus.

          And he goes sorta incoherent:

          This race is being covered in a way that suggests it’s a dead heat. And it’s not. She’s got a small national poll lead. But more importantly, she’s got a decisive electoral college lead. The debates are a chance for voters to see her in a more unfiltered way.

          Sigh.

          • econoclast

            I suspect you’re right on the big picture, but this election was to “the poly sci consensus” what 2008 was to the macroeconomic consensus”.

            • Hmmm…not really. Has it?

              Not yet at least.

              ETA: E.g., It looks like we had normal convention bounces.

              • sonamib

                Well, yeah, and standard Keynesianism was vindicated by the 2008 crisis aftermath, so nothing new under the sun in both cases :)

      • Scott Mc

        I’ve leaned on Sam to keep me sane this go as well, but I seem to recall Sam being overly optimistic for most of the 2014 cycle. Silver specifically called him out on it, and in the end Silver was right.

        That said, Silver mostly missed Trump’s rise earlier this year, so I hope he is overcorrecting. If not, we are f*cked.

      • Polltracker isn’t a forecast, it’s a poll aggregator. It’s a bit more volatile and pessimistic than RealClearPolitics or HuffPost Pollster, but it’s not directly comparable to PEC.

        For what I think in general:

        https://bparsia.wordpress.com/2016/09/22/should-you-prefer-sensitive-noisy-or-insensitive-lagging-poll-aggregation/

      • charliekilian

        I find the discussion stuff on 538 less than worthless. But I do think the models are interesting. I think Sam Wang and Nate Silver are taking two fundamentally different approaches and both have value. Silver has built a model ahead of time, and doesn’t change it throughout the election (at least, that is my understanding — correct me if I’m wrong!). So his attempt is to take judgement out of the picture in the day-to-day by reasoning out the judgments ahead of time when daily events aren’t providing an incentive to lean on his biases. By contrast, 538’s commentary is entirely about bias and judgment. That’s frustrating, but I don’t think it invalidates the model approach. It just means I don’t read the commentary.

        Sam Wang also has a model, but he’s willing to make judgement calls on how to change it and when. This doesn’t mean he’s wrong, but it does mean his methods to remove bias are different. (Frankly, he seems more temperamentally suited for an approach that changes mid-stream than Silver.) I get the sense that Wang’s goals are subtly different than Silver’s. If nothing else, producing a model that works without human input clearly isn’t one of Wang’s goal. I don’t know if he’d say it this way, but I get the impression that Wang is more interested in the practical outcome and wringing as much as he can from the numbers at any given moment than he is at theoretical research. He uses the theory, sure, but his interest is more practical.

        To me, both approaches are valuable. The thing that is scaring me is how different the results are. I don’t know which I should place more trust in.

        • kped

          I’m finding everything about 538 to be…not worthless, but not worth my time. He has Trump at nearly 60% chance of winning Florida. What do the polls say? Clinton 44-42.

          How does he arrive at his numbers? He skews pollsters. He skews states to match a trendline. He skews a whole heap of stuff to come out with these numbers, and I find it lacking. So, if I can use someone who performed better the last two presidential elections (as PEC did), I’m going to stick with them. And the fact that they don’t play with the numbers is a bonus.

          Also, if you think the new Colorado polls are true (and given she only wins 48% of non-whites in them…I don’t), please alert me to when Clinton or Super Pacs start advertising heavily in Colorado again. Or when she starts diverting funds from longshots to shore up traditional battlegrounds…

        • I get the sense that Wang’s goals are subtly different than Silver’s. If nothing else, producing a model that works without human input clearly isn’t one of Wang’s goal.

          What? That seems…very wrong.

          There’s a lot more human input in Silver’s (e.g., weighting of polls by quality of pollster).

          • charliekilian

            I see your point, and it’s worth considering. But that’s not what I meant. I meant human input in real-time, as the election season progresses. I meant, the model is set before hand, and then they don’t change it as the season progresses. They might change it from year to year, but once they decide on the model, they leave it the same for the whole season.

            Unless they change the weights of the polls as the election season progresses? Is that the case? If so, then I stand corrected; that would be a pretty big change to the model in real-time.

            • But Wang doesn’t adjust his model a lot during the race, certainly not in a “fitting to the data” way. He did make a change to the model (out of a “standard” change) which is to pick whether he was going with low or high variability of polls based on performance to date. But this choice was built into the model, it just needed to be made. 538 does something similar in discounting the fundamentals (iirc) the closer they get to the election.

              Hmm. The pollster ratings are not very manual, it seems. But it’s still a pretty big intervention (and complicated).

              I guess i don’t really see either of them providing much body english over the season.

              • charliekilian

                Yeah, I think you’re right actually. My impression in that regard was wrong.

                • No worries!

                  The standard characterisation of the difference is that PEC’s model is rather simple and less noisy. It tends to be persuaded by polls very slowly. 538’s (any of them) is fairly complex (even the polls only because of pollster ratings) and rather noisy. It tends to be convinced rather quickly (compared to PEC). So it tends to look more like a poll aggregator.

                  Another way of thinking of it is that 538’s curve fitting is a bit tighter than PECs.

      • addicted44

        I gave up on Nate Silver when he was dismissing Trump’s chances in the primary.

        I find the problem is that Nate is completely dependent on his model and his numbers. He completely ignores the mechanisms by which the stuff his models predict will happen can happen.

        Ignoring mechanisms is something Krugman has complained a lot about the economics profession (it’s why he says so many economists were fearing inflation from QE while he was almost certain it wouldn’t happen, because there was no actual real world mechanism by which it could), and I feel 538 is similar to the economics profession in that regard. Completely ignoring mechanisms in favor of their models.

        The way it played out in the Trump’s primary chances was that while the models indicated he had no chance, it was hard to find a way that a non-Trump candidate could gather the support he needed. Silver thought the donors would rally behind one non-Trump, but this completely ignored how this would happen in practice, when they hadn’t been able to rally behind one non-Trump for years (which is why they had 17 candidates), and the only one who was even slightly rally worthy was not gonna win because of his last name.

        Since I stopped following 538, I’m not sure how 538’s models are playing out, but I suspect if there are any issues, it’s probably driven by this.

        That being said, liberals shouldn’t go all “unskewed”. The shift to Trump is very real, and frankly, very unexpected. The people who are gonna vote Republican, are gonna vote for Trump. As others have pointed out, as horrible as Trump is, he is a consequence of base Republicanism, and not an outlier. It wouldn’t take much to have Republicans warm up to him.

        • xq

          Silver got the primary wrong because he disbelieved his own numbers. It’s not a case of too much dependence on models and numbers; it’s the opposite of that.

        • mongolia

          I think what’s really made 538 incoherent wasn’t so much the miss on Trump, but the miss on Michigan in the Dem primaries. The polls were all garbage (which the MI Dems were all telling us, tbf), and the 1% win by Bernie was given significantly more importance by analysts, the media, etc. after that, they tweaked their model a bit, making the tail-end probabilities higher. i think their model comes up with a likeliest result for a given state, and then uses that in a probability distribution model, which seems like a poor approach to me unless you have each state result moving in tandem

    • NewishLawyer

      How the hell did Clinton slink so far down from Sunday to Monday?

  • BobOso

    “and even more white people will see him as the embodiment of their resentments and fears”

    Republicans are coming home and are going to vote for whoever has an “R” by their name. That’s it. It won’t matter if Hillary fires zinger after zinger or schools Trump on every subject. Republicans are going to vote R no matter what. I’ll give you a small example: My boss (over 60 white male) 364 days a year is a compassionate lawyer that does countless pro bono hours for immigrants, widows and orphans. Hell, he took on a Title VII case pro bono. He is voting for Trump because Hillary is the devil and he wants to “preserve the integrity of the Supreme Court”. There is no persuading these folks.

    Is it depressing? Yes. Do I wish we blew out these guys with a 10 point win? Yes.

    It will be a 4 point election that hinges entirely on GOTV.

    • howard

      throughout the entire republican nomination show, i kept saying that in the end, gop voters would come home because of hatred for the she-devil, and that’s exactly what is happening.

      that said, i believe two more things are also true: the college-educated, high-income republicans who are coming home to trump are doing so because he is largely keeping his mouth closed. he can’t keep his mouth closed tonight.

      and second, one campaign has a gotv operation and one does not: i can’t believe that won’t matter.

      • Steve

        Think about the self-deception required to believe that 2-3 weeks of Trump reading off of a teleprompter means he has “changed,” and is no longer the person he has been consistently for 40 years in the spotlight.

        • efgoldman

          Think about the self-deception required to believe that 2-3 weeks of Trump reading off of a teleprompter means he has “changed,”

          No teleprompter tonight, no herd of Smurfs he can shout over and intimidate, no trying to prove who’s wingier-than-thou, no preparation, no breaks off the hot stage for more than 90 minutes, no advisors whispering in his ear, no thickening of his skin. I’ll take my chances.
          My fellow Democrats are really pissing me off with all this cowering.
          Did you miss the poll which said a huge majority of respondents expect HRC to win. People see what they expect to see.
          And I’ve seen reference to several polls that show Orange Shitweasel’s support among white men is lower than the percentage Mittster got.
          She’s going to win. Maybe not as big as we thought after one of the best conventions in my memory, but she’s going to win, if we work for it instead of hiding under the bed sniveling.

          • muddy

            I’ve noticed that Trump says a lot of bad things about people, but never has the nerve to say it in their face one-on-one. So I don’t think he will have the nerve to really give her a lot of shit the way he does typically.

            On the other hand, this might make him look more reasonable to some. But his followers might think it makes him look like a “cuck”.

            • addicted44

              This.

              Trump chickened out about all his trash talk about Mexico the second he was actually face to face with their (politically extremely weak) President.

              The guy is a classic bully. He can talk a ton of trash, but can never walk the walk.

            • efgoldman

              I don’t think he will have the nerve to really give her a lot of shit the way he does typically.

              She’ll bait him into it.

              • muddy

                I was kind of hoping she’d do the “brush imaginary lint off shoulder” bit while he was ranting on, but the media would probably say that it was a piece of her brain that might have fallen there.

                (even if you know the movement I mean, check the 15 second video, it’s sweet)

          • Linnaeus

            This is pretty close to my own views on the election right now. Obviously, one should never take an election for granted and there is legitimate cause for concern, but I’m not panicking just yet. If we do the work, I’m confident that we’ll see Clinton in the White House next January.

        • howard

          watching educated affluent republican voters come home to trump has been to see the power of motivated reasoning in action: it’s not only intense self-deception about trump, it’s also intense self-deception about clinton and what a she-devil she is.

          • Jackov

            Which candidate is most likely to cut my taxes?
            Which candidate is most likely to take my money
            and give it to others?

            Where is the self-deception?

            High income whites vote for Republicans.

            For whites, the richer they are the more likely they vote Republican
            across all levels of education. In recent presidential elections,
            rich post-grads have split 50/50 with Republicans doing a bit better
            in 2000 and 2012.

            • howard

              that’s an oversimplification: if it were as simple as that, then trump wouldn’t be doing better with that demographic over time.

              that is a demographic that actually values facts and rational thought, so to reduce its decision-making to vulgar economism misses an important part of the boat.

              to put it another way, yes, they want to vote gop, but loud-mouthed trump gave them pause and quieter trump does not: the polls are showing this.

              • Jackov

                Option 1: affluent, educated Republicans do not realize
                Trump is a sexist, racist dirtbag now that he has gone quiet

                Option 2: some affluent, educated Republicans are
                also racist, sexist and anti-gay.

                Tough call.
                Let’s go to Gelman
                Wealthy people in red states are not conflicted in their party choice.
                The culture war is real but it is concentrated among upper income voters.

      • CrunchyFrog

        i kept saying that in the end, gop voters would come home because of hatred for the she-devil, and that’s exactly what is happening.

        At some point the Democratic powers that be need to realize that the Third Way types need to be put into permanent retirement with no replacement. Otherwise they are going to have a Labour Party type of revolt from within and the resulting split will leave a party incapable of winning anything. A lot of rank-and-file Democrats were never happy with the Liebermans and Clintons and Emmanuels and Lanny Davises and Wasserman-Schultzes and Coaxleys to begin with, but among the younger Democrats the tolerance for that style of triangulating is with few exceptions completely gone.

        Everyone needs to get behind Clinton now – and 4 years from now if she wins this year – but moving forward the model needs to be the Wellstones and Warrens.

        • howard

          i ask this seriously: where are the signs that the younger democrats who are left and proud are actually, you know, entering politics? are there a bunch of 20-something or 30-something mayors and state legislators and future bigger candidates emerging in that generation? and are they in fact left and proud?

          because otherwise, who exactly is supposed to be actualizing the “model?”

          • Philip

            This has been a problem for decades. Democrats mostly don’t go into politics.

            • LeeEsq

              Its more complicated. They go into politics but not electoral politics, Most of them seem to prefer the world of think tanks, the blogosphere, behind the scenes policy work and consulting, protest politics, and not for profits. They do not like actually running or being in office.

              • joho9119

                How can you run for office with student loan debt?

                This has certainly played into my calculus for running for office / politics full time. I assume for other more lefty-young-dems it plays into theirs too. Most people can’t pay their debts without full-time employment, which doesn’t then lend itself well to campaigning and/or running for office.

        • addicted44

          Labour’s issues are that they erected a barrier to voting for your leader (you need to be a “member”) but the barrier is so small (3 pounds?) that if you have any concerted effort it can be overcome easily.

          This makes it easy for insurgent campaigns which have a lot of energy to bring out people to overcome that small barrier, but harder for the status quo to defend from, because it’s hard for them to motivate people to become members by saying “we will keep doing what we’ve been doing”.

          Corbyn keeps doing well amongst members, while not doing well across the people who vote Labour in elections.

    • Linnaeus

      a compassionate lawyer that does countless pro bono hours for immigrants, widows and orphans.

      I suspect St. Ives would not vote for Trump.

      • LeeEsq

        Nor would Saint Thomas More, patron of lawyers and statespeople.

    • NewishLawyer

      What kind of law does he practice for profit?

      The statement makes know sense because I know a lot of over 60 white guy lawyers who vote Democratic because they want Democratically appointed Justices and Judges along with social liberal lawyers. If I was a lawyer doing work for immigrants or on the plaintiff’s bar, I would want judges likely to rule in my favor and that means voting Democratic.

    • addicted44

      How is it that there are so many political consultants getting paid millions, when you’ve done a better job than them put together in one free comment on LGM?

    • xq

      Your example of one does not constitute strong evidence that 100% of Republicans will vote for Trump no matter what. And in a close election every vote matters. Sure, getting Republicans to vote Clinton is really hard, but so is GOTV.

      • BobOso

        Sorry, I generally have to post-jump off- then catch up later in the day.

        @xq- I’m in Texas and would settle for them not voting for Trump and going Johnson/Weld- maybe we can flip Texas that way.

        @NewishLawyer- General practice but he’s probably heavier toward defense. I lean more plaintiff’s bar. One other story- back in the tort reform days in Texas, the defense bar PAC had to tell the Republicans to tone it down or else they would put the plaintiff AND defense bar out of business.

  • (((Malaclypse)))

    Is Hillary’s eye roll more disrespectful than Gore’s sigh? From the left, we’ll get Jonah Goldberg’s view, from the right, Vox Day.

    • howard

      i fired off one of my now-regular emails to [email protected], wondering why the times had an “oral history” of the first gore-bush debate that didn’t address the performance of the media after the first gore-bush debate.

    • drpuck

      Gore’s sigh? Those were quaint times.

      Hair Duce’s facial expressions during the other GOP candidate’s responses were endlessly weird.

      Gore’s expression is a freckle by comparison. BUT, we know the new normal is merely some shocking bar that Trump will soon enough exceed.

    • bender

      It is. I’m irritated with HRC’s condescending tone of voice even when I agree with what she is saying. If she were acting in a play or a movie, I would say she is giving bad line readings. Minor changes in pitch, emphasis and facial expression would enable her to make her points accompanied with the emotional content she is trying to convey, rather than what she frequently does convey, which is superciliousness. Although Elizabeth Warren is somewhat Jonny-one-note, she zings her opponents effectively without making you annoyed at her. It’s too late now. If HRC has gotten advice like this from others, she hasn’t taken it.

      • FlipYrWhig

        St. Elizabeth Warren beat himbo Scott Brown 53.7-46.2% at the same time as Obama was beating Romney 60.65-37.51% in the same electorate. IOW, Warren UNDERperformed. As much as we love her, Warren is not some genius political communicator.

        • efgoldman

          As much as we love her, Warren is not some genius political communicator.

          She gives good twit.
          Cosmo Boy was the incumbent, that counts for something. In two years, she’ll be re-elected pretty much by acclamation.

        • CrunchyFrog

          Yep, Warren isn’t a superpower candidate by any means. OTOH, there is a significant chunk of the electorate that likes to split tickets and in MA Romney had become persona non grata to a lot of them making him unvotable, so the best way to split was to vote for the GOP Senator – who at that point still “seemed nice”.

        • mnuba

          IIRC there was a fair bit of noise in that election too about Warren sounding hectoring, condescending, shrill, and all the other words we call lady politicians that dare to run for elected office in this country. I am consistently baffled by people constantly bringing up Warren as the example of A Woman In Politics Who Does It Right when criticizing HRC. If she were the candidate, we’d be hearing a lot of the same attacks on her tone of voice or whatever.

          • los

            If she were the candidate, we’d be hearing a lot of the same attacks on her tone of voice or whatever.
            of course, no matter anything. But Warren is still a bunker buster. :-)
            (metaphorical, dohh)

          • FlipYrWhig

            Yup. I remember a steady stream of stories about how she was blowing it and should have been winning easily.

  • were-witch

    …forgive a dumb question. Is this new? has Trump finally broken through the poll ceiling that folks have been talking about?

    I have looked at the now-cast maybe twice this year and don’t entirely understand how to calibrate my panic to it.

    • howard

      the most important thing to remember about nate silver is that he is no longer in the analysis business, he’s in the eyeballs and clicks business.

      • junker

        I have been thinking lately about how the surprise closure of Grantland has affected business at Fivethirtyeight. The incentives now aren’t to be as accurate as possible but how to drive clicks.

        • Jordan

          ohh, that is a good take.

        • los

          drive clicks
          java**it makes the site unusable without archive services.

      • Manny Kant

        Silver’s been unbelievably hackish all election. Of late, his big thing is to constantly post on Twitter about how not enough people are willing to accept how close this election is, without ever really acknowledging that his model has been consistently more favorable to Trump than anyone else’s (even RCP!)

        • NewishLawyer

          My theory is that it is because Silver/538 got caught with their pants down in the Republican Primary. Harry Enten even gave an interview where he admitted that 538 refused to believe their polling data on Trump winning the primaries. So my hope is that there strong showing for Trump is a kind of CYA in retrospect strategy.

          • Manny Kant

            Both stages here – dismissing Trump in primaries, hyping him in the general – are exactly the same thing people like Cillizza and Halperin have been doing. In both cases, it’s what the mainstream Republican/center right media establishment is down for. I suspect this is not a coincidence.

          • xq

            The whole line of logic in this subthread is a little weird. For a long time, 538’s poll-plus model was less confident in Clinton than Upshot, PEC, and the poll-only model. Now the polls have moved towards Trump. This suggests that the polls-plus lack of confidence was right. And the response is to call Silver a hack?

            The response should be to say that PEC is probably overconfident (which I’ve been saying for a long time). I think polls-plus is basically the right approach, though I don’t know enough about particular polls to judge the details.

      • ChrisS

        Yeah, the daily tweets from him that Trump is closing the distance; it’s closer than you think; Clinton could be in serious trouble; Trump is having a better week; are Clinton’s gaffes ruining her shot, etc are getting tiresome.

        Everything is about how Trump can win and Hillary can lose.

    • Schadenboner

      Panic. Details to follow.

    • Murc

      has Trump finally broken through the poll ceiling that folks have been talking about?

      … no? I confess I don’t recall many folks talking about Trump’s ceiling. Discussion of that nature has usually been about his floor.

      And he’s about where a lot of people expected him to be; 45% give or take.

      • Scott P.

        For several months there was talk his ceiling was 40-42%, that he is not likely to get above that.

        • And that’s *in the polls*, i.e., *vote share*.

          Silver is giving *win probability*. He could with with 42% if HRC is 40% in the final vote tally. If every poll between now and Nov show that gap, his win probability would be close to 100%.

        • NonyNony

          No – he’s going to get at least 45%. McCain/Palin is his floor.

          I’m telling you – once you have talked yourself into voting for McCain/Palin after 8 years of George W Bush it’s easy to talk yourself into Donald Trump after 8 years of Barack Obama. Anyone who voted for McCain/Palin will be voting for Trump.

          • los

            Anyone who voted for Palin (and is still living) will be voting for Trump.
            McCain was a loser POW! (/trump)

    • 538 is a *probability of winning* NOT a *projection of vote share.

      So that’s not the ceiling people talk about (≈40% *of vote share in polls* (averaged)).

      I.e., if HRC dipped persistently to 30, then Trump would have a high chance of winning (80-90%) by most forecasting methods, but Trump need not break his poll ceiling (e.g., he could be persistently 35%).

      He’s hit 45% in TPM’s poll tracker before:

      http://polltracker.talkingpointsmemo.com/contests/us-president-2016

      But these aren’t good numbers, nevertheless! :)

  • pianomover
    • NewishLawyer

      I look at the state by state Upshot frequently and to me it shows that the polls make no sense this year because you have different polls saying key states are in light blue or light red territory.

      The Upshot says HRC has a 57 percent chance of winning Florida which is not bad. 538 and DK have it as just as likely red and the other sites are at toss-up.

      • Those aren’t polls disagreeing per se, but poll aggregators and forecast models. They select and weigh polls differently. I’m pretty sure Sam Wang said that the race has been pretty stable from his perspective.

  • Crusty

    I’m concerned too. Mostly concerned that Trump will use this debate to offer tremendous appeal to the crowd that thinks a “strong leader” is someone who is a loudmouth jerk who doesn’t need no stinkin’ facts.

    On the other hand, I think that crowd is already decided. So what’s to worry?

    • los

      (attentive voters are) already decided
      The small fraction of sleepier, more detached voters haven’t paid much attention yet. Trump will lose those many of those prospective voters if Trump is Trump in the debates.

      • los

        Trump will scare/offend many of those prospective voters if Trump is Trump in the debates.

  • King Goat

    Let’s not forget: We nominated a candidate with near historically high unfavorables, near historically high age, with an established adverse relationship with the press, with a history of playing it safe to appeal to the middle, base be damned! To the extent any of this resulted in the tight race we now lament, it was in large part asked for!

    But of course, this is all the media’s (completely foreseen) fault. And the stupid voters!

    • D.N. Nation

      We nominated a candidate

      And the stupid voters!

      Hmm.

    • wjts

      The damned base in question would be the base that turned out to vote for her over the other candidates in the primary, right?

      • King Goat

        Maybe the base influenced by the superdelegates who, by themselves, made up about a third of the necessary delegates?

        • Rob in CT

          This theory of yours about superdelegates is just dumb, given 2008.

        • King Goat

          Start an election campaign with ’30 % of the necessary votes are with me’

          No advantage?

          • Rob in CT

            Obviously having the support/endorsement of basically everyone of significance in the Democratic Party is an advantage (except for those who hate the Democratic Party, want and outsider, want to burn things down, etc). She got that by working for, you know, decades.

            However, in 2008 (the most recent primary without a sitting Dem president), she started with a ton of superdelegate support, but as Obama did well lots of them switched over to him. Everybody with half a brain knows that the supers overturning a popular vote outcome would be catastrophic for the party and, therefore, is hugely unlikely to happen (in a 2-candidate race, anyway. I guess you can conjure some funky scenario with a 3-way race, a late scandal, etc).

            • The Temporary Name

              She got that by working for, you know, decades.

              That’s cheating that is.

            • los

              Rob in CT says: 2008 (the most recent primary without a sitting Dem president), she started with a ton of superdelegate support, but as Obama did well lots of them switched over to him.

              from search, https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2015-08-28/clinton-s-superdelegate-tipping-point
              this phrasing is jumbled, but appears to say that D primaries 2007 vs 2015 difference is that there were more uncommitted SDs in Aug 2015 than in Aug 2007.
              The AP reported in early December 2007 that Clinton had 169 supers, only a few more than the 130 or so that have publicly committed to her so far, three months earlier in the process.
              (where “three months earlier in the process” seems to refer to link’s publication date Aug 2015)

              In August 2007, however, Obama was a solid second with 63 supers, and other candidates had 86, meaning Clinton only had 53 percent of publicly committed superdelegates.
              implying that Sanders (and O’Malley, Webb, and Chafee?) 2015 had very few committed/prealigned SDs compared to Obama 2007

              • los

                these sentences
                Superdelegates were added in the 1980s for two reasons. One was practical: It was the only way to ensure that those party leaders could get to the convention, at least as delegates. [1] The other was political: Democrats were concerned that their new system didn’t place enough weight on electability, and believed a larger voice for politicians and formal party leaders would tilt the nomination in that direction.

                with these sentences
                Could all of this support disappear? Sure. But it will hold as as long as Clinton keeps her large polling advantage; nor are party actors likely to panic while Clinton is leading in head-to-head trial ballots against each of the Republican candidates

                are (grimly?) amusing in retrospect.


                showing the power of belief in “inevitability”…

                ______
                1. “It was the only way to ensure that those party leaders could get to the convention, at least as delegates” is more jumbled writing. I ignore the “could get to the convention”. The sentence should read, “SD system allows party [“]leaders [“] to be delegates independent of primary caucuses and elections”

          • Murc

            Starting an election by polling at 17% (one-third of 51%, and thus, thirty percent or so of the necessary votes) would be considered pretty fucking awful.

            And that’s disregarding the fact that the nobody votes the way you keep saying they vote.

          • (((Hogan)))

            30 % of the necessary votes are with me’

            Lying.

        • Murc

          You keep saying this and have yet to come up with a plausible explanation that makes it true. Who the hell thinks, on primary day, “Gosh, I was gonna vote for X, but Y has all these superdelegates, so imma vote for them instead.”

          Hillary Clinton won the primary because more Democrats liked her than like Bernie Sanders. This may or not have been a dumb move but it wasn’t in any way illegitimate.

        • Warren Terra

          Is there some sort of automatic penalty for bringing up the superdelegates, who did not influence the result and thus far have never influenced the result? Or is appearing tendentious, obsessed, or perhaps ignorant penalty enough?

        • D.N. Nation

          It’s funny to hear this still when it was the expressed gameplan by Bernie-Or-Busters at the end of the primaries to flip the superdelegates because *reasons* and overturn the popular vote.

          Granted, this was a stupid plan and wasn’t even going to work, but y’all were the ones who kept saying it, so.

        • efgoldman

          Maybe the base influenced by the superdelegates

          Three million votes.
          Arithmetic.
          Bernie lost. Get over it.

          • King Goat

            I’m not a Bernie supporter nor a Bernie or Buster. Just someone who realizes that it doesn’t take a SUPERGENIUS to realize that if our choice is tied with an ‘objectively terrible candidate” then our candidate is terrible.

      • lawtalkingguy

        I am pretty sure that for certain people ‘base’ is code for white people. Some on the left still havent come to terms that the Democrat base is black people. The mythical union worker who died 20 years ago or started voting Republican because ‘white people are as oppressed as minorities’ 8 years ago will definitely have come back!

        • King Goat

          The lily white ticket really demonstrates the importance of dealing with this base you speak of!

          • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

            Your comment would make sense only if we hadn’t had a non-White President for the past 8 years.

            Or are you saying the Democrats can now only nominate only non-White candidates?

            And by any standards, Bernie was whiter than Hillary.

        • Murc

          I am pretty sure that for certain people ‘base’ is code for white people.

          This is true, but for others it means “leftists.” People who want to hear about universal health care and banksters being perp walked and the national security state being gutted and Social Security and Medicare being hugely expanded and the criminal justice system swept clean of racist scum and suchly.

          Some on the left still havent come to terms that the Democrat base is black people.

          Yes and no. The Democratic coalition is still majority-white. Not even plurality white, MAJORITY white. The modal democrat is a white woman.

          It’s a matter of debate who is providing the “base” and who is providing the “swing.”

          • JMV Pyro

            This is true, but for others it means “leftists”

            Why not both? The “base” we’re talking about here tends to be white, to the left of the Democratic Establishment on most issues, and predisposed to a kind of top-down populism that hearkens back to a romanticized version of the New Deal.

            In any case, I forget where I read this but the during the primary someone pointed out that the Democrats don’t have a single “base” so much as they have a collection of interest groups that press the party to do what they want. The Republicans are the ones with the unified and perpetually angry base, which is why the Tea Party and Trump happened.

            • Rob in CT

              Even the GOP “base” isn’t a unified base. They have internal divisions too, which why they ended up with 17 candidates and ultimately chose a blustering know-nothing conman whose primary “virtue” is hating the right people.

              There is no Base.

              • lawtalkingguy

                Of course there is a base. They picked the rawest white nationalist.

          • lawtalkingguy

            “People who want to hear about universal health care and banksters being perp walked and the national security state being gutted and Social Security and Medicare being hugely expanded and the criminal justice system swept clean of racist scum and suchly”

            Where does this base exists, outside of California and maybe NY? Democrats do so poorly in state houses and off presidential elections when black people dont show up.
            In fact the one constant of the elections for the last 20 years or so is how the leftists you describe regularly abandon the Democratic party when it counts.
            It even happened in the primary, where the mythical millennial-leftist didnt bother turning out to the actual votes and Hillary handsomely walked off with votes not just in the South but in every swing state there is except CO.

        • FlipYrWhig

          All across punditry, “base” means “me.” Like how in real estate, the agent will say “my buyers won’t like that,” by which they mean “I don’t like that.”

    • Let’s not forget: it takes ~$1 billion and ~60+ million votes to win the presidency. Tell us, which Democrat besides HRC can hit these numbers?

      History and economic fundamentals predict a very close race. Why is this not a factor in your equation?

    • mnuba

      This again?

      • NonyNony

        He won’t stop until the day after the election.

        Hopefully. Maybe he won’t stop even then.

    • Karen24

      The Trump campaign has been inserting people into pro-Sanders or pro-Stein groups to encourage their members to believe the Clinton campaign cheated and that the Sanders supporters should not vote this time. I believe you are one of the Trump supports trying to ratfuck this election.

      • Hob

        You may have been lucky enough to have missed the last 10,000 rounds of King Goat’s shtick. He is very eager to explain that he didn’t like Sanders at all, either. What he thinks should have happened in the Democratic primary is that a better candidate should have run and won. Who would that be? Well, they would be someone better. Not anyone who actually ran, because by definition all the better candidates were already locked out ahead of time, because of the superdelegates. And not anyone who has any visible base of support in the Democratic Party, because those voters are all brainwashed by the superdelegates or something, so they don’t know what’s good for them.

        I’m not sure who is supposed to be persuaded by this, which makes me think it’s a sincerely held belief, just incredibly poorly thought out and expressed.

    • JMV Pyro

      Drink!

    • Little Chak

      So, here’s the reason people think you are all behaving like spoiled children:

      1) Misrepresentation of the primary voting. Clinton won the primaries on pledged delegates, not superdelegates. The “Bernie or Bust” types were the ones arguing that superdelegates should undemocratically flip their votes to support the candidate who had lost both the delegate vote and the popular vote.

      2) As others have pointed out: laying claim to be “the base”, despite losing the popular vote. I have every right to claim to be “the base” as you do. And here’s the thing: I actually have more of a right. I did not like many of the things Sanders stood for. I think free college for everybody is a stupid idea that, among other things, would continue the devaluation of a high school education. I think a blanket raise of the national minimum wage by 107% is a terrible idea that would decimate many businesses. (I think a national minimum income, and smoothing the cliffs at which people qualify, or don’t, for various benefits, are much better ideas.) I think the idea that our problem with racism is primarily a function of economic differences is extremely naive. I thought he would have been very poorly suited at international relations. I find his relationships with Latin American strongmen in the 80s to be problematic. I heartily disagree with his positions on trade: the idea that we can close ourselves off, tariff our way to prosperity, or otherwise force other countries to pay the U.S. national minimum wage to make low-wage U.S. workers competitive, is, to me, a farce of false promises. I strongly dislike his influence on the Democratic Party platform in this regard.

      Now, those opinions I hold: I might be wrong about them. But I hold them sincerely. I sincerely feel that Mr. Sanders would make a much worse President than Mrs. Clinton.

      And yet.

      I would have thrown my full support behind him in a GDF heartbeat if he had been the nominee against one Donald J. Trump. And if the polls had started to narrow, I wouldn’t have been screaming my head off about “if only” we had nominated the sensible candidate — I would have been doing everything in my power to play up the parts of what he stood for that I liked the most. I wouldn’t have swallowed every right-wing hit piece on him, and I would have complained loudly if he had started getting the full-court false equivalence, non-scandal-as-scandal press coverage from the MSM.

      I would have held the media to account, rather than spend my energy arguing that the polls narrowing was due to people waking up to Sanders’ economic plans being unrealistic and a bit half-baked.

      But hey, if you’re okay with all those women, racial minorities, and sexual minorities who either enthusiastically voted for Clinton, or enthusiastically switched once the primary was over (because, um, yeah) suffering under a Trump presidency with a Republican congress, and remembering that it was a bunch of Bernie-or-bust-ers and Greenies who left them in the lurch because they had far less to lose under Trump…then go ahead and keep doing what you’re doing. And see what kind of a “base” you’re left with.

  • charluckles

    I still think he’s going to get clobbered. This isn’t even the same sport as the primary debates and he has never done anything like this before. The format doesn’t play to his style like the primary GOP debates did. The only shot he has now and has always had is the media spin.

    • Crusty

      If the opening questions give her a chance to display command of issues, real knowledge and competence, and his answers are along the lines of yes, we’re going to be looking at that, knock the shit out of them, or something, there’s a chance she could shine. If the opening questions are along the lines of how are you going to make America great again, she’s dead.

      • SatanicPanic

        Is she? Why? I don’t understand how “Build the Wall” is going to play so much better than whatever she proposes.

    • The Temporary Name

      She did really well at the Benghazi hearings. There’s no reason to think Trump is going to be any smarter than those nitwits.

    • Karen24

      The media spin is going to BE the problem. She has to be absolutely pitch-perfect by every conceivable standard and he has to avoid drooling. That’s it.

      • efgoldman

        The media spin is going to BE the problem.

        Don’t think so, not this time. I’ve been saying, and I believe it, that both candidates are well-known enough, their positions (such as his are) are well known enough, the voters positions are hardened enough, that the debates (if there is more than one) aren’t going to matter in changing votes.
        I just don’t think there’s a significant pool of voters that are thinking: I’ll wait for the debate(s) before I make up my mind.

        • charliekilian

          You don’t think she’s in danger of being Gore-Sighed or Dean-Screamed? I do. I think Trump and his ever shifting positions are proof that most voters don’t actually care about positions in the first place. (Of course, this assumes you believe, as I tend to, that media coverage drives popular opinion more than popular opinion drives media coverage. I’d be happy for someone to show up here and convincingly refute that, though. Any takers?)

      • Gee Suss

        Gavin Newsom posted this on the Book of Face (to your point).

  • Joe_JP

    You once gave a positive review of the mayor of NYC, saying on balance he’s doing a good job. Threw me.

    Negativity is your thing. All is right in the universe. The net effect of the debate probably won’t be much after immediate reactions especially.

    Best news really is that it’s near the end of September. Final six weeks are upon us. How about that MNF match-up?

    • Young_Hegelian

      One of the few things that’s more of a dumpster fire than this election is my New Orleans Saints, only mitigated by the fact that the world doesn’t end if they go 0-16.

      • econoclast

        I figure the universe conspired to make the Eagles 3-0 to soften the blow of the inevitable Trump victory.

        • Young_Hegelian

          Steven King has a great line in his book about the 2004 Red Sox that’s related. It’s something to the effect of: In October of 2004 the Red Sox were one of the best teams in baseball, and just needed to string together playoff wins to break the curse. The sitting senator from Massachusetts was tied in the polls with one of the worst presidents of modern history. We all know which one the people of Massachusetts picked in their private deals with the devil.

  • Hayden Arse

    Fallows made me feel a bit better about what to expect.

    • charliekilian

      Now that’s funny, because reading that is what ignited the all-consuming fires of obsession-teetering-on-panic in me.

  • I’m feeling the dread as well. Political debates usually make me cringe, and this one has potential to be the worst ever. I’ve three kinds of bourbon standing by, just in case.

    • There is no floor to the bad that might happen with far too high a probability.

      • I’m glad I’ll be asleep during the debate.

        • charliekilian

          I’d planned to skip it even as recently as when I woke up this morning. But sometime between then and now my election obsession switched on already turned up to 11, so it’s out of my hands. Hey, at least it was late in coming this year. For the last several presidential elections, it showed up before the conventions.

      • Yes!

        RE – being asleep. My daughter (who lives in Germany) will be as well. I’m hoping to report good news to her via email before I turn in!

        • The last time I went to bed relieved and woke up to horror was Brexit.

      • Tyto

        Monday Night Football is likely to be a tire fire, and I still may watch it instead of the debate. I just don’t have the nerves anymore…

    • A friend just sent me Wang’s most recent piece. It’s a pretty good salve – http://election.princeton.edu/2016/09/25/three-reasons-to-ignore-debate-related-punditry/

  • Cheerful

    I’ve given up on 538 to preserve a little sanity and now just glance up at DKOS’ tracker on the theory that they will provide me with information that is at least reasonably accurate in as sympathetic a fashion as possible.

  • King Goat

    No, no. The choice of Hilary, historic unfavorables, historic age issues, long held bad relationship with press, starting off with a significant establishment advantage in superdelegates in a known anti-establishment election, was in fact, a SUPERGENIUS choice! Anyone who might question it, clearly only a closet conservative would, it’s so SUPERGENIUS!!, is so wrong. You can tell because heading into a month away we’re light years ahead of who we all agree is an ‘objectively terrible candidate!” GENIUS!

    • D.N. Nation

      I like that you’ve ducked out of the ass-kicking you’re getting previously in the comments and headed down here with the same weak arguments.

      She got more votes in the Democratic primary. The superdelegates were always going to go with the candidate who had more votes.

      And I say this as someone who voted for Bernie, albeit one who has long since gotten tired of his histrionic dead-enders.

      • King Goat

        And the near unanimity of those superdelegates would have no influence on primary voters, because providing a sense of unanimity around the eventual choice has never been a thing!

        It’s like we all must give up our brains lest we by superstition dare whisper that a candidate currently in a dead heat with an ‘objectively terrible candidate’ might have been a less than ideal choice.

        • Jordan

          You are a moron if you think a non-negligible number of people voted for Clinton rather than Sanders because of “superdelegates”.

          Like, really, a very big moron.

          • King Goat

            Awesome! Can we start most elections with one candidate announcing 30% of the votes necessary for winning at the start pledged to them?

            • D.N. Nation

              We didn’t do it in 2016.

            • Jordan

              A large majority, and possibly all, of those votes would have gone to Sanders had he won the majority of democratic primary votes.

              Its pretty simple and straightforward.

              • King Goat

                Again, so it’s fine to start off an election contest with one candidate having 30% of necessary votes in the form of party elites pledged to her, because they *can* change their mind. No advantage at all there!

                • charliekilian

                  Of course, they actually hadn’t voted yet, and didn’t until the convention. You might as well get upset that polls exist. All those elite primary voters, influencing voters by having their opinions known! It’s so unfair!

                • (((Hogan)))

                  Lying.

            • (((Hogan)))

              Lying.

        • D.N. Nation

          And the near unanimity of those superdelegates would have no influence on primary voters, because providing a sense of unanimity around the eventual choice has never been a thing!

          If Bernie got more votes, the supers would’ve rallied around Bernie. They have never and will never overturn the popular vote – you know, that thing the BorBust crowd actually wanted to do.

          It’s like we all must give up our brains lest we by superstition dare whisper that a candidate currently in a dead heat with an ‘objectively terrible candidate’ might have been a less than ideal choice.

          Hey, that’s cool. What are you going to do about it other than poop your pants on the Internet?

          • JMV Pyro

            Collect that sweet, sweet Occulus money he’s getting for annoying us?

        • Could it be that the “near unanimity” of the SDs emerged because HRC had worked with them and lobbied them and they each decided that she was the best one for the job? You know, like other primary voters?

      • Rob in CT

        +1, all of this.

        People responded to your arguments on the merits and, apparently, you don’t like it. No one called you a closet conservative (at least not in this thread).

        • LeeEsq

          KingGoat’s argument isn’t the best because Hillary Clinton was very popular with the people who participated in the Democratic presidential selection process. The issue is that she still is unfavorable with Americans as a group. Nearly all of this isn’t her fault but it is a fact and something that can’t be changed simply because the GOP nominated a fascist, racist madman crank to be their Presidential candidate. Americans aren’t the French and they aren’t going to vote for somebody they hate, Clinton/Chirac, over a madman Trump/Le Pen to save the Republic like the French did.

          Its the same problem that Labour has with Corbyn, but Clinton actually has administrative skills. The party generally loves them but most of the electorate does not. Most members of the Democratic/Labour Party know this. Should they have selected somebody more palatable to the electorate or should they have gone with who they want.

          • Rob in CT

            KG’s major problems are these:

            1) His SD argument is dumb, even though I’d be fine with getting rid of SDs (higher priority for me would be getting rid of caucuses).

            2) He can’t come up with viable alternative candidates and make a case for those candidates. When pressed, he typically evades. Once he mentioned Gillibrand.

            So it boils down to HRC is bad because she’s not stomping Trump, therefore we should’ve done… hey, did I mention HRC (and, by extension, stupid Democratic voters) sucks?

            Americans aren’t the French and they aren’t going to vote for somebody they hate, Clinton/Chirac, over a madman Trump/Le Pen to save the Republic like the French did.

            Well, they hate Trump even more, for one thing. For another, we don’t actually know that the above is true. Americans very well may end up “voting for someone they hate” to save the Republic.

            The party generally loves them but most of the electorate does not. Most members of the Democratic/Labour Party know this. Should they have selected somebody more palatable to the electorate or should they have gone with who they want.

            Ah, but unlike Labour, the Democratic Party has a lengthy primary process in which millions and millions of people vote. It’s certainly not without its flaws, but this isn’t a case of party insiders foisting a terrible candidate on the party because of insider groupthink. ~25 million people voted!

            Now maybe the majority of those voters got it wrong. I, and ~10 million others, voted Bernie (though I admit I didn’t do so thinking he was clearly a better candidate). The obvious question, then, is who. Who should we have nominated?

            And that’s where the hand-waving typically starts. Someone. You know. Someone better.

            Someone who hasn’t been a right-wing bogeyperson for 25+ years. Someone! Who would, no doubt, be crushing Trump because…

            In my view, candidates matter but not nearly as much as other factors. The big factor is that my people (white people, particularly dudes) are having an absolutely EPIC tantrum. It’s identity politics all the way down. We could’ve nominated Jim Webb and we’d still be the party of The Blacks and Slutty Women and Gheys and suchlike.

            So, maybe if HRC hadn’t have run Kirsten Gillibrand would have and would have won the nomination. Maybe in that scenario (despite her being both Democrat and female) she’d be mopping the floor with Trump. It’s possible, sure. Make the case.

            • PJ

              Now maybe the majority of those voters got it wrong. I, and ~10 million others, voted Bernie (though I admit I didn’t do so thinking he was clearly a better candidate). The obvious question, then, is who. Who should we have nominated?

              And many people would say the continuing doubt over that primary vote has to do with HRC’s dominance among voters of color.

            • King Goat

              I’ve made the case: Gillibrand isn’t 68, she doesn’t have historically high unfavorables, she doesn’t have an established decades long bad relationship with the press, etc

              • (((Hogan)))

                That describes me, too.

              • Little Chak

                And what, if anything, have you done to change those unfavorables? They aren’t justified.

                Trump is older. Trump threatens to eliminate the freedom of the press. Trump has far worse unfavorables, for legitimate reasons.

                And yet when we were treated to a month of the press treating false non-stories that were coming from right-wing agitators as legitimate news; rather than cry foul, and ask yourself, “What can I say to counter this garbage?”; you instead cried, “Right on! What can I say to substantiate this garbage?”

                Be the change you want to see in the world. Unless, of course, you’re totally fine with the sexism that is at the heart of undermining one of the most qualified candidates ever to run for President. Keep lobbing the “She’s 68!” schtick while ignoring that Trump is even older, if that’s what you’re about. But the rest of us will see you for what you are, and it’s not a progressive.

              • Redwood Rhiadra

                The case *against* Gillibrand is that her politics are entirely a matter of convenience. (People forget she used to be a Blue Dog until it became inconvenient, then flipped 180 degrees to her current pretense of being a Progressive.)

          • Its the same problem that Labour has with Corbyn, but Clinton actually has administrative skills. The party generally loves them but most of the electorate does not.

            As Rob in CT points out, there’s very different meanings of “party” here.

            Plus, HRC is actually polling somewhere near the fundamentals. Corbyn is polling far worse than is traditional for opposition parties at this stage.

            Plus a lot of party members are deluded about Corbyn’s chances.

            Given a US style primary, Corbyn goes down hard.

    • Jordan

      I didn’t want Clinton and I didn’t vote for her in the primary even after it was already decided (by the majority of democratic primary voters). I think the nomination of Clinton was wrong, and wish we had gone a different way.

      We didn’t. Most democrats wanted Clinton. Thats just how it is.

      So, in the face of this, you are still spewing stupid shit. Get a hobby or something, and vote for Clinton on election day (or earlier, if you can). She’ll be an ok president given a republican congress (she could well be an very good president otherwise).

      • King Goat

        Jordan, Clinton wouldn’t be an OK President, she’d be a really good one. She’s an awesome person who has fought intelligently for most of her life for good things. I’m happy to support her.

        But, she was also a poor choice politically. She’s old, polarizing, seen as establishment when that’s out of favor.

        All of the above can be true, you know?

        • Little Chak

          Bernie savagely attacking her for a month as “unqualified to be President” and a “tool of Wall Street” because she dared to say that she thought he “needed to do his homework on some issues” to the question of whether he was qualified to be President (NOT the same thing as saying he was unqualified) was a poor choice politically.

          Bernie Sanders screwed us that month. He had a platform to sway millions, and he chose to meltdown and make the case for millions of economically depressed white Democrats to either make the leap to another candidate promising economic populism, but who is selling snake oil; or to sit out the election or vote Stein because Clinton is “unqualified”.

          This election absolutely would be a landslide were it not for Bernie Sanders driving so many of his supporters into “never Hillary” mode.

          No one would be talking about Clinton being old (younger than Sanders and Trump) or polarizing, if Bernie hadn’t torched the house in a tantrum on his way out.

    • Hilary, historic unfavorables, …

      1. Hillary. 2 l’s
      2. “historic unfavorables” except, oddly enough, among Democrats. Just like the angry yam has “historic unfavorables” except, oddly enough, among Republicans. I guess your dream contest would be Martin O’Malley and whathisface — Kasich? — from Ohio?

    • sibusisodan

      What’s funny about this is that you’ve previously also commented (if memory serves) that Sanders would not be a better candidate.

      Which makes all your hand-wringing over this entirely pointless.

      You’ve never been able to suggest an alternative candidate who has a plausible path to victory without the downsides you see looming so largely. The most detail you’ve ever supplied is that maaaybe Kirsten Gillibrand would have been OK.

      So your position boils down to ‘why didn’t we run a non-existent perfect candidate?’ Which answers itself.

      • wjts

        So your position boils down to ‘why didn’t we run a non-existent perfect candidate?’ Which answers itself.

        I’ve mentioned it before, but “Martin O’Malley” sounds kind of like “Muhammad al-Mahdi” if you mumble. But I guess we blew it.

      • FlipYrWhig

        Also managing to omit that Kirsten Gillibrand supported Hillary Clinton.

      • King Goat

        My position is that maybe if we didn’t have the structural elements at the beginning of the race we do we wouldn’t create an ‘air of inevitability’ around a candidate that scares off rivals, and we’re not stuck with a choice tween HRC and O Malley or Sanders.

        • charliekilian

          And the rebuttal is, it isn’t structural elements that created the air of inevitability. It is the work the candidate did ahead of time to convince everyone – superdelegates included – that she would be the best candidate.

          The race doesn’t start when it is officially open. It starts far, far ahead of that. The race for 2020 has already started, in case you haven’t noticed. Ted Cruz is betting Trump loses, and is positioning himself to be the favorite of the GOP elites. (I don’t think it’ll work, personally, because the guy is loathsome even to members of his own party, but then four years is a lot of time.)

    • efgoldman

      The choice of Hilary, historic unfavorables…

      There’s an old song called Johnny One Note. We’ve heard this song before, and it wasn’t sung so well the first thousand times.
      Three million votes.
      Arithmetic.
      Bernie lost, get over it.

      • King Goat

        It’s fascinating how you’re only able to understand this under certain pre-explained frames.

        Sanders was worse than HRC. In fact, his success is proof of how sick the nominating process has become.

  • NewishLawyer

    I’m feeling glum as well. The one bit of hope I have is that a political scientist friend did find some proof that endorsements can influence the vote:

    “Our primary empirical finding is that endorsements are influential in the sense that voters are more likely to support the recommended candidate after publication of the endorse ment. The degree of this influence, however, depends upon the credibility of the endorsement. In this way, endorsements for the Democratic candidate from left-leaning newspapers are less influential than are endorsements from neutral or right-leaning newspapers and likewise for endorsements for the Republican. We also find that endorsements are more influential among moderated voters.”

    Media Bias and Influence: Evidence from Newspaper Endorsements
    Author(s): CHUN-FANG CHIANG and BRIAN KNIGHT
    Source: The Review of Economic Studies, Vol. 78, No. 3 (July 2011), pp. 795-820

    So maybe the Cincinnati Enquirer endorsement of HRC can influence enough suburban Republican women to vote for HRC just this once and change Ohio.

  • Murc

    historic age issues,

    This is a god-damn lie and you need to stop making it if you want to be taken seriously.

    Anyone who might question it, clearly only a closet conservative would, it’s so SUPERGENIUS!!, is so wrong.

    Questioning it in the way you’re doing? Yes. None of your critiques are at all substantive. They boil down to “she’s old, the press and a lot of people don’t like her.”

    Which is weak-ass tea.

    You can tell because heading into a month away we’re light years ahead of who we all agree is an ‘objectively terrible candidate!”

    Clinton has never been behind Trump, ever. She’s not ahead by a terribly wide margin but that’s only her fault in certain limited ways. She does have a history of under-performing, and that worries me, but I’m not going to start worrying until Trump actually takes a lead that doesn’t come from a single outlier poll.

  • King Goat

    1. Being seen by many as too old and not liked by the press might, I dunno, be political facts to be taken seriously when choosing a political candidate? Crazy, I know!

    2. Every poll shows her losing ground.

    • Karen24

      You are a false-flag Trump supporter. Go away.

    • Jordan

      Clinton is younger than Trump or Sanders you fucking idiot.

      • D.N. Nation

        Nah, see, he did the “being seen by many” thing, which is definitely not the words of a lying weasel who can’t debate things on the legit merits.

        • Jordan

          Crap. Ok, fuck that guy.

      • King Goat

        Of course HRC’s liabilities are mostly unfair, duh. But the unfair but entirely predictable is ignored only by fools and zealots.

        • Little Chak

          And the people who embrace the unfair rather than fight it empower and embolden it.

          There are words for those kind of people, too.

  • Taters

    Wow. How can Nate have Trump ahead by 11 points? If he’s right, these are the final days. Five minutes later, Hillary is up by 5. WTF?

    • JMV Pyro

      See, crap like that is why I gave up on 538. Way too much noise.

    • Joseph Slater

      And understanding that we are dealing with percentage chance of winning and not vote share, by 4:30 Hillary was “up” by 8.2 (54.1% chance of winning vs. 45.9%).

      Silver has been my go-to guy for a long time now, but this level of volatility within several hours is kind of off-putting.

  • Well, I’m officially in freakout mode.

    • XTPD

      My expectations for the debates have been oscillating constantly between the best-case scenario (Clinton so obviously outclasses Sentient Teratoma that the public gives her a win that the VSPs can’t bullshit into irrelevance) and the apocalyptic one (that simply by not dropping racist or sexist slurs, the VSPs will give Trump a gold star and a batch of free cookies). Not helping matters is the fact that Ailes seems to be prepping Trump.

      If the VSPs manage to hand Cheetle Golem the election, then Obama should just start gutting their offices for copper wire & clownstomping their staffs for treason down both sides of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. I say we start with NBC.

    • N__B

      Have you heard about the new vote craze?
      Listen to us, I’m sure you’ll be amazed
      Big fun to be had by everyone
      It’s up to you, It surely can be done
      Young and old are doing it, I’m told
      Just one try, and you too will be sold
      It’s called Le Freak! They’re doing it night and day
      Allow us, we’ll show you the way
      Ah Freak out! Le Freak, c’est Chic

  • Thrax

    I think I’ve said this before, but: if the e-mails come up, as they probably will, I think Clinton can turn them to her advantage, like so:

    “I’ve said many times that I made a mistake. When I make a mistake, I admit it. How about you, Mr. Trump? Are you prepared to admit any mistakes, like questioning the president’s birthplace, or attacking Khizr Khan, or saying that Judge Curiel wasn’t judging you fairly because of his ethnicity?”

    Trump is congenitally incapable of admitting mistakes. Call him out, and he’ll double down. Make him double down on something that’s obviously indefensible, and he’ll look really awful. I guess he might–might–have the wit to say “I’ve never made a mistake as big as that,” but that’s an obvious evasion, and even Holt might follow up at that point and ask him to answer the question or identify real mistakes that he’s made. (At which point he’ll probably give something like the job-interview answer “I’m just too generous and hard-working for my own good,” and I doubt that will go over well either.)

  • NewishLawyer

    Other thoughts:

    1. HRC is among the first Boomer woman to really enter the national spotlight as a political spouse. She was one of the most feminist as well. I suspect that the right-wing never forgave her for having a job as lawyer when Bill Clinton was the governor of Arkansas. They also never forgave her for getting involved heavily in policy instead of just being housewife-in-chief. She is still under attack for all these things.

    2. Just because I find HRC hatred irrational does not mean that it doesn’t exist or is not going away. Since I grew up and always lived in a super-Democratic stronghold/household, I don’t know many Republicans on a personal level but my friends do. I see them begging their friends not to vote for Trump on a regular basis on social media. I see them saying stuff like “If you vote for Trump, you are a horrible human being.” I see them posting the NY Times endorsements for HRC and saying please make your Republican friends read this. Interestingly they maintain more hope in reaching people with NY Times endorsements than I do.

    3. It seems about 40 percent or so of the American population is some kind of combination of Eric “Respect my Authoritah” Cartman and Heath Ledger’s chaos agent of the Joker. These people are not going away.

    4. I worry that we are at the start of a full-on reactionary blowback to all the social progress made during the Obama administration and the current ongoing fight with BLM and the new on-line Feminist movement. This is the “respect my authoritah” part. Lots of people are finding that there authority is no longer assumed or respected and they don’t like it one bit. People like this guy:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/guns-and-sodas/2016/09/17/805e0db4-79e9-11e6-bd86-b7bbd53d2b5d_story.html?tid=sm_fb

    This guy seems both dangerous (as anyone with a high-powered rifle is) and pathetic (I get images of an armed rebellion of old guys on electric scooters.

    • LeeEsq

      2. Is what King Goat is trying to say but in a more intelligent way. Most of us on this blog see the hatred of Hillary Clinton as completely irrational and based on sexism, usual bile directing at Democratic politicians in general, etc. That doesn’t mean it does not exist. King Goat might be trying to argue that the Democratic Party knew this and should have nominated someone safer. The thing is who would be the alternative and they probably got caught off guard to.

      3. Many of the Clinton supporters that were looking forward to Trump winning the nomination and thought it would be a popcorn show aren’t that happy now.

      • PJ

        “should have nominated someone safer”

        This is debatable from a number of different angles. Not least of which is whether a Jewish man calling himself a socialist is “safer”.

        • Rob in CT

          KG’s thing is to say that Sanders was an even worse choice than HRC.

          Which leaves him in the realm of fantasy, given that I’ve never seen KG suggest that O’Malley, Webb or (lol) Chaffey were better choices.

          It’s “someone who didn’t run” and that someone is magically better than the people who did, including the person who did and won.

          • charliekilian

            KG seems to be under the impression that it’s somehow unfair for the campaign for 2016 to have started before the opening bell. He sees the SD lead as illegitimate because Clinton “started” with it (among other reasons). But of course she didn’t start with anything, she did a lot of work to get that support. It was just work done before anyone could throw their hats in the ring. Which is smart.

            He can’t name alternate candidates, because those would-be candidates read the tea leaves, didn’t think they could overcome her support, and stayed out of it. KG thinks this is illegitimate, but it isn’t. It’s putting in the work to shore up your support. And far from indicating weakness, it actually demonstrates her strength as a candidate. At least in the Democratic party.

        • mnuba

          In as closely scrutinized and intense and long-lasting an election as the United States presidential election, I’m not sure there is such thing as a “safe” candidate. Maybe a popular incumbent, but that was impossible from the start in this case.

          The “safer” candidates than Clinton in terms of favorables are much more untested and unknown, and Trump’s a…unique…opponent. The main argument would still be “I’m not Trump”, and the right-wing noise machine would have a solid chance at defining the new candidate in all sorts of awful ways. They’d have to prove they could push back effectively…which as we’ve seen with Democratic candidates is not a sure thing at all.

          Not sure how much better Generic Democrat would really be doing in this election, to be honest. Maybe a point or two better.

        • NewishLawyer

          I don’t think Sanders was a safe bet. Interestingly I know a hardcore libertarian (he even works for Cato!!) on-line acquaintance who seems to sincerely believe that Sanders would be whipping the floor with Trump. This is a guy who would never vote for HRC or any Democratic candidate probably.

          But my theory is that things are so partisan that all races are going to be tight from now on. This year might just be a preview of things to come.

          • LeeEsq

            I’m skeptical about Sanders to but I think I understand the argument about Sanders wiping the floor with Trump. We know that Trump has high unfavorables but also a very unique style as political campaigns go. Sander’s style as evidence during the primary campaign seems to be better matched to Trump’s style. He is also anti-establishment and does not carry even the implication of corruption for the most part. This means that Trump’s smears against his Republican opponents and Hillary Clinton would not work. For all his weirdness, Sanders comes close to having an impeccable record by virtue of having none.

            • (((Hogan)))

              You think “Crazy Bernie Sanders” wouldn’t catch on?

              • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

                Also “Socialist Bernie Sanders” would catch on, IMO.

      • Murc

        Many of the Clinton supporters that were looking forward to Trump winning the nomination and thought it would be a popcorn show aren’t that happy now.

        I’m not a Clinton supporter but I’m not sure I’d have been happier with anyone else. Trump is riskier if he wins, but I think if Jeb or Cruz or Kasich had gotten nominated they’d be cleaning her clock right now.

        It’s why I’m not really all that worried about this year but I am about 2020.

        • I think if Jeb or Cruz or Kasich had gotten nominated they’d be cleaning her clock right now.

          Probably not. We’d just be hearing about how Jeb was so bad because he wasn’t walking away with it from historically bad Hillary :)

          Jeb or Kasich would perhaps be ahead based on fundamentals plus Hillary’s unfavorables. If that’s all you mean, then I agree.

          • Murc

            More or less, yeah.

          • Rob in CT

            Jeb, I dunno. Right off the bat, he’s a Bush. That name is a liability.

            Kasich, I think, was scary.

            But then I was worried about Scott Walker.

        • Colin Day

          What non-Romney (2012) states do these guys take that Trump would not? OK, give Kasich Ohio, but then what?

      • efgoldman

        Most of us on this blog see the hatred of Hillary Clinton as completely irrational and based on sexism, usual bile directing at Democratic politicians in general, etc. That doesn’t mean it does not exist.

        A huge majority of the Hillary haters wouldn’t vote for Zombie FDR melded with Zombie LBJ. They’re not prejudiced, as the saying goes, they hate everybody. They think they’re waiting for the Second Coming of Sanctus Ronaldus Magnus which will never happen. Meanwhile a plurality of them nominated a hate monster that encourages their worst instincts. But they’re not a majority of the electorate – not even close.

      • FlipYrWhig

        King Goat might be trying to argue that the Democratic Party knew this and should have nominated someone safer.

        If only there had been a way for people to mull over some alternatives and then vote, ideally state by state, so that a lot of attention could be paid to the results.

      • King Goat

        Ding, ding, ding!

  • Lasker

    I thought this from Lili Loofburouw was a really strong look at some of Trump’s schtick and why it works even on people who should know better. Even me, to an extent, as the article helped me realize.

  • PJ

    I’m … not feeling particularly nice or generous. I’m in the “we will get what we deserve” mentality.

    I’m staying off news for the rest of the week, so maybe that will help.

    • Thrax

      I’m unsure whether I’ll watch–every Trump lie that goes uncorrected (and there will inevitably be a bunch; HRC can’t pick them all up) will raise my blood pressure about 10 points. Or, to refine the analysis, every Trump lie will raise my blood pressure by about 20, and HRC correcting him will probably only lower it by about 10. It would probably be a lot less stressful if I just read the commentary afterwards.

  • MacK

    My sinking feeling is the opposite – that Trump gets through the debate without making any obvious pants-on-fire lies, that he is polite, that he avoids sexist snark, hint about the size of his penis, obvious racism, etc – that he actually manages to appear civilised and mannerly.

    Trump wins by not being an asshole in the debate, by not being a racists and misogynistic jackass for 1 hour or so, by demonstrating basic manners. That is what he has been trying to do for a couple of weeks and it has been working in the polls. If Trump is simply boring in this debate it is in fact a win for him. The problem is, it is not that hard for even Trump to behave for 60 minutes.

    I want Trump to be absolutely as f*cking outrageous as possible, as big a flaming asshole as feasible. He calls Hillary names – great! He calls Obama names, better! He calls Warren Pocahantas – fabulous? He uses the N-word, the W-word – calls Mexicans rapists – I’ll be so relieved, I’ll just plotz – never in my life have I wanted to see a frothing misogynistic racist asshole in full rant.

    • PJ

      WHITE MALE MEDIOCRITY AT WORK.

      • econoclast

        Ever since I recently rewatched “Fury Road,” I’ve found it hard to not yell “Mediocre!” whenever my kids fail at sports.

        • wjts

          I’m not saying I have bellowed, “Not to go upon all fours! THAT IS THE LAW!” at crawling nephews, but I’m also not saying that I haven’t.

    • efgoldman

      That is what he has been trying to do for a couple of weeks and it has been working in the polls. If Trump is simply boring in this debate it is in fact a win for him. The problem is, it is not that hard for even Trump to behave for 60 minutes.

      There’s no indication that he can do it. Quoting myself from upthread (and yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that…)

      No teleprompter tonight, no herd of Smurfs he can shout over and intimidate, no trying to prove who’s wingier-than-thou, no preparation, no breaks off the hot stage for more than 90 minutes (not an hour), no advisors whispering in his ear, no thickening of his skin. I’ll take my chances.
      My fellow Democrats are really pissing me off with all this cowering.
      Did you miss the poll which said a huge majority of respondents expect HRC to win. People see what they expect to see.
      And I’ve seen reference to several polls that show Orange Shitweasel’s support among white men is lower than the percentage Mittster got.
      She’s going to win.

    • drpuck

      If I had a magic wand, 30 minutes in, Trump’s spray tan would run, and, then, he would faint.

  • mds

    Hillary won’t effectively respond

    Eh, I’m not actually worried about effective response. I’m worried about too much response, and the Clinton campaign supposedly is, too. Which is to say, Trump has brought the art of the “Gish gallop” to national political debates. If Clinton has to spend all her time knocking down a torrent of Trump lies, she doesn’t get a chance to lay out anything about her own policies. Then the story is “Clinton fails to offer vision for presidency.” If she lets his lies passed unchallenged, then they remain unchallenged by anyone (except, maybe, Bloomberg). “That’s some catch, that Catch-22,” he observed.

    • charliekilian

      My fear is the Catch-22 of these competing headlines:

      “Hillary bogged down in details responding to Trump”
      “Hillary fails to challenge Trump”

      I don’t know there’s anything she can do to win. I’m hopeful this is just my pessimism on full display.

  • Captain Oblivious

    Y’all need to chill.

    Obama was terrible in his first debate and his poll numbers were worrisome at this point. But he won anyway because (a) the electoral map favors any D over any R, and (b) organization.

    Hillary also has (c) more money to spend and (d) Obama and Warren. Trump’s fundraising has improved recently but it’s really too late for him to catch up. He has no equivalent of Obama or Warren on his side.

    And like Atrios says, Trump ain’t gonna win Pennsylvania.

    • efgoldman

      Thank you. I figured I can’t be the only confident Democratic in the blogoverse.

      • Aaron Morrow

        Fun fact: Not counting the post-convention bump, Clinton hasn’t been as high as she is on Pollster’s tracker since May 4th, at 48%.

    • I’m fairly confident in HRC’s eventual victory for the reasons you and others cite. That doesn’t make the current odds less maddening and heartburn-inducing, however. Not only for the reasons Campos and others discussed last week, but also because of what it means to me personally – that there is a small host of R voters *in my own family* for whom Trump is *not* beyond the pale. That in itself is depressing and disheartening.

  • acmcnamara

    I wonder if Trump will even show up. His “the media is very, very unfair to me, waa waa” shtick has served him well so far.

    Of course, if he doesn’t show up, he wins.

    (OMG, we’re fucked.)

    • Rob in CT

      Woah there.

      If Trump was a no-show, it would be a huge, huge win for HRC. Bully boy too scared to debate mano-a-womano. Sad!

  • CrunchyFrog

    I too have little faith in Clinton going into the debates, but very much hope she proves me wrong. She’s been prepping and prepping and knows this is the most important single moment.

    It does appear that most of the national news media are just fine with a President Trump, which is the biggest single indictment of what the media has become.

  • MPAVictoria

    Speaking as a terrified Canadian… I am terrified. The media just has no idea how to handle the completely post-reality campaign Trump is running.

    Most of the people who post on LGM have such a different frame of reference than Trump voters that we are poor judges of what works for appealing to them. I thought Trump did pathetically badly during the Town Hall on foreign policy a few weeks back but it seems like the voters disagreed. I have no trust for my own instincts anymore.

    • Rob in CT

      Friendly amendment: “Most of the people who post on LGM have such a different frame of reference than Trump-curious or undecided voters.”

      Trump voters are a lost cause and always were.

      We need weakly attached lean-Ds to come home, we need true independents (who do exist) to pick the Dems, and we need some R/lean-R voters to be too disgusted to vote (or, at worse, vote Johnson).

      • MPAVictoria

        Good point

    • CrunchyFrog

      I saw a Trump ad during the Broncos game this weekend and it was amazing. It was all Trump – hugely successful business man, make everything great, what a wonderful world it will be. No specifics, nothing. But as inspiring as Morning in America, maybe even more so.

      To the low info voter, that’s tremendously appealing. No matter what you think is wrong with the system, Trump is the answer. You can see someone saying “Well, we’ve tried the traditional politicians and now we’re in this mess, why not give Trump a try?” And of course so much negative dirt is thrown at all politicians that all of the bad stuff about Trump is just all noise and no signal.

      I think a lot of people are underestimating the power of this appeal. It’s NOT just about racism – although that IS the core of the campaign and what was needed to win the primary. But at the margins it’s about Hope. Yeah, the same thing as Obama promised – and appealing to a lot of the same low info voters.

      You aren’t going to counter that appeal with a racial slur gaffe or with a fact check – those will be ignored. You might be successful if you can expose him for the fraud he is.

      • MPAVictoria

        Yeah maybe going positive might help Hillary? But my understanding of the median voter is apparently shit.

        • Rob in CT

          The last Hillary ad I saw was entirely positive. It was video of her at various times throughout her life, advocating for women & families. The message was simple: she is who she has always been and she won’t quit.

          I’ve also seen anti-Trump ads (“Mirrors” and an earlier one using footage of him admitting his swag was made in SE Asia).

          I don’t know better than anyone else what works, but my thought is a mix of the positive and negative.

          One of the problems with Trump is picking which avenue of attack to use – there are so many options!

      • FlipYrWhig

        It’s not about hope at all. It’s about revenge. Vote for Trump and stick it to all those losers and moochers from the media to wussy liberal do-gooders to uppity Negroes, homos, and Colin Kaepernick.

        • efgoldman

          It’s about revenge. Vote for Trump and stick it to all those losers and moochers

          All the RWNJ TeaHadis have ever had is hate, spite, and fear. Orange Littlescrotum is the pure distillation of that. BUT THERE AREN’T ENOUGH OF THEM to win a presidential election. There just aren’t. Not with any kind of competent GOTV on the Dem side, which is certainly there.

        • CrunchyFrog

          I understand, but I’m not talking about his core voters, I mean the last 5-8% he needs to get over the top. The persuadable, low info voters – most of whom voted for Obama in 2008. That’s what they are seeing.

  • Crusty

    A friend of mine suggested that Trump shave his head for the debate- that way, he can say anything, but his bald pate will be the only thing people are talking about.

  • drpuck

    12-15% of undecided voters in Florida, Ohio, Colorado and one more–take your pick, and this is your election dynamic.

    Incredibly, these are people, (numbering 1-2 million?) who are on the fence.

    If elected Trump overturns just about every technocratic and sociological truism about modern U.S. Presidential elections.

    The coup de grâce is delivered when the Republic is converted into a reality TV show. After the initial wave of executive orders announced by President Trump at 9pm January 20th via the newly compliant and docile media, he will do two things, one, he will direct his children to have the family currency trading desk go into Operation Stuff It, and, next, he will start the long, challenging process of punishing his enemies. These turn out to be the opening hands of MAGA.

    Incredibly, these are people who are on the fence.

    • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

      Has anyone polled these undecideds as to what they expect to learn that will allow them to make their decision?

      If you’re undecided now, IMO either you’ve intentionally avoided all information about the two candidates to date, or are probably going to flip a coin in the polling booth.

  • Alworth

    I recommend the right drinking game to survive the ordeal.

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