Monday, October 31, 2016

Last Cal For Working The Ref

As Steve M. points out, the notion that Trump will lose because he doesn't have a ground game is garbage: the GOP Right Wing Noise Machine *is* the Republican "get out the vote" ground game, and they're doing everything they can to win this election.

I know all the smart folks -- the Sam Wangs, the Ed Kilgores -- are sanguine about the effect of all this on the outcome of the election. We're too polarized for this to change many votes, they tell us. Clinton has a big lead and a firewall of several states, and, unlike Trump, she has a get-out-the-vote effort. 
Well, this is Trump's get-out-the-vote effort, however little his campaign may be involved in it. It's going to bring Republicans home to a nominee a lot of them have been reluctant to support, and even if it suppresses a tiny percentage of the Clinton vote, the loss of her least enthusiastic voters could tip the election
Nate Silver is already pondering scenarios in which an election that seemed likely to be an Obama-sized victory for Clinton now comes down to one state, possibly Pennsylvania, assuming Trump takes a lot of the toss-up states. I think Clinton will win Pennsylvania -- she's up nearly 6 points there according to Real Clear Politics. She has a cushion. 
But I think if Trump doesn't win, Republicans not named Trump are certain to try to litigate her victory. Oh, she won because of Pennsylvania? Lotta fishy stuff happens in Philadelphia at the polls, doesn't it, especially in certain neighborhoods
It's been said that Vladimir Putin doesn't actually want Trump to win -- he assumes Clinton's victory is inevitable and just wants to weaken her as much as he can. I don't know if that's really what Putin is thinking, but it's more or less what the GOP is thinking. I seriously believe you'll see Mitch McConnell or Jason Chaffetz or, who knows, maybe even John McCain seriously suggesting that electors withhold their votes for Clinton because the race was close and because all those FBI investigations seriously call into question whether she should serve as president. 
In other words: Either Trump's going to win or we really might have a ginned-up constitutional crisis. I'll be pleasantly surprised if we avoid both of these outcomes.

I think we'll avoid the first.  But the second, well...Congressional Republicans were already promising endless investigations and obstruction of Clinton appointments and executive branch actions, and that was before Comey crapped in the punchbowl.

The Republican platform is clear: they're going to make those people pay for every second she's in office, and when that subset of people includes 95% of America, well it'll be all her fault.  The Age of Trump means that if the GOP can't win, they'll make the country completely ungovernable. At this point I would take their word on that threat.  And somehow America mired in a constitutional crisis for the next several months or longer will be Clinton's fault.  Watch.

Happy Halloween!  Our long national nightmare is just beginning.

A Load Of Crap In Warren County

A load of manure was dumped outside the Democratic Party headquarters in Warren County.

"What reasonable person thinks this is OK????" party chair Bethe Goldenfield said in a post in the Greater Cincinnati Politics Facebook Group. "I won't be responding to anyone who thinks this is acceptable behavior. It is ILLEGAL!"

The same thing happened in 2012, Goldenfield noted. The suburban Cincinnati county is overwhelmingly Republican; Mitt Romney got 69 percent of the vote four years ago. It's been almost 40 years since a Democrat was elected to countywide office.

Goldenfield told The Enquirer the Warren County Sheriff's Office called her around 7:45 a.m. Saturday alerting her to the manure pile outside the Lebanon building. Deputies met party officials later to review video.

"Hopefully the perps will be held accountable for their actions," she said.

Jeff Monroe, chairman of the Warren County Republican Party, said the GOP had nothing to do with the manure "and has offered to help clean things up."

The Warren County Sheriff's office had no additional information. Goldenfield said the party hired a contractor to remove the pile.

Somebody sure thought it was funny, enough to repeat the action from four years ago.  I don't expect anyone to be caught, either.  But like I've been saying, the GOP has been broken in their souls long before Trump was the nominee for president.

Trump's Pence-ive Decision

So here's a blood-curdling Halloween tale for you: it turns out Donald Trump really, really wanted New Jersey GOP Gov. Chris Christie as his running mate and even offered him the job, but was then talked out of it by his family and campaign manager Paul Manafort in a weird story involving lying to Trump about plane trouble in order to get him to stay and talk to Mike Pence.  Trump and Christie developed a fast friendship, and Trump wanted to offer Christie the VP slot out of loyalty.  And basically everyone around Trump realized this was a horrible decision because Christie was going to go down in flames over Bridgegate.

“Trump cares about who’s the most loyal and who kisses his a– the most, not who’s the most qualified and what’s the best political decision,” said a source close to the campaign. “If it was up to him, it would have been Christie.”

The two men had developed a close relationship. Whenever Christie visited Trump’s campaign headquarters, he’d spend most of his time in onetime Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski’s office, ignoring Manafort and other top aides, a source said.

Christie contacted Trump and made his final, impassioned ­appeal on July 12.

“Christie said he thinks he deserves it and he earned it,” a second Trump source said. Convinced, Trump made the ­offer.

Christie “said all the BS that Trump likes to hear, and Trump said, ‘Yeah, sure I’m giving it to you.’ ”

That didn’t sit well with Manafort, who had arranged for Trump to meet Pence in Indianapolis on July 13, and fly back together to New York the next day for a formal announcement.

After Trump tentatively decided on Christie, Manafort told Trump his plane had a mechanical problem, campaign sources said, forcing Trump to spend another night in the Hoosier State. Pence then made his case to be Trump’s No. 2 over dinner as Trump’s advisers argued that Christie’s Bridgegate troubles would sink the campaign.

“Trump had wanted Christie but Bridgegate would have been the biggest national story,” a third Trump source said. “He’d lose the advantage of not being corrupt.”

Trump agreed to name Pence the next day and broke the news to Christie, saying it would “tear my family apart if I gave you VP,” a source said.

A Trump/Christie ticket would be down by 15 points right now.  Really is a shame that he didn't pick the governor, considering how much trouble Christie is in over the Bridgegate trial ongoing right now.

Five witnesses – including three who remain steadfast allies – refuted his claim that he was "blindsided" and knew nothing about his staff's involvement in the lane closures before the rest of us did.

Among those who contradicted the governor under oath are Michael DuHaime, his chief strategist for the last decade; Mike Drewniak, his press secretary during that entire stretch, and Deborah Gramiccioni, his deputy chief of staff at the time. You can read excerpts from their testimony here.

The governor is not charged. Prosecutors say that he knew about the lane closures as they occurred, but knowledge of the plot is not a crime in itself. And no one in this trial has suggested that Christie ordered the lane closures.

But the rules of the courtroom are one thing, and the rules of politics are quite another. It's tough to govern after absorbing a blow like this.

"It's been incredibly damaging to hear one person after another directly contradict him," says Julian Zelizer, a professor at Princeton University. "And if the national election goes as poorly for him as some think, that will add to the damage. Because he is forever connected to Donald Trump."

Indeed, the combination of Trump and Christie's problems would have most likely resulted in the biggest GOP presidential loss in generations. If Paul Manafort hadn't pulled a dirty trick to save Trump from his own terrible judgment, this race would actually be more lopsided in Clinton's favor than it is now.

What could have been, eh Republican party?


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