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Swing State Project

Thursday Trump Dump: The alt-right says the alt-right is racist, so what's the problem? (August 25, 2016, 07:28 PM)

Welcome back to your daily tour of the tire fire known as the Donald Trump presidential campaign. On the agenda for today: Donald Trump being very, very mad that people are calling him racist. His alt-right supporters being very, very mad that people are calling them racist. And the opposing presidential candidate gives a 30 minute speech giving example after example of Donald Trump and his "alt-right" supporters promoting racism.

By plan or accident, Clinton's speech tying Donald Trump to the racist far-right couldn't have come at a worse time for the candidate. Trump is still reeling from his latest, largest screw-up, a supposed "softening" of his immigration position that doesn't seem to contain much actual softening but still has the far-right in an uproar over the thought that the candidate might.

This is the scene, then: Donald Trump, caught between an attempt to moderate his rhetoric in order to salvage his collapsing poll numbers and a base that selected him as being the farthest thing from moderate, muddling through another day trying to avoid spelling out just what his "policies" might actually be. If he chooses to moderate, he drives a wedge between himself and the far-right that they will likely see as abandonment, and dishonest, and the sign that this new candidate has been captured by the same forces that have "moderated" all the others. If he hugs them tight, he can kiss most of the rest of the American electorate goodbye for good.

This is the precise campaign moment Hillary Clinton chose to walk to a podium and give a speech tying Trump as tightly as possible to the racist far-right that so easily propelled him through the Republican primaries, making it front-page news across the country come tomorrow.

Politics ain't beanbag. On with the rest of it.

Christina Hartman's opponent warns the 'ultra progressive' Daily Kos is supporting her. We are. (August 25, 2016, 03:19 PM)

Goal Thermometer

Earlier this month Daily Kos endorsed Christina Hartman for Pennsylvania's open 16th Congressional District, part of our effort to identify strong Democratic candidates targeting GOP-held seats this year who could benefit from your support.

Hartman's Republican opponent Lloyd Smucker has noticed, and in a new fundraising email his campaign is sounding the alarm bells to supporters. Oh noes! The radical ultra progressives are on the move!

Recently, the Daily Kos, a liberal, left wing but influential website endorsed our opponent. They only support candidates who believe the same ultra progressive agenda that they do. Their agenda is bad for America and bad for the residents of the 16th district.This endorsement will open the floodgates of financial support for her.

We are not taking anything for granted in this election. That is why we need your help today.

Would you be willing to contribute $10, $25 or $100 today? to help us fight back against their liberal message?

Lloyd is running for Congress to protect the American dream. To keep our families safe and get our great nation back on track. [...]

Well golly, doesn't that sound alarming. Smucker is a tea partyesque would-be House member, as is fitting in the era of Trump, whose own terse "issues" page is devoted to promising his base that he will repeal Obamacare, punish states that don't appropriately despise "illegal aliens," and so forth. But he can't do those things if the left-wing ultra progressives gum up the works by supporting a candidate who thinks we have better things to spend our time on than holding still more votes to repeal the only substantive healthcare reform the nation has had in many years or making sure undocumented kids aren?t getting vaccinated or educated if it would cost the rest of us a few thin dimes.

All right, so we've got his attention. Now let's make it hurt. If Smucker can use his mailing list to warn that the Daily Kos "ultra progressives" have endorsed his opponent, let's use this opportunity to show just what a Daily Kos endorsement is worth. Let's send another round of donations to Christina Hartman, and help the Democratic voters in Pennsylvania?s 16th District send not another House Republican into the next Congress, but a Rep. Christina Hartman instead.

Click here and donate $3 to Christina Hartman's campaign.

The world's richest charity case?how Trump takes far more from charity than he gives (August 25, 2016, 02:47 PM)

Donald Trump promises a lot of charitable donations, but a Washington Post investigation found that over a seven-year period, Trump donated a maximum of $10,000. Though Trump did spend $12,000 getting the Trump Foundation to buy him football souvenirs using other people?s money.

But just because Trump doesn?t give to charity doesn?t mean he can?t take credit for millions going to charity.

One of the largest and most popular venues for these events is Donald Trump?s Mar-a-Lago club, where money is raised each year for charities like the American Heart Association.

Trump has pointed to the money raised at the club as evidence of his own philanthropy, telling CNBC in 2011, ?I believe there is more money in that club for charity than any other place in Florida. I mean, the place has been amazing, the kind of money we raise on a weekly basis, and I just believe that you have to give back and if you don?t give back, you?re not being honest with yourself.?

Trump uses his facilities to raise millions for charity. Which sounds lovely. Except it?s not as if Trump is donating use of his locations ?

As the owner of Mar-a-lago, Trump brings in millions of dollars in revenue for his company by hosting these major charity events each year. ? The fees for services provided by Mar-a-Lago ? the venue, food, and drinks ? can comprise more than half the total price for the major events.

Donald Trump is telling the truth when he brags about how Mar-a-lago is used to raising millions for charity. What he?s not saying is that, rather than being a donor to those charities, he?s one of the biggest beneficiaries. 

Ted Strickland targets Rob Portman on choice, embrace of Trump's anti-woman agenda (August 25, 2016, 01:59 PM)

Goal Thermometer

Donald Trump's biggest demographic problem is with women voters, and Ohio Senate candidate Ted Strickland is making the most of it, tying his Republican opponent Sen. Rob Portman to Trump in his opposition to abortion rights and women's rights in a new ad appropriately called "Choice."

Narrator: "We all know what Donald Trump has said about women. So how can Rob Portman still support him? Maybe it's because they agree on so much. 

Like overturning Roe v. Wade and defunding Planned Parenthood and opposing equal pay for women.

Ted Strickland respects the rights of women to make their own decisions. Rob Portman has endorsed a man for president who doesn't respect women at all."

One of the most gratifying things in this election has been the embrace of abortion rights, beginning with Hillary Clinton's going to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America to give her first speech as the presumptive Democratic nominee. Kudos to Strickland for making it a key issue in his campaign. 

Please give $3 to help Ted Strickland send Rob Portman packing.

Can Donald Trump put Georgia up for grabs? (August 25, 2016, 01:14 PM)

It?s a long shot, but this is an election where polling has made a lot of long shots seem a little less long. I?m talking here about Georgia possibly being in play. The demographics are moving in the right direction for Democrats to eventually become competitive:

Ever since Barack Obama came within 6 percentage points of beating John McCain in Georgia in 2008, the state?s Democrats have pointed to a wave of minority, young, and transplanted voters as proof that their deeply Republican state was on the cusp of turning blue, or at least purple. Although whites now make up 58 percent of active voters in Georgia, down from 72 percent in 2002, the demographic shift remains a slow process, and Democrats have yet to capitalize on it in a statewide race.

And 2016 is special, because the Republicans have nominated such a very special candidate. One question is whether the Clinton campaign can put into play a strategy Georgia Democrats have used successfully in state legislative races:

Since 2012, Democrats have flipped five Georgia state House seats, despite a Republican redistricting that year. Rather than focusing on likely voters, Democrats are shifting tactics to persuade minorities to go to the polls for the first time.

That?s something Brenda Lopez did this spring to win the Democratic primary for a state House seat in what used to be the Republican stronghold of Gwinnett County, northeast of Atlanta. Asians and Hispanics now make up more than half the district?s population, but they account for only 8 percent of its electorate. Of 1,040 registered Asian-Americans in Gwinnett?s 99th district, only 10 voted in the presidential primary earlier this year. Of 1,506 Latinos registered, 7 voted. ?People say these are low-propensity voters, and I correct them: These are no-propensity voters,? says Lopez, who repeatedly visited first-time voters and will now run without a Republican challenger in November. ?You can?t just have the demographic change. You have to do the outreach to bring them in.?

Meanwhile, Donald Trump could drive away some of the white middle-class suburban voters who have helped keep the Republican Party dominant in Georgia. And while Georgia remains a long shot, Trump notwithstanding, it?s valuable to make Republicans sweat?and spend time and money?over states they should dominate, even as polling shows what should be swing states moving firmly into the blue column.

New DSCC ad hits 'morally tainted' Republican senators who stand with Trump (August 25, 2016, 01:13 PM)

Goal Thermometer

The DSCC released a new web ad, "Morally Tainted," Thursday highlighting how Republican senators and Senate candidates continue to support Donald Trump even as he continues his dangerous and inflammatory comments. The video asks the important question: "If they can?t stand up for Trump, how can they stand up for working families?"

The ad shows Trump making some of his most inflammatory comments, interspersed with pundits like former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough, saying that Republicans must start "calling [Trump] out," and journalist Cokie Roberts calling Republicans who refuse to confront him "morally tainted." Those morally tainted senators and Senate candidates include Kelly Ayotte (NH), Rob Portman (OH), Pat Toomey (PA), Mark Kirk (IL), Joe Heck (NV), John McCain (AZ), Ron Johnson (WI), Richard Burr (NC), and Roy Blunt (MO). The DSCC is calling them out on its  "Party of Trump" website, which includes a quote from a Washington Post editorial:

"Republicans who vow to deny Garland a hearing and who pledge to support Donald Trump if he is their party?s nominee are saying: Democracy somehow requires that this vacancy on a non-majoritarian institution must be filled only after voters have had their say through the election of the next president. And constitutional values will be served if the vacancy is filled not by Garland but by someone chosen by President Trump, a stupendously uninformed dilettante who thinks judges 'sign' what he refers to as 'bills.' There is every reason to think that Trump understands none of the issues pertinent to the Supreme Court?s role in the American regime, and there is no reason to doubt that he would bring to the selection of justices what he brings to all matters?arrogance leavened by frivolousness."

And that was from March, before we even got to his insinuation that the "Second Amendment people" might do something about Hillary Clinton. It's only gotten worse since then, and still these senators find it more important to stick with their party than do the right thing for the country.

Please donate $1 today to each of our slate of Senate candidates and retire this crew.

The AP refuses to correct its errors, or to show its data, on the Clinton Foundation 'scandal' (August 25, 2016, 12:25 PM)

There are about 1,800 things wrong with the AP article on the relationship between those who donated to the Clinton Foundation and those who met with Hillary Clinton during her time as secretary of state. In particular, there?s the way the AP purposely restricted the number of meetings it was considering until it found a subset of data in which the results matched the narrative. It?s a classic case of forcing the data to meet the conclusion.

But when it comes to the AP?s original tweet, it?s just one big glaring error.


That?s not a debatable proposition. It?s simply wrong. And requesting that the AP delete or modify the tweet is perfectly reasonable.

Hillary Clinton?s campaign is calling on The Associated Press to modify or delete a tweet about an investigative story on the Clinton Foundation.

And naturally the Associated Press is concerned enough about accuracy that they decided to let their completely wrong tweet go unchanged. The AP knows it?s wrong. But they?re not going to change it.

And if that?s not amazing enough, here's something else to consider:

Aides to the Democratic nominee say that the AP has not given them the actual list of the 85 foundation donors who the outlet says got access to Clinton while she was at State, making it hard for them to rebut charges that she engaged in quid-pro-quos. But on Wednesday, they began filling in the holes.

Get that? The AP defined the number of meetings they would consider, then declared that over half those on the remaining list are donors to the Clinton Foundation, but won?t tell anyone who is on the list.

Eager media sets a low, low bar for a Donald Trump pivot (August 25, 2016, 11:55 AM)

The media really, really wants Donald Trump to pivot. They want a new story to write. They want to have been right all along that he?d pivot eventually. They want the presidential race to tighten up so it feels more exciting. That means they?re very excited by Trump?s halfhearted efforts to tone down his hate, which means Trump is getting more credit than he deserves for having pivoted. The New York Times:

After months of flailing attempts, Donald J. Trump has begun to recast his political message in more structured terms and wrestle with his temptation to go off script, as his campaign seeks to revive his fading candidacy and turn the focus this fall to Hillary Clinton?s honesty and integrity.

Working off a script from his reshuffled team of advisers, Mr. Trump is also drastically tempering his language about the signature issue of his campaign: immigration. 

The bar for Trump to look like he?s shaping up is low. Very low:

The insults are almost all gone in his speeches ? Trump all but did away with the ?Crooked Hillary Clinton? line; it has not been included in his written remarks over the last week ? and I only remember hearing him say it once on Tuesday and again on Wednesday night.

Oh, well, if he?s only saying ?Crooked Hillary? once a night, he?s a whole new man. And sure, his response to misspeaking and saying ?premedication? instead of ?premeditation? was to go right to those far-right conspiracy theories about Clinton?s health, but he?s doing that sort of thing less, so ? pivot! (Low, low, low bar. Possibly below the floor, it?s so low.)

Perhaps most crucially as far as Trump?s press coverage is concerned, Trump has toned down his attacks on the media:

Trump has changed his ways on the news media, barely criticizing the press in his stump speeches and dropping his familiar refrain that political reporters were ?the world?s most dishonest people.? But Trump is still gouging media types on Twitter.

That?ll do it. ?Please, Mr. Trump, attack us just a little less so we can wipe the slate clean on your months of appeals to racism and bigotry and treat you like a regular candidate.?

Chris Sununu, the heir to New Hampshire's powerful GOP dynasty, gets badly outraised in primary (August 25, 2016, 11:45 AM)

For reasons beyond understanding, New Hampshire doesn?t require state candidates to submit campaign finance reports until just weeks before its primary. The deadline passed on Wednesday, giving us a complete look at all the gubernatorial contenders? financial status ahead of the Sept. 13 primary. WMUR sums up all the candidates? numbers.

Surprisingly, Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas decisively outraised Executive Councilor Chris Sununu on the GOP side. Gatsas took in $965,000 (and loaned himself another $75,000) to Sununu?s $646,000, and holds a $552,000 to $224,000 cash-on-hand edge. Sununu comes from New Hampshire?s powerful GOP political family, so it?s pretty notable he?s not doing better financially. John Sununu, the candidate?s father, was the state?s governor and the chief of staff to President George H.W. Bush, as well as the state party chair recently; Chris? brother was also a U.S. senator. Between his connections and his months-long head start over his rivals, it?s odd to see Sununu so far behind.

However, state Rep. Frank Edelblut has the largest warchest right now. While Edelblut only raised $80,000, he loaned his campaign another $750,000, and he has $587,000 in the bank. State Sen. Jeanie Forrester brings up the rear with $237,000 raised and $116,000 cash-on-hand. GOP primary polling has been very scarce so far. However, the ad war has intensified in recent days. Gatsas is out with his second commercial, where he pledges to fight Common Core. Gatsas adds that, ?Some say they will fight to end Common Core, but talk is cheap.? He doesn?t directly reference any of his opponents, but the campaign has made it clear that they're portraying Sununu as a hypocrite on the issue. WMUR says that Gatsas has committed about $500,000 to his primary advertising.

Marco Rubio wants Donald Trump appointing Supreme Court justices (August 25, 2016, 11:43 AM)

The award for most craven politician today goes to the well-deserving little shit Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). You remember Marco, the guy who justified his run for president on how much he hated being in the Senate, then said he was basing his decision to run again for the job he said he hated on the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Now he's got another justification, the Supreme Court.

Rubio, at the Republican Party of Florida's new victory office in Lee County, said he had a lot of reasons to rejoin the race in June, but focused on the eventual replacement for Justice Antonin Scalia who died earlier this year.

"And now the balance of power in the U.S. Supreme Court is going to be determined by the next Senate and the next president who will appoint but the next Senate must confirm," Rubio said.

Rubio went further, warning that if Democrat Patrick Murphy wins in November, he would be a "rubber stamp for Hillary's agenda, if God forbid she were elected." And like he did earlier in the week, warned supporters that if Democrats win the majority in November, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is in line to become the Senate Majority Leader.

Yes, that's Rubio implicitly saying that Donald Trump?who he called a "dangerous" "con-man" who would "fracture" the Republican party?is the guy he wants to be naming the next Supreme Court justices.

He's also telling the people of Florida to return him to the job he hates so that he can keep doing what he and fellow Republicans have done for President Obama's two terms in office?obstruct a potential President Clinton. So here's Rubio, who hated the Senate so much that he rarely bothered to even show up promising more of what he said made him hate the place?dysfunction. Could he be more transparently craven?

Please donate $1 today to each of our slate of Senate candidates and put the future of the Supreme Court in Democrats' hands.

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