Tuesday, October 27, 2020

One Week Left

I’ve pretty much stayed away from obsessing over the polling…  well, not a lot.  Well, okay, just once a day or so…

After 2016, I swore off trying to read the polls to glean some glimmer of hope from the debris that left so much piled up.  All those smart people who this close to Election Day four years ago said Hillary Clinton had it in the bag have been chastened and are being cautious.  But — fingers crossed — it looks favorable for Joe Biden, according to Five ThirtyEight.

One question we posed after the last presidential debate was: Will the presidential race tighten?

Since its peak on Oct. 19, Joe Biden’s lead over President Trump in national polls narrowed from 10.7 percentage points to 9.4 points, while Biden’s popular vote margin in our presidential forecast also shrank from 8.4 points to 7.9 points during the same time period. Although, as you can see in the chart below of how the forecast has changed, Biden’s odds have been relatively stable.

So what gives? Is the race tightening? And if it is, why is our forecast different from our national polling average?

Well, two things. First, we’re still expecting some tightening toward Trump in our forecast, so we’re pricing that in a little in our model. And second, the forecast is mostly based on state polls, which have been more consistent with an 8-point Biden lead than the 9-to-10-point Biden lead we’ve seen nationally. (Remember, if used properly, state polls actually give you a more accurate projection of the national popular vote than national polls, which is why our forecast so heavily relies on them!)

But let’s unpack the latest polls conducted entirely (or mostly) after the last presidential debate to better answer that question of just how much the race is tightening. Overall, we have six national surveys and eight battleground state polls, and on average, these 14 polls show essentially no change from before the debate.

In fact, the post-debate polls have arguably been pretty good for Biden. Gravis Marketing, for instance, last tested Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in July, but now finds Biden in better shape in all three states, including double-digit leads in Michigan and Wisconsin. Meanwhile, Ipsos and the New York Times Upshot/Siena College found essentially no movement in Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin. Most national polls also showed little to no change, too. International Business Daily/TIPP’s five-day nationwide tracking poll had shown Biden declining, but has recently found his lead back up in the high single-digits.

There may have been a bit of tightening before the debate, but at this point, there doesn’t seem to be any evidence of the race tightening since the debate. In fact, only two polls found clear, negative shifts for Biden, and they both come from pollsters that might have a particular interest in casting the president’s chances in a positive light.

First, a new InsiderAdvantage survey sponsored by the Center for American Greatness, a conservative media think tank, gave Trump a 3-point lead in Pennsylvania, which marks a 6-point swing in margin from its previous poll in mid-October. We, of course, can’t discount that this might be the case, but the ideological leanings of the pollster’s sponsor do give us pause. Similarly, a national poll from Rasmussen Reports/Pulse Opinion Research found Trump ahead by 1 point, a 4-point shift from its last survey, but Rasmussen has a well-known GOP house effect, or put another way, it consistently shows better results for Republican candidates than other polling firms.

We choose to be very inclusive when it comes to our forecast, so we toss almost everything into the polling kitchen sink. But on the whole, these recent polls may indicate some post-debate widening in the race rather than tightening, especially if you take the two quasi-partisan polls with a small pinch of salt (which we’d recommend).

Relax.  Take a walk with your dog; play with your cat; teach your parakeet to recite The Jabberwocky.  Read a book.  It will — one hopes — all be over soon.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Sunday Reading

Facing Collapse? — Josh Marshall in TPM:

Is it a collapse? All Trump critics and opponents are traumatized people, scarred by the horror of November 2016. But vigilance shouldn’t mean being afraid of our shadows. The average of national polls shows something approaching a collapse in the President’s standing over the last three weeks and especially over the last week. On September 19th, the FiveThirtyEight composite average gave Joe Biden a 6.6 percentage point lead over President Trump. By October 1st that number had swelled to 8.2 percentage points. Today it is 10.1 percentage points. These may not seem like big numbers. But in a race that has been on in earnest for a year and in an era of fierce and largely stable polarization it is a deep deterioration.

Given the momentous events of the last ten days – the debate debacle followed by the President’s COVID diagnosis and his erratic behavior since returning to the White House – it’s been quite difficult to get a firm read of the polls. In such a chaotic news climate ‘differential response’ can drive sharp shifts in the polls – when one side is going silent because they are demoralized by breaking news events. Indeed, at least early this week internal polls from Democratic campaigns in the Upper Midwest were not registering the sharp shift in polling.

More recent data may provide some explanation. Polls suggest the deterioration is concentrated in the Sunbelt. It seems possible whatever realignment or shift against Trump that was going to happen in the industrial Midwest had already happened. The greater movement was possible in the South. Internal polls had been showing a tight and tightening race for Michigan Senator Gary Peters. But the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg on September 18th seemed to push him back into a clear lead over challenger John James. The most recent shift – if we can assume it’s really and we probably can – seems to be coming in the South and more specifically in Florida, Georgia, Texas, North Carolina.

For partisans it’s nice to win big rather than squeak by. And a solid Biden win will be particularly important this year to head off any effort by President Trump to shut down vote counting in the courts. At the end of the day though you can only win or not win. Running up the count doesn’t really matter. Where it potentially matters a lot is in Congress and in down-ballot races around the country – most particularly in the US Senate. A decisive Biden win could have major ramifications across the country and into the future because of the critical impact of these down-ballot races – both in the Senate and in state legislatures which will guide the reapportionment process over the next two years.

Mike Trump — Susan B. Glasser in The New Yorker.

In April, as the country’s coronavirus outbreak surged, President Trump mocked Mike Pence’s filibustering skills, presenting himself as a teller of tough truths compared with his slippery Vice-President. “That’s one of the greatest answers I’ve ever heard, because Mike was able to speak for five minutes and not even touch your question,” Trump said in a press briefing after Pence avoided answering a reporter. “I said, that’s what you call a great professional.” Throughout Wednesday night’s debate, Trump’s version of Pence was fully on display, as the Vice-President ducked questions and outright refused to answer them for much of the ninety minutes.

Perhaps most significant, given that Trump is currently stricken with the coronavirus that he denied was an ongoing threat to the American people, Pence refused to say whether he had discussed the issue of “Presidential disability” with Trump. But this particular dodge hardly stood out on a night when Pence avoided more of moderator Susan Page’s questions than he answered. The Vice-President began the debate by refusing to say why the United States has had so many more deaths from the coronavirus than other leading nations. He ended it by refusing to say whether he would accept the peaceful transfer of power after the election. In between, Pence managed to avoid numerous other questions, from whether he believes climate change is an “existential threat” to what the Administration’s plan is for providing health care to Americans with preëxisting conditions. For much of the debate, in fact, Pence seemed more eager to deliver pre-planned attack lines against his Democratic opponent, Senator Kamala Harris, than he was to defend the Trump-Pence Administration’s record.

Harris, a sharp-tongued former prosecutor whose appointment to the ticket this summer immediately raised expectations for this debate with Pence, proved to be an agile and at times eloquent opponent. She was especially pointed on the subject that Pence least wanted to discuss: the Administration’s abysmal handling of the pandemic. Harris’s first line of the debate was also one of her best, calling the incumbent’s response to the coronavirus “the greatest failure of any Presidential Administration in the history of our country,” which sounds like an exaggeration until you remember that the COVID-19 death toll is already the largest mass-casualty event in American history aside from the Second World War, the 1918 influenza pandemic, and the Civil War. The only candidate on either ticket who has not held national office before, Harris had the most to prove going into the debate in Salt Lake City, and she did so while dodging a few questions of her own along the way. Do she and Joe Biden plan to pack the Supreme Court in response to the Republicans’ plan to ram through a new Justice days before the election? Does she think Biden has been forthcoming enough about his health, given that he will be the oldest President ever elected if he wins on November 3rd? We don’t know, because Harris would not answer.

Both Harris and Pence are younger and far more articulate politicians than their running mates, fully capable of holding their own in a televised argument that cleared the low bar of not degenerating into a food fight at a senior-citizens’ center. The debate seemed sort of normal—at least after Trump’s frenetic performance of a week earlier. But the more I listened to Pence the more I realized that the Vice-President of 2020 is no longer the deeply conventional, if fervently right-wing, evangelical of four years ago. Or even the oleaginous Trump suck-up he has been for much of the Administration’s tenure. He has been changed, and radically so, by his association with the President, and Wednesday night showed something both new and disturbing: Pence has come to resemble a lower-decibel Trump, lying with a fluency and brazenness that might have shocked his former moralistic self.

Once presented as the acceptable public front for Trumpism to those who might be offended by the President’s grosser displays of ego and misogyny, this new Pence was ruder and cruder, and he spent much of the evening interrupting the two women with whom he shared the stage, refusing to listen when the moderator implored him to follow the rules, and simply seizing extra time to rebut Harris whether Page offered it or not. This Pence was not the Middle American cleanup man of this spring’s anxious coronavirus press conferences; he was nasty, an elbow-thrower who dropped snide references to Biden as a plagiarist, inserted random media-bashing into long-winded soliloquies, and peddled a pet Trump conspiracy theory about the 2016 campaign. Like the boss, he repeated falsehoods about the Democratic platform with abandon—they are going to raise your taxes “on Day One” and “abolish” fossil fuels and eliminate fracking and allow taxpayer-funded abortions “up to the moment of birth”—all of which was not only untrue but so exaggerated beyond the actual Democratic platform that it was hard to imagine anyone but the most diehard Republican believing it. This sounded like Donald Trump talking, not Mike Pence. A quieter, less bombastic Donald Trump, to be sure, but Trump nonetheless.

Mike Pence wasn’t the only public official who channelled his inner Trump this week. For the last few days, the White House physician, Dr. Sean Conley, has been doing a pretty good impression of the reality-denying President, including misleading the public about Trump’s health in order to leave what the doctor called an “upbeat” impression. On Wednesday, with even basic questions about how and when Trump contracted the illness still unanswered, Conley released an official statement to the public about the President’s treatment for a potentially lethal disease that began by saying, “The president this morning says, ‘I feel great!’ ” That must surely be the first known use of an exclamation point and a quote from a patient in an official medical document meant to provide critical health information to the American people.

The good doctor is merely the latest aide in this White House to find out what Pence has clearly learned: when the approach of a President running for reëlection in the midst of a deadly pandemic is to deny its seriousness, then all those in his orbit will be sucked into progressively more humiliating and absurd efforts to go along with the ruse. This was bizarre enough as a strategy back in March and April, when relatively few Americans had yet to die of COVID-19. It is more or less politically impossible now, when so many thousands have perished and the United States’ response is a global embarrassment.

Trump, though, is immune to embarrassment—his lack of shame has long been one of his political superpowers—and so it must be for those around him. Among the many questions that Pence refused to answer was one of the week’s more obvious, given the large cluster of coronavirus cases in the White House and the President’s own illness after months of refusing to wear a mask or observe social distancing: Why should the American people listen when you tell them to abide by public-health guidelines that you yourself refuse to follow? Pence’s response was a model of misdirection, which had something to do with the Green New Deal and the coming government takeover of health care under the radical-left Democrats. Harris could only look on in amazement, shaking her head at the brazenness.

None of it really mattered, of course. No matter how much of a Trumpian makeover Mike Pence has undergone, Vice-Presidential debates do not change the outcome of Presidential elections. This one won’t either. By the time a fly improbably showed up on Pence’s close-cropped white hair and stayed there, without the Vice-President even appearing to notice, for a good two minutes, it was clear who the evening’s real winner would be. It was the fly, who will surely be remembered in debate history after all of Pence’s whoppers are long forgotten.

Doonesbury — Veterans of foreign wars.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Friday, June 26, 2020

Happy Friday

First, Friday Catblogging: Summer in the kitty.

Joe Biden is pulling ahead in a number of polls to the degree that if the election were held today, he’d win in a landslide. But the election is not being held today and in terms of politics, it is at least one geological age between now and November. But for now it’s good news.

And in the Neener, Neener File, Mayor DeBlasio of New York is flipping off Trump in graphic proportions.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has ignited a new feud with President Trump by ordering the words “Black Lives Matter” to be painted in large yellow letters on the street outside of Trump Tower.

The words are expected to be painted in the coming week on Fifth Avenue, between 56th and 57th Streets, according to the city.

“The president is a disgrace to the values we cherish in New York City,” Julia Arredondo, a spokeswoman for Mr. de Blasio, said in a statement on Thursday. “He can’t run or deny the reality we are facing, and any time he wants to set foot in the place he claims is his hometown, he should be reminded Black Lives Matter.”

It’s better than fireworks.

Wear your mask.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Expecting The Worst

Via Politico:

Everything seems to be going Democrats’ way. But many in the party just can’t get 2016 off their minds.

President Donald Trump is down or within striking distance in nearly every battleground state, his approval ratings are stubbornly low and he’s threatening to bring down the GOP Senate majority with him while helping to douse Republican chances of House takeover. Some Democrats are even beginning to feel confident about their prospects this fall.

Yet many can’t let themselves enjoy it.

“I’m not confident at all. I think the easiest way to ensure Trump’s reelection is to be overconfident. Too many Democrats are looking at national polls and finding them encouraging,” said Sen. Chris Coons, (D-Del.), a close ally of Joe Biden. “Too many Democrats assumed that Hillary Clinton was a shoo-in and didn’t vote or didn’t work.”

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), who calls herself “Debbie Downer” for repeatedly raising the alarm in Democratic circles, said she heard directly from people in her district that they plan to vote for Trump in 2020.

Everyone will roll their eyes and say, ‘that’s Debbie.’ But I was right in 2016,” Dingell said in an interview.


Yet in interviews with more than a dozen Democratic senators, including many from swing states, there’s an emerging feeling that this moment is not like four years, ago when Trump shocked the world. Trump is doing worse in the polls, has a controversial record as president and is facing a more popular opponent in Biden than he did in Clinton.

Some Democrats are even envisioning a blowout where Trump loses not just in the states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin that won him the presidency, but in places like Iowa, Ohio, Florida and Arizona as well.

“We’re going to beat him in November, and I think we’re going to even beat him in Ohio. And Ohio will mean an Electoral College landslide,” argued Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), who won reelection handily in 2018.

“People are worn out. They’re tired … people are really craving for changes and some normalcy,” said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who squeaked out a reelection win two years ago. “And you’re seeing that frustration in the polls. So unless they change drastically, I think there will be a big change” at the White House.

Still, it’s impossible for some Democrats to fully accept what’s been a rolling wave of good political news over the past few weeks. For one, polls are merely snapshots in time, they say, and less than five months until Election Day offers plenty of time for those snapshots to change, particularly if the economy stabilizes and coronavirus is contained.

Good. Complacency is what did them in back in 2016, and it could again.  Four years ago it seemed impossible that America would elect a sexist racist megalomaniac over a competent and experienced candidate, and even when the impossible happened, who could have imagined how dangerous he could be.  Well, now we know, and going around and saying that he is an existential threat to our country and even the world isn’t just fear-mongering; it’s as real as it gets.

So yes, the Democrats should be wary and planning everything they can to defeat not just Trump and do it to a degree that there’s no room in a reasonable mind to question the win, they need to win handily in the House, the Senate, and local races.  Winning the presidency but keeping the Senate in Republican hands would accomplish nothing.  It has to be a blowout on a scale of 1964 was for them and 1984 was for the GOP.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Poll Dance

The recent Fox News poll has a lot of Very Serious Pundits talking (including the borderline nitwit Mike Barnicle on Morning Joe who thinks America isn’t interested in impeachment anymore).  The bottom line is that, Mr. Barnicle notwithstanding, it looks dicey for the Republicans.

Polls change on a daily basis, and the attention span of the average American voter can be measured with an egg timer, but one thing has been remarkably consistent for the last three years: Trump’s approval numbers have never been over 50%, and they have wavered in the low to mid 40’s since his election.  This current poll shows the number of voters supporting impeachment and removal from office as steadily growing over the last few months as more and more of them become aware of what went on in the White House before, during, and after the July 25th phone call.  It’s all coming together: the guy’s a gangster, and a sloppy one at that.  It’s like the Corleone family was being run by Fredo.

We all know the fix is in from the git-go; that the Democratic House would vote out articles of impeachment and that the Republican Senate will conduct a trial modeled on the ones that take place in Pyongyang: Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham have basically said so.  Trump will be acquitted, he’ll bray about it at rallies and sell red hats, and the charges will keep on coming.  He could be impeached again, making his tenure the more notable for having been impeached more than once while in office.  But the polls seem to indicate that the Democrats have already made inroads to the 55% of Americans who do not support Trump and his Republican minions, and a day of reckoning, be it in November 2020 or some point along the way, will come.  And after he’s out of office, he’ll be subject to investigation and indictment by the Southern District of New York or any other jurisdiction that still stands for the rule of law.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Base Erosion

Polls are not always reliable, but since Trump is always telling anyone who will listen — and those who won’t — how much “everybody” likes him and agrees with him, so there, neener neener, this might at least open a few eyes among the Very Serious People who think that the Trump base is impenetrable… just like his wall.

From the Washington Post:

Trump loves to talk about how much Republicans love him. Given his long-standing unpopularity with the broader public, Trump often homes in on his overwhelming popularity in the GOP. And then he takes that overwhelming popularity and Trump-ifies it, jacking up the numbers and falsely claiming that it’s a “record” amount of support within the GOP.

For a president whose political identity is so tied to his base support, a new poll has some bad news.

A new Washington Post-Schar School poll shows support for an impeachment inquiry rising to a new high after Democrats formally launched one. The 58 percent who support the inquiry is higher than in any other poll; the 38 percent who oppose it suggests only Trump’s most devoted base is now opposed.

But even that isn’t quite accurate — because it shows some of Trump’s base does support the inquiry and even his removal.


It’s possible that support for impeachment in GOP circles is rising, as Trump’s actions vis-a-vis Ukraine come into focus. It’s also possible this is just a lot of polling noise. But despite Trump’s high level of support in the GOP, there has long been reason to believe there is something of a soft underbelly there, with many Republicans liking but not loving Trump and even disliking him personally. It’s possible many Republicans like Trump and even approve of his job performance but think there are legitimate questions here.

The party as a whole isn’t suddenly going to jump on board with impeaching and removing Trump. But it’s notable that the rising support for impeachment appears to include at least some of the base that Trump likes to tell us is so devoted to him.

As with any president facing this kind of news, there are two sure things: First, there will always be a solid core of supporters no matter what.  We saw it with Nixon and with Clinton.  But it’s always very small and fanatical, basing their devotion on nothing that has to do with politics or the rule of law.  The second sure thing is that polling is a lagging indicator; it is showing results from surveys taken two weeks ago and hasn’t caught up with the latest outrages, such as the WTF? letter sent by the White House Counsel that said Congress cannot investigate the president at all and you can’t make me cooperate.

As for the overall reaction to the poll, I’m thinking that even the Trump fan base is seeing they’ve gotten very little from him that he promised and are just tired of the noise.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Popularity Contest

Via Digby, according to one poll, Rasmussen, Trump has an approval rate of 53% and is more popular than Barack Obama ever was.

That’s probably true if you only poll right-wing trolls and Republicans (redundant, I know).  And that’s Rasmussen’s beat.

Actually, he’s closer to 53% disapproval.  But don’t let reality get in the way of a good tweetstorm.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Take Your Pick

According to the Washington Post’s recent poll, Americans view Robert Mueller as more credible than Trump.

Fifty-six percent to 33 percent, more say they trust Mueller’s version of the facts than Trump’s. And by nearly as wide a margin, more believe Mueller is mainly interested in “finding out the truth” than trying to “hurt Trump politically.”

Nearly two years into his investigation, Mueller has charged 34 people and secured guilty pleas from some of Trump’s closest advisers, including his former campaign chairman, deputy campaign chairman, national security adviser and personal lawyer. The special counsel has alleged 25 Russians, including 12 military officers, conspired to hack Democrats’ emails and wage a social media influence campaign to sway the outcome of the 2016 election, and described in astonishing detail how they did so.

Notably, though, Mueller has not brought criminal charges against any members of the Trump campaign for coordinating in that effort. He has charged several with lying to his investigators or to Congress — adding most recently to that list Roger Stone, a friend of Trump’s for decades whom Mueller has accused of trying to thwart lawmakers’ effort to investigate Russian interference in the election.

It should be noted that other than a brief statement concerning a report in Buzzfeed that they deemed “inaccurate,” neither Robert Mueller nor anyone connected directly or indirectly with his probe has uttered so much as a howdy-do to the press other than what they’ve presented in court.  So earning the public trust on this matter has been done solely on the work they’ve done while Trump has carried on as if his home was in a tree.

On the other hand, giving the people the choice between Mueller and Trump is like offering either pancakes and coffee or anthrax and ebola for breakfast.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

What About The Polls?

I used to be obsessed with reading polls, and there are certainly a lot of them: FiveThirtyEight, Quinnipiac, NBC/Wall Street Journal, even Fox News, which is surprisingly not the modern version of Der Volkischer Beobachter.  But polls are lagging indicators; they take a while to compile the data and check for accuracy, and this close to the election things shift.  We all thought 2016 would be a landslide.

So forget about them, whether they show your team in the lead or not.  Leading, and people get complacent.  Behind, and people despair and mutter “what’s the use?” and start Googling cheap places to live overseas.

Just vote.  Like I’ve said before, read up, know what’s on the ballot — including your local races because that’s where the insurgency starts — and go vote.

And if you insist on reading the polls, here’s a handy flow chart via Crooks and Liars.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Sunday Reading

Corruption, Thy Name Is Trump — Jonathan Chait in New York magazine.

“My whole life I’ve been greedy, greedy, greedy,” declared Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign. “I’ve grabbed all the money I could get. I’m so greedy. But now I want to be greedy for the United States.” To the extent that Trump’s candidacy offered any positive appeal, as opposed to simple loathing for his opponent, this was it. He was a brilliant businessman, or at least starred in a television show as one, and he would set aside his lifelong pursuit of wealth to selflessly serve the greater good. This was the promise that pried just enough Obama voters away from Hillary Clinton in just enough upper-Midwest states to clinch the Electoral College.

Since Trump took office, his pledge to ignore his own interests has been almost forgotten, lost in a disorienting hurricane of endless news. It is not just a morbid joke but a legitimate problem for the opposition that all the bad news about Trump keeps getting obscured by other bad news about Trump. Perhaps the extraordinary civic unrest his presidency has provoked will be enough to give Democrats a historic win in the midterms this fall, but it is easy to be worried. Trump’s approval rating hovers in the low 40s: lower than the average of any other president, yes, but seemingly impervious to an onslaught of scandals that would have sunk any other president, and within spitting range of reelectability.

As the races pick up in earnest, some kind of narrative focus is going to be necessary to frame the case against Trump. Here, what appears to be an embarrassment of riches for Democrats may in fact be a collection of distractions. It is depressingly likely that several of Trump’s most outrageous characteristics will fail to move the needle in the states and districts where the needle needs moving. His racism and misogyny motivate the Democratic base, but both were perfectly apparent in 2016 and did not dissuade enough voters to abandon him.
The Russia scandal is substantively important, but it is also convoluted and abstract and removed from any immediate impact on voters’ lived experience. The reports of Trump’s affair with Stormy Daniels, even the possibility of hired goons to keep her quiet, is not exactly a disillusioning experience for voters who harbored few illusions to begin with.

But they did harbor one. Trump’s core proposition to the public was a business deal: If he became president, he would work to make them rich. Of course, the fact that Trump was able to reduce the presidency to such a crass exchange, forsaking such niceties as simple decency and respect for the rule of law, exposed terrifying weaknesses in the fabric of American democracy. But the shortest path to resolving this crisis is first to remove Trump’s party — and it is Trump’s party — from full control of the government in 2018, and then to remove Trump from the White House in 2020. The clearest way to do that is to demonstrate that Trump is failing to uphold his end of the deal. After all, the students at Trump University once constituted some of the biggest Trump fans in America. Until they realized Trump had conned them. Then they sued to get their money back.

Historically, corruption — specifically, the use of power for personal gain — has played a central and even dominant role in American political discourse. In the 1870s, revelations that public officials were caught lining their pockets with millions of dollars from alcohol taxes (the Whiskey Ring) and inflated railroad costs (Crédit Mobilier) exploded into spectacular scandals. One of the triumphs of the Progressive Era was establishing rules and norms of professionalism in government so that public officials would not be tempted to sell their favors. The far more petty corruption cases of the 20th century still roused public rage. Harry Truman was famously scorned in his time, owing to penny-ante scandals, one of which involved an aide’s acceptance of some freezers. Dwight Eisenhower’s chief of staff had to resign after he accepted a vicuña coat; George H.W. Bush’s chief of staff, John Sununu, resigned in disgrace after using military aircraft for personal and political trips. There is a reason Trump labeled his opponent “Crooked Hillary,” and it stems from a law of American politics Democrats would be wise to remember: To be out for yourself is probably the single most disqualifying flaw a politician can have.

“Why shouldn’t the president surround himself with successful people?” argued Larry Kudlow, now Trump’s primary economic adviser, in 2016. “Wealthy folks have no need to steal or engage in corruption.” The administration seems to have set out to refute this generous assumption. The sheer breadth of direct self-enrichment Trump has unleashed in office defies the most cynical predictions. It may not be a surprise that he continues to hold on to his business empire and uses his power in office to direct profits its way, from overseas building deals down to printing the presidential seal on golf markers at the course near Mar-a-Lago. It is certainly not a surprise that Trump has refused to disclose his tax returns. What’s truly shocking is how much petty graft has sprung up across his administration. Trump’s Cabinet members and other senior officials have been living in style at taxpayer expense, indulging in lavish travel for personal reasons (including a trip to Fort Knox to witness the solar eclipse) and designing their offices with $31,000 dining sets and $139,000 doors. Not since the Harding administration, and probably the Gilded Age, has the presidency conducted itself in so venal a fashion.

It is hardly a coincidence that so many greedy people have filled the administration’s ranks. Trump’s ostentatious crudeness and misogyny are a kind of human-resources strategy. Radiating personal and professional sleaze lets him quickly and easily identify individuals who have any kind of public ethics and to sort them out. (James Comey’s accounts of his interactions with the president depict Trump probing for some vein of corruptibility in the FBI director; when he came up empty, he fired him.) Trump is legitimately excellent at cultivating an inner circle unburdened by legal or moral scruples. These are the only kind of people who want to work for Trump, and the only kind Trump wants to work for him.

It should take very little work — and be a very big priority — for Democratic candidates to stitch all the administration’s misdeeds together into a tale of unchecked greed. For all the mystery still surrounding the Russia investigation, for instance, it is already clear that the narrative revolves around a lust (and desperation) for money. Having burned enough American banks throughout his career that he could not obtain capital through conventional, legitimate channels, Trump turned to Russian sources, who typically have an ulterior political motive. Just what these various sources got in return for their investment in Trump is a matter for Robert Mueller’s investigators to determine. But Trump’s interest in them is perfectly obvious.

Trump’s campaign followed his patented human-resources strategy, filling its ranks with other rapacious and financially precarious men. Paul Manafort was deeply in debt to a Russian oligarch when he popped up on Trump’s doorstep. Michael Flynn was selling his credentials to Russian and Turkish dictators while advising Trump. Jared Kushner was flailing about in an effort to make good on a massive loan he took out on a white-elephant Manhattan building and seems to have used his access to Trump to leverage potential investors who might bail him out. Even as he has wielded enormous influence, Kushner has been unable to obtain a top-secret security clearance, because he may be vulnerable to foreign influence.

The virtue of bribery is a subject of genuine conviction for Trump, whose entrée to politics came via transactional relationships with New York politicians as well as Mafia figures. Trump once called the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which bars American corporations from engaging in bribery, a “ridiculous” and “horrible” law. Enforcement of this law has plummeted under his administration.

Trump’s vision of an economy run by tight circles of politically connected oligarchs has reshaped America’s standing in the world. The same effect that applies at the personal level with Trump has appeared at the level of the nation-state. Small-d democratic leaders have recoiled from the Trump administration, while autocrats have embraced him. Similarly, the president and his inner circle feel most comfortable in the company of the wealthy and corrupt. They have built closer ties to Russia, the Gulf States, and China, all of which are ruled by oligarchs who recognize in Trump a like-minded soul. They share the belief that — to revise a favorite Trump saying — if you don’t steal, you don’t have a country.

An easy fatalism about all this corruption has gained wide circulation. It was known about Trump all along and his voters signed up for it anyway, so nothing matters, right? In fact, Trump’s behavior runs directly contrary to his most important promises. “Draining the swamp” was not supposed to mean simply kicking out Democrats and competent public officials. He made speeches promising good-government reforms: a ban on lobbying by former members of Congress and stricter rules on what lobbying meant; campaign-finance reform to prevent foreign companies from raising money for American candidates; a ban on lobbying by former senior government officials on behalf of foreign governments.

Not only has Trump made no effort to raise ethical standards but he and his administration have flamboyantly violated the existing guidelines. Lobbyists are seeded in every agency, “regulating” their former employers and designing rules that favor bosses over employees and business owners over consumers. The problem of former government officials’ being paid by foreign governments has been superseded by the far larger problem of current government officials’ being paid by foreign governments.

Small episodes of corruption can play an outsize role in American politics, since the human scale of petty self-dealing is often easy to understand. And in Trump’s case, the smaller and larger scandals reinforce each other. Why is Trump giving rich people and corporations a huge tax cut? Why has he been threatening to take away your health insurance? Why is he letting Wall Street and Big Oil write their own rules? Above all, if Trump supposedly believed that “if I become president, I couldn’t care less about my company — it’s peanuts,” why are his children still running it? For the same reason he has let his Cabinet secretaries run up large travel expenses, and why his son-in-law met with oligarchs in China and the Gulf States whose money he was trying to get his hands on.

Even the strong economy does not mean Democrats have no way to attack Trump’s economic management. After all, the reason public opinion about the economy improved almost immediately after his election is that the Republican message machine stopped bad-mouthing the recovery and instead rebranded the same conditions as a fabulous new era of prosperity. Rather than sit back and allow Trump to take credit for a recovery he inherited, Democrats can press the point that he and his allies are doing little more than skimming off the top of it.

Somebody persuaded corporations, fattened by a trillion-dollar tax windfall, to publicize the same raises and bonuses they had been handing out for years as a special dividend of the Trump tax cuts. If Democrats win control of a chamber of Congress and thus the ability to hold hearings, they should investigate whatever coordination yielded this nexus of self-interest. A Democratic House or Senate could also compel disclosure of Trump’s tax returns, and both the documents themselves and any drama surrounding them would attract more attention to the administration’s commitment to self-enrichment.

But that can happen only if the Democrats win the midterms, and the best way to do that is to tell a very simple story. Trump represented himself as a rich man feared by the business elite. He had spent much of his life buying off politicians and exploiting the system, so he knew how the system worked and could exploit that knowledge on behalf of the people. In fact, his experiences with bribery opened his eyes to what further extortion might be possible. Trump was never looking to blow up the system. He was simply casing the joint.

Mr. Popularity — John Nichols in The Nation on Trump’s delusions.

Trump is so out of touch with reality that he thinks he is popular.

He’s not. And Americans, no matter what their partisanship, no matter what their ideology, should be worried that their president is lying not just to them but to himself.

Trump has been obsessed in recent days by a Rasmussen Reports daily presidential tracking poll that was published April 4. It put his approval rating at 51 percent. “Still Rising: Rasmussen Poll Shows Donald Trump Approval Ratings Now at 51 Percent,” Trump tweeted on Wednesday, as part of a pattern of tweets claiming that he’s experiencing a popularity surge.

Appearing Friday morning on the Trump-approving Bernie & Sid Show on New York’s WABC radio show—”we both think you’re doing a terrific job…”—the president claimed he was on a roll. “A poll just came out now, Rasmussen, it’s now 51,” chirped the president. “And they say that it’s 51, but add another 7 or 8 points to it. That’s somewhat embarrassing for me to tell you because they don’t want to talk about it, but when they get into the [voting] booth they’re going to vote for Trump.”

Rasmussen, a polling firm that has consistently found higher numbers for Trump than other survey research operations, did put the president at 51 on Wednesday. But Thursday’s Rasmussen daily tracking poll had the president’s approval rating falling to 47 percent, with 51 percent of those polled expressing disapproval. On Friday, when Trump was saying “it’s now 51,” his Rasmussen approval rating was actually 47 percent, while his disapproval number had risen to 52 percent.

In other words, the survey firm that the president has been busy thanking for doing “honest polling” is telling us that his approval rating has gone down in a week that saw talk of a “trade war” with China and mounting calls for the removal of scandal-plagued Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt.

But it’s actually much worse than that for Trump. Rasmussen is just one pollster. All the rest of the recent polls from major survey research groups show Trump with a double-digit polling deficit. Some have his approval rating falling into the 30s. The Real Clear Politics average of recent polls provides the clearest picture: As of Friday morning, Trump’s approval rating was at 41.5 percent. His disapproval rating was at 54.6 percent. That’s a 13.1 percent deficit.

That’s also well below the level of support Trump got when he lost—let’s reemphasize: lost—the popular vote in 2016. In that year’s presidential race, Trump secured 46.1 percent of the vote to 48.2 percent for Democrat Hillary Clinton. Clinton received almost 3 million more votes than Trump, and that was after she faced an onslaught of criticism and attacks during the 2016 campaign.

Trump could never accept those numbers. He has made wild claims about voter fraud and promoted other electoral fantasies in attempts to explain his failure to appeal to the vast majority of voters. And he never acknowledges—no matter how his numbers compared with Clinton’s in the popular vote—that the overall portion of the 2016 American electorate that chose someone other than Trump for the presidency was 54 percent.

Why should Americans worry that their president keeps deceiving himself—and his fellow Republicans, in Congress and in the states where GOP-backed candidates are being rejected with growing frequency—about these approval ratings?

Because this is a president who, we are told, trusts his instincts. If Trump really believes his approach to governing is popular, if he really imagines that his popularity is “still rising,” he is more likely to keep doing what he is doing.

The fact is that Trump’s instincts are wrong, as are his policies. They are not making him more popular. He may experience temporary fluctuations in his approval ratings, but they are never great—or even all that good. In fact, when it comes to approval ratings, it certainly looks like Trump’s best days were back in November of 2016, when he was on the losing end of a 54-46 measure of popular sentiment.

The Smells of Home — Sofija Stefanovic in The New York Times about sense memory recall.

When I was 5, the night before we left Yugoslavia and a few years before that country embarked on the Balkan wars and eventually dissolved, my mother put me to bed. Before starting on the hour of lullabies I demanded, out of nowhere she said, “The smells of your childhood will always stay with you and will make you remember home.”

“But what if you were born in a garbage bin?” I said.

“Then the smell of garbage will always remind you of home,” she said, and her eyes filled with tears, making me (incorrectly) assume that she’d been born in a garbage bin herself and was getting emotional about it.

Though I didn’t think much of it at the time, my mother was right about the smells. It is well documented that our senses can cause an involuntary flooding of memory. Some call it the “Proust phenomenon,” after the scene in “In Search of Lost Time” when a character’s childhood comes back to him simply from tasting a madeleine biscuit soaked in tea.

To me, the Belgrade of my childhood smelled like the Marlboro cigarettes my mother smoked — even while I was in utero (it was the ’80s) — and the perfume my aunt wore and chestnuts roasting in the winter, which sellers scooped into a paper cone and we ate on our way to my grandma’s place.

But I didn’t think about those smells as being special, because I had never not smelled them. We hadn’t yet moved to Australia, with its clean air, eucalyptus trees and suburban lawns, where the Southern Cross constellation hung above us, far from our family and the small gray sky of my hometown. I didn’t know that I would miss the smells, or rather, that I wouldn’t realize I missed the smells, and their associated memories, until I experienced them again.

It’s only now, as an adult living in New York, that I have my own Proustian moments. On a cold day smelling of snow, I sometimes get a whiff of urine in a doorway, and that olfactory cocktail reminds me of our building on the Boulevard of Revolution, with its green door, where my family lived when I was small. Men used to relieve themselves in the doorways there, just as they do here.

Behind the green door was an old foyer, and if you were walking down the stairs, you had to push a button each time you arrived on a new floor because the light was on a timer that went out. Out the back of that building I played with other kids. Stray kittens would appear near the caretaker’s toolshed and we’d argue over them, tugging them out of one another’s grasps, except when it was snowing and the kittens huddled under the shed and we’d make snowmen instead.

All those memories from a stinky doorway.

For me, the Belgrade of today is not home. We left there a long time ago, and I rarely visit. When I do, I often get lost, and the slang of young people is unfamiliar. It is not the home I remember when my senses are triggered (like when I try the Israeli peanut snack Bamba, which is uncannily similar to the Yugo Smoki I grew up on). The more time I spend with my memories, the more I augment them, my fantasy Belgrade becoming more beautiful than it ever was.

The United States is a nation of immigrants (still), and New York City is brimming with them. People who have been parted from the smells and tastes of their homes, who I assume are, like me, jolted back when a long-forgotten piece of music blares from a passing car, or a childhood spice enters their nostrils on a windy street in Queens. Do their memories make them feel nostalgia, or love, or are they ambivalent, terrified, heartbroken?

My son was born in New York City a few months ago. Based on the sensations of our block, he may well feel at home smelling a garbage bin. He might also remember the smell of the cinema near our apartment: popcorn and synthetic butter. The sound of his mother humming a Yugo-rock tune. Will these sensations, of the only home he has known, ever stand out to him as something to be missed?

If we go back to Australia (I’m not sure what the final straw will be — health care, education, immigration policy, gun laws), my son will be left with memories waiting to be sparked like a match. And then, the sound of a siren might take him back to our East Village block, where I pushed him in a stroller, picking up dog poop and balancing a coffee that I spilled on myself, and then cursed over and over. Maybe the smell of a dog’s breath will remind him of the couch he had to share with poodles while his parents shouted at the news, or the dog run with its squirrels and cobbles.

As stimuli fly at my baby — I watch him turn his head when he hears someone shouting, at the smell of laundry coming from a grating — I wonder what version of home he’s creating for himself. Which memories will my son carry of the city where he lived when he was born? And will he be like me, and many others who have moved, carrying certain baggage wherever he goes?

I remember my mother’s comment about how the smells of my childhood would remind me of home, and home, I now know, is a place that exists not on a map but in my mind, ready to appear in its full, smelly glory at any moment.

Doonesbury — Quick results.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Blame Game

This poll is from Friday so I’m not sure how long it will last; voters have the short-term memory of a goldfish.

By a 20-point margin, more Americans blame President Trump and Republicans rather than Democrats for a potential government shutdown, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

A 48 percent plurality says Trump and congressional Republicans are mainly responsible for the situation resulting from disagreements over immigration laws and border security, while 28 percent fault Democrats. A sizable 18 percent volunteer that both parties are equally responsible. Political independents drive the lopsided margin of blame, saying by 46 to 25 percent margin that Republicans and Trump are responsible for the situation.

Republicans use a shutdown as part of their tactics; they know that even if they’re in control of everything they can always blame it on someone else and get away with it, and they know their base hates government anyway and cheers when there’s a shutdown until it directly impacts them.

The last time the government shut down, Trump laid the blame not on Congress but on the president.

TRUMP: In my opinion – you know, I hear the Democrats are going to be blamed and the Republicans are going to be blamed. I actually think the president would be blamed. If there is a shutdown, and it’s not going to be a horrible shutdown because, as you know, things will sort of keep going…. If there is a shutdown I think it would be a tremendously negative mark on the president of the United States. He’s the one that has to get people together.

Would you like a bandage for that bite on your ass?

In the long run it won’t really matter.  The polling after the last shutdown in 2013 also hit the Republicans but by the mid-terms in 2014 they were still able to stay in control of the House and Senate.  But this time there’s more going on than just fighting over CHIP and DACA, and the shutdown didn’t stop the Mueller investigation.  We’ll just pick up where we left off with Trump and his racism and warmongering.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Unpopular Vote

Here’s an interesting bit of news: The tax bill being whooped through Congress is very unpopular with the American people.

Senate Republicans’ effort to pass tax reform is at a crucial juncture. As some senators waffle on whether to support the bill, they may want to spare a glance toward public opinion: Poll after poll shows that more voters than not are opposed to their efforts. In fact, the GOP bill is one of the least popular tax plans since Ronald Reagan’s day.

About a third of voters currently support the Republican tax reform package, according to an average of five surveys released1 this month. In a Quinnipiac University survey, just 25 percent of voters approved of the plan. Surveys from ABC News/Washington Post, CNN, Morning Consult and YouGov put approval of the plan slightly higher, but all are still at 36 percent or lower. Meanwhile, an average of the five polls puts opposition at 46 percent.

Why is support so low? Americans are opposed to the bill because they think it disproportionately benefits the rich. (It likely will.) President Trump’s administration has argued, however, that there were similar complaints about the Reagan tax cut plan of 1981, which preceded an economic boom.

The Reagan plan, though, was far more popular in 1981 than the current Republican plan is now. In a Gallup survey taken in the days after Reagan signed his tax cuts into law on Aug. 13, 1981, 51 percent of Americans were in favor of it. Just 26 percent of Americans were opposed. The other major tax cut of the Reagan administration (signed in 1986) wasn’t nearly as popular, but it was still more popular than the current GOP legislation. A CBS News/New York Times survey conducted in the days after the bill passed Congress found 38 percent in favor and 34 percent opposed.

Indeed, major tax cut plans are usually more popular than unpopular. Heck, even some tax hikes have been more popular than the current GOP bill.2

Yesterday I cynically suggested that the tax cuts would go through and trash what’s left of the recovery and throw 15 million people off health insurance and the vast majority of Americans wouldn’t notice until it lands in their lap, if then.  Well, maybe they’re noticing after all.


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Base Coating

According to a poll published by Reuters, Trump is losing support from his rural base.

Outside the Morgan County fair in McConnelsville, in a rural swath of Ohio that fervently backed U.S. President Donald Trump in last year’s election, ticket seller John Wilson quietly counts off a handful of disappointments with the man he helped elect.

The 70-year-old retired banker said he is unhappy with infighting and turnover in the White House. He does not like Trump’s penchant for traveling to his personal golf resorts. He wishes the president would do more to fix the healthcare system, and he worries that Trump might back down from his promise to force illegal immigrants out of the country.

“Every president makes mistakes,” Wilson said. “But if you add one on top of one, on top of another one, on top of another, there’s just a limit.”

Trump, who inspired millions of supporters last year in places like Morgan County, has been losing his grip on rural America.

According to the Reuters/Ipsos daily tracking poll, the Republican president’s popularity is eroding in small towns and rural communities where 15 percent of the country’s population lives. The poll of more than 15,000 adults in “non-metro” areas shows that they are now as likely to disapprove of Trump as they are to approve of him.

I hate to throw cold water on your hopes that this slippage means the tide is finally turning and that rural America is waking up to the fact that they got conned by this cheap vulgarian.  Given the choice between him and a Democrat, they’d vote for him again.  After all, he promised that he’d get rid of the illegals and make America great again, and when you’re given the choice between abstract possibilities and admitting out loud that you got taken, the abstracts will win every time.

Say what you will about Trump, he knows how to keep his base.  Find a kneeling black football player, pick on a Puerto Rican mayor, start a Twitter war with a moderate Republican; it’s all about the distraction and the visceral.  The base will back him every time.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Monday, August 21, 2017

That Shrinking Feeling

Trump’s approval rating in three key Midwestern states — Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania — is below 40%.

In addition, Democrats enjoy double-digit leads in Michigan and Pennsylvania on the question of which party voters prefer to control Congress after the 2018 midterms, and they hold an 8-point advantage in Wisconsin.


In all three states, more than six in 10 voters say Trump’s conduct as president has embarrassed them, compared to just a quarter who have said it’s made them proud.

These three NBC/Marist polls were conducted August 13-17 — after the Aug. 12 unrest and violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, and in the midst of Trump’s multiple responses to the events.

In Michigan, 36 percent of voters approve of Trump’s job performance (including 19 percent who strongly approve), while 55 percent disapprove (including 40 percent who strongly do).

In Pennsylvania, 35 percent give the president’s job a thumbs up (17 percent strongly), versus 54 percent who disapprove (41 percent strongly).

And in Wisconsin, 34 percent of voters approve of Trump (17 percent strongly), compared with 56 percent who disapprove (42 percent strongly).

In 2016’s general election, Trump won all three states by a combined 80,000 votes, becoming the first Republican to carry these states since the 1980s.

Asked if Trump’s conduct as president made them proud or embarrassed them, 64 percent of voters in Michigan and Wisconsin say they’ve been embarrassed, while 63 percent say that in Pennsylvania.

Polls change quickly, and we are fifteen months away from the 2018 mid-terms, but when you start layering in sentiments like “embarrassment,” that has a tendency to stick around longer than the instant reaction to news items that can spike or crater a weekly poll.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Other Priorities

I am sure that the Republicans and Trump will try again and again to kill off Obamacare, but the voters are done messing with it, according to Reuters.

A majority of Americans are ready to move on from healthcare reform at this point after the U.S. Senate’s effort to dismantle Obamacare failed on Friday, according to an exclusive Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Saturday.

Nearly two-thirds of the country wants to either keep or modify the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, and a majority of Americans want Congress to turn its attention to other priorities, the survey found.


The July 28-29 poll of more than 1,130 Americans, conducted after the Republican-led effort collapsed in the Senate, found that 64 percent said they wanted to keep Obamacare, either “entirely as is” or after fixing “problem areas.” That is up from 54 percent in January.

The survey found that support for the law still runs along party lines, with nine out of 10 Democrats and just three out of 10 Republicans saying they wanted to keep or modify Obamacare.

The only problem with Congress turning its attention to other priorities is that they will probably make as much of a mess of them as they did of healthcare.  The budget will be worse, the infrastructure will continue to crumble, and the only thing that they might pull off is tax “reform,” which to the majority party means nobody pays for anything.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Keep It Up

Apparently the word is getting out that Trumpcare sucks.

Just 12% of Americans support the Senate Republican health care plan, a new USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll finds, amid a roiling debate over whether the GOP will deliver on its signature promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

In the survey, taken Saturday through Tuesday, a 53% majority say Congress should either leave the law known as Obamacare alone or work to fix its problems while keeping its framework intact.

The Senate is getting the word from constituents and will hear a lot more this holiday weekend when they go to the 4th of July picnics and parades and are greeted by people like you who will make their feelings known.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Georgia 6

There’s a lot riding on today’s special election for Congress in the Georgia 6th district, not the least of which are cable TV ratings.  If the Democrats win with Jon Ossoff in this upscale Atlanta suburb, it could be a predictor for how the 2018 midterms are headed, but if they lose to Republican Karen Handel, it could be that she had the advantage of carrying a district that has been Republican for almost forty years and used to be the home of Newt Gingrich.  Spin it as you will.

Or, as Nate Silver puts it, expect some dumbness from the punditry.

Here’s the thing, though: Sometimes dumb things matter if everyone agrees that they matter. Congressional Republicans could use a signal of any kind right now to coordinate their strategy around two vexing issues: first, their health care bill, and second, their behavior toward President Trump and the investigations surrounding him. Whatever direction Republicans take on these questions, they will find some degree of strength in numbers. Republicans would probably be less afraid of publicly rebuking Trump, for instance — and becoming the subject of a @realDonaldTrump tweetstorm or Trump-backed primary challenge — if other GOPers were doing the same.

The Georgia 6 outcome might trigger some herd behavior among Republicans, therefore, changing the political environment in the weeks and months ahead. A loss for Handel would probably be interpreted by the GOP as a sign that the status quo wasn’t working. If even a few members of Congress began taking the exit ramp on Trump and the American Health Care Act, a number of others might follow. A win, conversely, would have a morale-boosting effect; Republicans would probably tell themselves that they could preserve their congressional majorities by turning out their base, even if some swing voters had abandoned them.

Right now Ossoff has a very narrow lead in the polls, but if last November is any guide, polls don’t mean a whole lot.  What does matter is seeing how the parties are shifting their bases; people who voted for Obama shifting to Trump; people who voted for Romney shifting to Clinton; blocs who were once considered reliable for both parties no longer hold that allegiance; and overall, a frustration or anger that they’re not getting either what they want or what was promised to them, thereby adding an age-old corollary on Tip O’Neill’s adage about all politics being local: “What’s in it for me?”  That means that the echos of November and the current situation for Trump don’t mean a whole lot. Even the debate over Obamacare takes second place to who’s going to bring home more bacon.

Ever the pessimist about things like this, I am bracing for a narrow loss for the Democrats and hours of dumb pundit analysis.  (The same will hold true if he wins.)  Twenty-four hours from now we’ll know and see who’s really dumb.

Monday, May 15, 2017