THE BIG IDEA:
By David Weigel, filling in for James, who is on vacation.
A specter is haunting the Green Party – the specter of Ralph Nader.
This morning, as America’s fourth-largest party gathers in Houston to nominate a presidential ticket, it’s struggling to capture the progressive voters who supported Bernie Sanders. Jill Stein, the party’s likely nominee, was rebuffed when she asked Sanders to join the party, and rebuffed again when she asked popular Sanders surrogate Nina Turner to be her running mate.
Why is progressive frustration with Hillary Clinton not boosting the Greens? It’s because sixteen years ago, Green Party nominee Ralph Nader won 2.9 million votes, and at least 2 million of those voters came to blame themselves for the victory of George W. Bush over Al Gore. (The combined vote for Nader and Green candidates since 2000 has never exceeded 900,000.)
The 2000 election was one of the founding traumas of the modern center-left. It’s no accident that Stein polls best with voters under 30; liberal voters who remember 2000 are likely to associate “voting your conscience” with giving away the presidency.
That’s most evident in the list of Nader supporters from 2000 who have never come back to the Green Party. Nader's running mate that year, Winona LaDuke, endorsed John Kerry in 2004 and then disengaged from politics. Michael Moore, who introduced Nader at some of his rallies, later apologized to Al Gore and has endorsed Democrats for president ever since. Many of the celebrities, academics and intellectuals who backed Nader went on to support Sanders; the only prominent one to support Stein this time is Cornel West.
“There were three claims made by Nader in 2000,” said Charles Lenchner, who voted for Nader that year but went on to found the grassroots group People for Bernie. “The first was that there was no substantial difference between Al Gore and George W. Bush. The second was that the campaign would be a boost to local organizing. The third was that the Green Party could emerge as a viable force in our politics. And none of that came to pass.”
Nader’s 2000 campaign combined a man and a moment in a way that exhilarated the post-millennium left. Bill Clinton’s presidency was deeply unsatisfying to anti-war and anti-globalist progressives. George W. Bush’s campaign sold itself as a “compassionate” center-right successor to Clinton; for much of 2000, it polled so far ahead of Al Gore’s campaign that a protest vote seemed harmless. And Nader himself was a consumer rights icon whose celebrity transcended right or left.
“Ralph Nader was an icon, and he still is an icon,” said Rosa DeMoro, the executive director of National Nurses United, who was running that union’s precursor when it endorsed Nader in 2000. “When you supported him, you were supporting decades of advocacy that you could be proud of.”
Stein, by contrast, entered national politics after some success as an environmental activist and Green candidate in Massachusetts. She has never had a following outside of the party, hence her yeoman efforts last week to convince Sanders supporters that they could transfer their hopes into her campaign.
But the Bush years and the Trump campaign have prevented the sort of “Tweedledum or Tweedledum” critique of the two parties that made Nader possible. Gore had voted to confirm Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court; Clinton pledges to appoint a liberal justice, and a seat is open. Even Stein struggles to suggest that a Trump presidency would pose the same challenges as a Clinton presidency. The argument for a Green vote this time is more of a bank shot – that four years of total opposition will strengthen the left, or that a Clinton presidency will eventually empower Republicans.
“The first term of a Kerry-Edwards administration and a Republican Congress would have implemented precisely the same policies as did the second term of Bush-Cheney in regard to Iraq, the housing market, etc,” said Andrew Bonnell, a professor at Ball State University who signed a 2000 letter of support from academics for Nader. “The landslide that would have swept Mitt Romney or John McCain or whoever into the White House in the aftermath of that presidency might well have made the Republicans unchallengeable at every level of politics for a generation. This time is like that.”
That’s more complicated than the argument Nader made in 2000 – that it simply did not matter whether “Gush or Bore” took the White House. Nader, who at age 82 is done with electoral politics, was wry about Stein’s appeal, and skeptical that a third party vote would hold up by election day. After all, his record-high Green Party vote was far short of what polling predicted.
“What I’d say to a ‘Bernie or Bust’ person is: Vote for the Green Party agenda and Jill Stein, because it’s the closest agenda to Bernie’s,” said Nader. “But if you called up the head of the DNC, and you said ‘Jill Stein is up to 5 or 8 percent,’ they’d say ‘Relax, she’ll go back to 1 percent.’ That’s what happens to voters on the left. They all get back in the fold the day before the election. They get cold feet.”
Nader did not say who he would support (“not Hillary or Trump, as you might guess”), and suggested that voters worrying about a close election in August were getting ahead of themselves.
“Let’s see where we are in October,” said Nader, speculating that Trump could collapse in the polls.
If Trump did not collapse, even Ralph Nader was willing to understand voters who considered Clinton a “lesser evil,” but were scared of the consequences if they voted for a third party – and Trump won.
“If you’re in a deep red or deep blue state, you can vote your conscience,” said Nader. “In the swing states, if you don’t vote your conscience, and you want to vote for Hillary, you have a moral obligation to organize the second she gets elected.”
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WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
POST-CONVENTIONS POLLS BEGIN TO SHOW CLINTON OPENING UP SIGNIFICANT LEAD
Clinton now has a 10-POINT lead over Trump in a new Fox News poll, which surveys voters nationally, and she tops Trump by DOUBLE DIGITS in key swing states like New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. Cautionary note: these are the first batch of post-convention surveys and we'll have to keep watching closely to see whether this is a real trend or a reaction to Trump's erratic recent moves, such as attacking the family of a Muslim-American war hero and refusing to back House Speaker Paul Ryan's reelection.
-- Clinton bested Trump, 49 to 39 percent in the Fox News poll, which was taken post-convention from July 31 to Aug. 2. The former secretary of state earned a five-point spike from the last survey, gaining among men, women, whites, young voters and seniors.
Key takeaway: Trump is falling way short of Mitt Romney's 2012 numbers: Trump is winning white voters by 10 points compared to 20 for Mitt; Trump is winning men by 5 points compared to 7 points for Romney; he takes white evangelicals by 50 points to 57 for Romney; and wins whites without a college degree by 16 points compared to 26 for Romney.
- Voters continue to see Clinton as more qualified and knowledgeable: More than half of voters believe Trump is unqualified for office (58 percent) while a majority of voters (65 percent) believe Clinton IS qualified.
- Trump now tops Clinton among voters who think both are dishonest, 62 to 61 percent.
- 77 percent of voters said they are familiar with Trump’s ongoing feud with the parents of a Muslim American soldier who was killed in combat. A full 69 percent of voters said Trump’s comments towards the family were “out of bounds.” But Trump still retains a strong lead among veterans, leading Clinton 53 to 39 percent.
- 12 percent of REPUBLICANS back Clinton compared to 5 percent of Democrats favoring Trump. Trump does hold an 8-point lead among independents.
-- In NEW HAMPSHIRE, a key swing state, voters also strongly favor Clinton, per a WBUR survey: Clinton holds a 15-point lead over Trump in the Granite State, up 47 percent to his 32 percent. (Eight percent of voters preferred Libertarian Gary Johnson.)
- Clinton’s standing illustrates major strides towards party unity: 86 percent of Democrats now back her in the state, though she lost the Democratic primary here to Sanders in February. Trump, meanwhile, nets less than two-thirds of the Republican vote, down from previous surveys.
- 56 percent of voters believe Clinton emerged from the Democratic convention Philadelphia a stronger candidate, while only 39 percent said the same of Trump.
Meanwhile, Sen. Kelly Ayotte is also trailing her Democratic opponent in the polls, down by 10 points against Gov. Maggie Hassan in the race.
-- Clinton also jumped to a big lead in MICHIGAN: she tops Trump 41 to 32 percent in the state, per a fresh Detroit News poll. The Democrat's lead was just four points in May. Clinton also gained a “shocking” lead in Republican strongholds of west and southwest Michigan – up by five and six points, respectively, in each region.
--In PENNSYLVANIA, which Trump boasts he can win and is key to his hopes, Clinton jumped to a 13-point lead, according to a Franklin & Marshall College poll in the state. Meanwhile, Democratic nominee Katie McGinty also leads Republican Pat Toomey in the Senate race, up 38 to his 30 percent.
-- A new GOP campaign ad promises to “stand up” to Trump. From Politico’s Alex Isenstadt: “The commercial, from GOP Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado, represents the first time a House Republican has used explicitly anti-Trump messaging in paid advertising. It comes as many in the Republican Party — concerned about Trump’s impact on down-ballot races — are grappling with whether to take further measures to repudiate their presidential nominee after a string of controversies including an attack on a Gold Star family and his refusal to endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan in his primary.”
- “People ask me, ‘What do you think about Trump?’” Coffman, a 61-year-old Army and Marine veteran, says in the ad. “Honestly, I don’t care for him much.” “My duty is always to you, he concludes. “So if Donald Trump is the president, I’ll stand up to him. Plain and simple.”
Watch it here. We may be seeing a slew of other ads like it if Trump's numbers continue to fall:
GET SMART FAST:
- A woman in her 60s was killed, and five others injured after a knife attack in central London square. Police have arrested a 19-year-old man in connection with the attack. Early reports suggest mental health were a “significant factor” in the violence, though officials have declined to rule out terrorism as a possibility. (Elise Schmelzer)
- An Emirates flight from India with 300 people on board crash-landed at Dubai’s main airport, sending plumes of smoke into the air and temporarily halting traffic on the tarmac. Officials said there were no fatalities in the crash, and all passengers were safely evacuated before the plane was engulfed in a fireball. (AP)
- Military officials announced at least 33 U.S. service members, including a pregnant woman, have tested positive for Zika. Officials said all of the infections happened outside of the continental U.S. (Carol Rosenberg)
- Meanwhile, the Obama administration warned it is “rapidly” running out of funds to fight the mosquito-born virus, urging action from House Democrats as officials acknowledged existing funds could be depleted by the end of August. (Kelsey Snell)
- Bizarrely, Brazil’s army may have the mosquito repellant market cornered: Troops are given a sticky repellant that can reportedly stave off mosquitos in the harshest of Amazonian conditions (one New York Times reporter was lucky enough to try it.) But good luck getting your hands on a tube – the country spent 20 years developing the formula in a military lab, and has no plans to commercially produce its secret forumula.
- Obama commuted the sentences of 214 inmates on Wednesday, far surpassing his single-day clemency record as he seeks to end “unduly harsh” terms of federal inmates. (Greg Jaffe)
- The Supreme Court temporarily blocked a Virginia transgender student from using the bathroom of his choice, giving his school district additional time to file an appeal on the issue. The move is an indication that the justices will likely rule on the case in the fall. (Moriah Balingit and Robert Barnes)
- The Pentagon blocked $300 million in military assistance to Pakistan, delivering a potential blow to U.S.-Pakistani ties. The decision also comes as a sign of ongoing tensions with an ally that some have accused of “double-dealing,” and failing to act against militants fueling violence in Afghanistan. (Missy Ryan)
- Texas agreed to weaken its voter identification laws, following a federal appeals court ruling that the state’s current restrictions discriminate against minorities. The state was also ordered to spend at least $2.5 million on voter outreach initiatives before November, which will be subject to approval of the court. (AP)
- Nepal’s parliament elected a former communist rebel leader as its new prime minister, a move that will likely portend further political instability in the nation. (AP)
- New research found that carriers of the gene for sickle cell anemia do NOT have an increased death risk. The study, conducted on nearly 50,000 active-duty soldiers, counters widespread concerns that those with the trait are more likely to die from intense training. (SF Gate)
- Exposure to microbes from farm animals can reportedly help lower asthma and allergy rates, according to newly-published research from Amish and Hutterite communities in the U.S. Findings were so compelling that scientists are now scrambling to replicate the "barnyard dust" in spray-bottle form to help improve the health of children who do not have regular contact with cows and horses. (New York Times)
- China test drove a gargantuan street-straddling bus on the roads this week, gaming out final designs for a public transit system that arches over two lanes of traffic. A full trial run is expected to take place next year in central China. (New York Times)
- Human rights advocates say Australia has banished more than 1,000 refugees to a remote island in the Pacific Ocean, subjecting them to “prisonlike” conditions for years as they sought to deter other asylum seekers from entering the country. (Lindsey Bever)
- A Busch Gardens flamingo famous for its toe-tapping “dance” routine has died after being picked up – and violently thrown to the ground – by an Orlando park visitor. Officials are unsure what provoked the man to hurt "Pinky," one of its most beloved attractions. (Sarah Larimer)
- An America’s Got Talent contestant was struck in the throat by a flaming arrow after an onstage “daredevil” act went terribly awry. The man, whose injury was captured on live television, has reported that he is okay. (Elahe Izadi)
- Sasha Obama landed her first summer gig: the First Daughter is now working the takeout window at a Martha’s Vineyard seafood restaurant, the Boston Herald reports. Job duties include working the cash register, bussing tables, and prepping the restaurant for its noontime opening.
BAD TIMING? DEBATE OVER PAYOUT TO IRAN RAGES:
-- The Wall Street Journal reports that senior Justice Department officials objected to sending a U.S. cash payment to Iran that coincided with the release of four U.S. prisoners, but objections were allegedly “overruled by the State Department.” More on the story: “The timing and manner of the payment raised alarms at the Justice Department ... Justice Department officials didn’t object to the $1.7 billion settlement, which they viewed as a bargain given decades of inflation and the circumstances of the original deal … But their concerns show that even within the Obama administration there were worries that the pallets of cash could send the wrong signal to Iran—and potentially to others—about U.S. policy when it came to hostages. Prosecutors were concerned that the U.S. would release too many Iranian convicts and drop too many pending criminal cases against people suspected of violating sanctions laws. They prevailed regarding some of the suspects—those accused or suspected of crimes of terrorism or other violence—but the objections on others were overruled, according to the people familiar with the discussions.
“[Paul Ryan] was among those who seized on the timing and cloak-and-dagger delivery method,” Carol Morello writes, “saying it proved suspicions that the Obama administration had tried to hide a payment for the four Americans …
“In fact, the money was earmarked to settle a decades-old Iranian claim on the money, plus $1.3 billion in interest. The funds were deposited by Iran before the 1979 revolution to buy U.S. military equipment, and they were frozen under President Jimmy Carter after Americans were taken hostage at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. Iran has been trying to recover the money ever since, at one point contending that it was owed $10 billion or more with accrued interest. …”
- The White House and State Department both denied the money was part of any “quid pro quo” arrangement, while others “say that the transaction is as much about perception as provable reality.” “The timing may look awkward, but on the other hand, this dispute had been festering for more than three decades, and it was good to get it resolved — and to get Jason and the others out,” said Barbara Slavin, acting director of the Future of Iran Initiative at the Atlantic Council. “Those who opposed the nuclear deal will call it ‘ransom’ and those who supported it will call it ‘compensation.’”
-- HOW IT'S PLAYING ON THE TRAIL: Trump falsely claimed he watched footage of the controversial money transfer, telling voters at a Daytona Beach rally that he laid eyes on a months-old video “recorded by the Iranian government and released to embarrass the United States.” From Jenna Johnson: "Remember this: Iran — I don't think you heard this anywhere but here — Iran provided all of that footage, the tape of taking that money off the airplane," Trump said at the rally. "Right?" “Trump provided no source for this exclusive information but described in detail what he saw in the video[:] ‘And they have a perfect tape, done by obviously a government camera, and the tape is of the people taking the money off the plane,” [he said]. ‘Right? That means that in order to embarrass us further, Iran sent us the tapes. …’”
What he was likely watching? Dark, grainy and widely-shared footage of the U.S. prisoners apparently landing in Geneva: After his remarks, The Post asked Trump’s spokespeople to clarify what Trump was talking about, emailing a link to a Fox News clip that showed the January footage from Geneva and asking if that was the video the nominee saw. “‘Yes,’ spokeswoman Hope Hicks responded in an email. ‘Merely the b-roll footage included in every broadcast.’ Hicks has yet to respond to a follow-up email asking why Trump thought the footage showed a money transfer and not the … hostage swap, and why Trump said it was recorded by the Iranian government.”
- He also said Clinton was involved, a claim The Post’s Fact Checker patently denies. (He gets four Pinnochios.) “We will leave it up to readers to decide whether the facts warrant calling this some sort of ransom payment,” Glenn Kessler writes. “But Trump is completely off-base about Clinton’s involvement." (Read more.)
Watch Trump tell attendees about the "secret" video:
He also tweeted about the situation:
Our incompetent Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, was the one who started talks to give 400 million dollars, in cash, to Iran. Scandal!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 3, 2016
Some conservatives defended Trump on this one:
Hitting Trump over Humayun Khan isn't media bias. Burying an American President paying ransom to state sponsor of terror in Iran is.— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) August 3, 2016
THE DAILY DONALD:
-- “Turmoil in the Republican Party escalated Wednesday as party leaders, strategists and donors voiced increased alarm about the flailing state of Trump’s candidacy and fears that the presidential nominee was damaging the party with an extraordinary week of self-inflicted mistakes, gratuitous attacks and missed opportunities.” From Philip Rucker, Dan Balz and Matea Gold: “RNC Chairman Reince Priebus was described as ‘very frustrated’ with and deeply disturbed by Trump’s behavior over the past week, having run out of excuses to make on the nominee’s behalf to donors and other party leaders … Meanwhile, Trump’s top campaign advisers are struggling once again to instill discipline in their candidate, who has spent recent days lurching from one controversy to another while seemingly skipping chances to go on the offensive against … [Clinton].”
-- Top Trump allies publicly urged him to reboot, “furious” at the Republican nominee for both his continued feuding with the parents of dead Army Capt. Humayun Khan, as well as his refusal to endorse Paul Ryan and Sen. John McCain in their respective primary elections.
- Top Trump surrogate and onetime veep contender Newt Gingrich warned Trump he was in danger of “throwing away the election” and boosting Clinton’s shot at the presidency: “The current race is which of these two is the more unacceptable, because right now, neither of them is acceptable,” he said. “Trump is helping her to win by proving he is more unacceptable than she is.” He warned the mogul he only has a “matter of weeks” to reverse course: “He cannot win the presidency operating the way he is now,” he said. “She can’t be bad enough to elect him if he’s determined to make this many mistakes.”
- Gov. Chris Christie also broke with his longtime ally, telling reporters that Trump’s remarks towards the Khans were “inappropriate,” and that the two parents have the right to say “whatever they want” in light of their son’s death on the battlefield. (Politico)
- Both running-mate Mike Pence and campaign manager Paul Manafort attempted to tamp down controversy on the issue: In a split with Trump, the GOP vice presidential nominee appeared on Fox News to say he “strongly endorsed” Ryan in his primary campaign. Meanwhile, Manafort denied rumors that campaign staffers were in crisis mode. The campaign is “focused,” in “very good shape,” and “moving forward,” he said on cable news channels.
- Manafort also denied persistent rumors that Priebus, Gingrich and former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani were trying to arrange an intervention with Trump to urge him to refocus his candidacy, saying in a Fox News appearance that he knew “nothing about it.” “Not me,” Gingrich said in an email when asked if he were part of an upcoming meeting.
- The former soldier who served as Capt. Humayun Khan’s commander in Iraq defended him in a Washington Post op-ed, calling for “steady,” “empathetic” leaders that have respect for Gold Star families. “Humayun died trying to save the lives of innocent Iraqis,” he wrote. “His brave effort to approach the vehicle probably saved American lives as well.”
Amid the controversy, Trump suffered two more Republican defections: “Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), an Iraq War veteran, said on CNN that he is unlikely to vote for Trump because the nominee was ‘beginning to cross a lot of red lines of the unforgivable in politics.’” And former Montana governor and RNC chairman Marc Racicot said he will not vote for Trump. “I’m not accusing people of being appeasers, but what I am saying is that there’s a transcendent set of values throughout our history that we subscribe to above party,” Racicot said in an interview, adding that he “thinks Trump lacks those values.” (Check out the full list of Republicans who have vowed not to vote for Trump here.)
- Former Gingrich ally Vin Weber also rejected Trump’s candidacy, calling his presidential bid "a mistake of historic proportions" for the GOP. "’I won't vote for Trump,’ said Weber, who represented Minnesota in the House for 12 years beginning in the Reagan era. ‘I can't imagine I'd remain a Republican if he becomes president.’” (CNBC)
“People are more frustrated than they have been with past indiscretions,’ said Steve Duprey, a New Hampshire RNC member and confidant of both McCain and Sen. Kelly Ayotte. “People are just going, ‘Can you believe this?’ … Our nominee is losing opportunities to make the case why he should be elected instead of Mrs. Clinton and instead spending all of his time dealing with controversies of his own creation,'" Phil, Dan and Matea report.
- “’I’m pulling for him, but he’s not driving on the pavement. He’s in the ditch,’ said Henry Barbour, an RNC member and longtime strategist in Mississippi. ‘I’m frustrated. There’s time to fix it, but there’s one person who can fix it. It’s up to him.’”
“Calling Priebus ‘very frustrated,’ a knowledgeable GOP strategist said, ‘It’s the totality of the week. The whole Khan thing kicking off the week was a concern to him, and then obviously all the other smaller issues were. The [failure to endorse Ryan and McCain] was like the cherry on the cake.’”
“[Trump] seems to understand that if you produce a steady stream of sufficiently stupefying statements, there will be no time to dwell on any one of them, and the net effect on the public will be numbness and ennui,” George Will writes in his latest column. “The nation, however, is not immune to the lasting damage that is being done to it by Trump’s success in normalizing post-factual politics. It is being poisoned by the injection into its bloodstream of the cynicism required of those Republicans who persist in pretending that although Trump lies constantly and knows nothing, these blemishes do not disqualify him from being president. It has been well said that ‘sooner or later, we all sit down to a banquet of consequences.’ The Republican Party’s multicourse banquet has begun.”
-- Meanwhile, Trump tried to strike a different tone while campaigning in Florida, insisting his campaign is “doing incredibly well” and staffers are working harmoniously. From Susan Cooper Eastman and Jenna Johnson: “’So, I just want to tell you the campaign is doing really well. It's never been so well united. I would say right now it's the best in terms of being united that it's been since we began. We're doing incredibly well,’ Trump said, pointing to polls that show him tied or slightly ahead of Clinton in the battleground states of Florida and Ohio. ‘So I think we've never been this united.’”
He struck an upbeat note during the rally, focusing his ire Clinton and the Obama administration, Eastman and Johnson write. He said the U.S. has become “like a third-world nation,” accused Clinton of being "the founder of ISIS" and of creating the "mess" in Libya, and said he expects to win over Sanders supporters in November. "Wouldn't that be embarrassing?" Trump pondered. "To lose to Crooked Hillary Clinton? That would be terrible."
“Trump also warned that crowd that Clinton might appoint Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to the U.S. Supreme Court — and in doing so, repeatedly referred to Warren as ‘Pocahontas’ because of the controversy over Warren previously claiming to have Native American heritage. ‘If Hillary puts her people on the Supreme Court — okay? — like, who knows,’ Trump said. ‘Elizabeth Warren maybe will go. Maybe. Pocahontas, Pocahontas. They'll put Pocahontas. What an insult to Pocahontas, isn't it? I apologize, ladies and gentlemen, to Pocahontas. But she will put people so far left that our country will become Venezuela.’”
He also promised that once he becomes president, police officers will “no longer be shot on the job,” referencing the recent murders of on-duty police officers in Dallas and Louisiana. "We're going to make our country safe again, and we're going to make our country great again," Trump said during a Wednesday night rally. “And we're going to have law and order, and we're going to respect our police, because you have to respect our police. We're not shooting our police. It's never been so dangerous to be a policeman or woman. It's never been so dangerous." (Jenna Johnson)
- Trump acknowledged that some police officers might also need to make some changes, vowing that “police are going to be careful.” “We can’t make those mistakes … and we’re not going to make those mistakes,” he said of police violence.
-- Trump’s campaign is also expanding their media presence as they seek to stop the bleeding and drive home a consistent message. Politico reports the team is bringing in veteran ad man Larry Weitzner, who has worked with both Chris Christie and former New York Gov. George Pataki, to help with the efforts.
-- They also released fundraising numbers: Matea Gold reports Trump’s campaign raised $82 million in conjunction with the RNC during the month of July. Per the FEC filings: “… 64 million came in the form of donations contributed online and through direct mail solicitations ... Another $16 million was raised through 20 pricey fundraising events held in conjunction with the RNC. In addition, Trump personally contributed $2 million to his campaign, for a total monthly haul of $82 million.” Clinton, for comparison, pulled in $90 million alongside the DNC last month.
-- Trump’s campaign will begin its outreach to African Americans this weekend. Buzzfeed’s Darren Sands and John Stanton outline the upcoming mobilization campaign: “On Sunday, an entire Charlotte church will endorse Trump. Trump surrogates will attempt a media blitz, trying to engage black women, veterans, and leaders over the next several days, culminating in the church’s endorsement at Antioch Road to Glory International Ministries. ‘Supporting Hillary is like being with an abusive ex, one that you already know left you broken and wounded,’ reads a post on the church’s Facebook page from last month. ‘At this point, give the new guy a chance.’ The event there — ‘A Day of Endorsement’ — will feature a small group of high-profile Trump supporters: black outreach director Omarosa Manigault (an ordained minister); Trump national spokesperson Katrina Pierson; Trump surrogate Pastor Mark Burns … and Eric Trump Foundation VP Lynne Patton. And that’s how Donald Trump’s black outreach campaign will officially begin.”
-- DISPATCHES FROM THE TRAIL: The New York Times spent several weeks documenting the angry and provocative comments at Trump rallies. “… What struck us was the frequency with which some Trump supporters use coarse, vitriolic, even violent language — in the epithets they shout and chant, the signs they carry, the T-shirts they wear — a pattern not seen in connection with any other recent political candidate, in any party,” they wrote. Check out their video here.
THE DAILY HRC:
-- New York Times, “Hillary Clinton Campaign Takes First Steps in Presidential Transition,” from Amy Chozick and Julie Hirschfeld Davis: “With her party’s convention behind her, Hillary Clinton has started to officially plan for her White House transition, putting two longtime aides in charge of the effort. John D. Podesta, Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman, will serve as the president and Minyon Moore, a senior adviser, the secretary of the Clinton-Kaine Transition Fund, a nonprofit group that will oversee the effort, according to paperwork filed on Wednesday … A cadre of policy aides to Mrs. Clinton, including Ann O’Leary and Ed Meier, will also help in the transition team’s effort, which will be largely focused on administration and developing a framework for Mrs. Clinton’s policy agenda and personnel appointments.”
- The White House has been preparing for months for a smooth handover of power since January. On Monday, Obama’s chief of staff reportedly called both the Clinton and Trump campaigns to discuss the next steps in the process. Representatives from both Clinton and Trump’s campaigns were invited for transition-meeting planning, and invited to arrange formal intelligence briefings. Both teams are also now eligible to begin using GSA-provided office space in a Pennsylvania Avenue building a block from the White House for transition planning.
-- Clinton spent the day Wednesday campaigning in Colorado, zeroing in on the economy as she blasted Trump for manufacturing his products overseas. “If he wants to make America great again, he should start by making things in America - and there’s a lot he could learn by coming here,” Clinton said during a tour of the Knotty Tie company, highlighting a small business with U.S.-based operations.
-- Her visit comes as both Clinton and Trump have begun showering attention on Colorado. And both camps have warned that the state – despite Clinton’s wide lead over Trump in recent polls – is still very much in play. Abby Phillip reports: “Democrats have long hoped that they could make the state more firmly blue. Its relatively large Hispanic population, numerous college campuses and fast-growing urban centers seem to work in their favor. But the state still quietly holds onto its Wild West roots, especially when it comes to politics. Statewide and local races have swung from one party to the other in recent elections."
CNN HOSTS LIBERTARIAN "TOWN HALL":
-- Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson and running-mate William Weld touted their credentials as former governors, casting both Clinton and Trump as “polarizing” candidates that threaten to divide the country more than ever. “If either Trump or Clinton are elected, things will be more polarized than ever,” Johnson said during the event. “I think it might be refreshing to have a party that was not terribly partisan holding the White House. And we would hire the best people from the Democratic Party that we could find. The smartest people from the Republican Party that we could find. The best people of the Libertarian Party." (Politico)
- And Johnson addressed concerns that third-party voters were “wasting their votes”: “A wasted vote is a vote you don’t believe in,” he told the crowd.”
-- CNN announced it will hold a Green Party forum later this month, modeled after the “town hall” session for Johnson and Weld. In an announcement, CNN promised the likely Green ticket of Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka would "address the current state of the 2016 race and the platform of the Green Party in addition to fielding questions from voters." (David Weigel)
RYAN SUPPORTERS STRONGLY BEHIND HIM BEFORE TUESDAY PRIMARY:
-- Conservative Icon Phyllis Schlafly endorsed Paul Nehlen Wednesday, citing his preferences on immigration: "If [Ryan] can't get in line with [a] majority of the electorate on the biggest issue [immigration], he should resign and we should get someone who fulfills the wishes and the hopes of the majority who just nominated Trump," she said in an interview.
-- There’s little evidence Trump’s hostility towards Paul Ryan has affected him in his the Wisconsin Republican primary, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports. Only nine percent of Republicans in his district an unfavorable view of him in June and July surveys, while a full 84 percent said they viewed him favorably. (His district standing is similar to statewide numbers.)
- In fact, support seems to go the OTHER way, with the Journal-Sentinel’s Editorial Board calling on Ryan to disavow Trump. “He must choose his party or his principles,” the board wrote of the House speaker August 2. “The Trump candidacy cannot accommodate both.”
--And so far, Ryan’s standing among Trump supporters does not seem to have suffered, despite his previous criticisms of the GOP presidential nominee. In Marquette’s last survey taken in early July, Republican voters across the state were asked if they thought Trump or another candidate should be the party’s nominee. Among Wisconsin Republicans who backed Trump, Ryan’s rating was 80 percent. Among “anti-Trump” Republicans in the state, Ryan’s favorability rating was 74 percent. “That is not what you’d expect to see if Ryan’s disagreements with Trump were turning off Trump supporters in the party,” the Journal-Sentinel’s Craig Gilbert concludes.
- For Ryan to be truly damaged, three things would likely have to be true: “That Republican primary voters next Tuesday are a lot more pro-Trump than they were in the April presidential primary … that those primary voters are dramatically more anti-Ryan than most Republicans in Ryan’s district; and that after being very pro-Ryan for years, GOP voters have shifted sharply against the speaker since Marquette’s last poll in early July.”
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
It's Obama's birthday:
NBC made a (long) list of the things Trump has said or done in recent days:
Donald Trump in the last 24 hours (from NBC News)— Matt Mackowiak (@MattMackowiak) August 4, 2016
The Trump campaign is going after media outlets for bias:
Trump campaign finally focusing on its true opponent: The New York Times pic.twitter.com/rN6XS6OQUD— Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) August 3, 2016
The man who wrote The Art of the Deal is going after Trump on Twitter:
Trump selling copies of Art of the Deal for $184 to raise money for campaign. Isn't worth paper it's printed on. I should know: I wrote it.— Tony Schwartz (@tonyschwartz) August 2, 2016
It's worth reading this whole tweetstorm from Jeb Bush's former national security adviser about Trump and nuclear weapons:
3. When we went into ICBM training, we went through a battery of tests and interviews. Are you sane? Are you willing to turn your key?— John Noonan (@noonanjo) August 3, 2016
6. There are a hell of a lot of bad actors out there who have nukes. They are restrained only by our ability to instantly lay waste to them.— John Noonan (@noonanjo) August 3, 2016
7. The nuke triad, which Trump doesn't have a clue about, has been the single greatest contributor to global peace for decades. You heard me— John Noonan (@noonanjo) August 3, 2016
15. The power is there to kill millions. Permanently alter the geopolitical landscape. It is a sacred, sobering responsibility.— John Noonan (@noonanjo) August 3, 2016
16. Idea that nukes would be used, say over Raqqa or Mosul, simply because we have no more allies and it's a simple, easy fix is nauseating— John Noonan (@noonanjo) August 3, 2016
Clint Eastwood thinks people are too hard on Trump (read his full interview here):
Feel-good story of the day pic.twitter.com/INFMElrWsy— Patrick Svitek (@PatrickSvitek) August 4, 2016
You can now compare your hand's size to Trump's:
Oliver North raised eyebrows with this comment:
Ollie North, of Iran-Contra fame said this.— Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) August 3, 2016
Of the conspiracy to covertly arm Iran fame said this.
Could be worse. Could be selling arms to them. https://t.co/TDfJKvOWRb— daveweigel (@daveweigel) August 3, 2016
the year cognitive dissonance died https://t.co/2qIg1b6bFc— chris hooks (@cd_hooks) August 3, 2016
Susan Rice is rooting for U.S. women's soccer:
The team won its first game in Rio:
Boooooom Baaaabbbyyyy!!! One down more to go! Great win by the Gals today 💪🏼👊🏼🇺🇸⚡️🙋🏼🎉🔥. #riomode— Megan Rapinoe (@mPinoe) August 4, 2016
HOT ON THE LEFT:
"Tweet about hanging Hillary Clinton posted by Riverside County GOP,” from the Press Enterprise: “Two tweets from the official Twitter account for the Riverside County Republican Party featured illustrations of a hangman holding a noose with the words, ‘I’m Ready for Hillary,’ below. The portrait of the masked hangman features gallows with two other empty nooses in the background. The hangman wears an axe at this side and blood is visible on his shirt and apron. The tweets, [eventually taken down], were sent in response to another Twitter user who tweeted a picture of a man holding a ‘Republicans for Hillary’ sign.” The county party chairman later apologized, though he had characterized the post in an earlier email as being “nothing more than political satire.”
HOT ON THE RIGHT
UN backs secret Obama takeover of police, from Polizette: "United Nations Rapporteur Maina Kai on July 27, a representative of the U.N. Human Rights Council, who on the tail-end of touring the U.S., endorsed a little-known and yet highly controversial practice by the Justice Department to effect a federal takeover of local police and corrections departments ... the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice files a lawsuit in federal court against a city, county, or state, alleging constitutional and civil rights violations by the police or at a corrections facility ... The municipality then simply agrees to the judicial finding — without contest — and the result is a wide-reaching federal court order that imposes onerous regulations on local police."
On the campaign trail: Clinton campaigns in Las Vegas; Kaine speaks in Baltimore. Trump is in Portland, Maine; Pence stops in Raleigh, N.C. and Virginia Beach and Norfolk, Va.
At the White House: Obama holds a National Security Council Meeting on the counter-ISIL campaign, then a press conference.
On Capitol Hill: The Senate and House are out.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I think he is a showman, a pied piper, the music man,” Libertarian candidate William Weld said. “More recently, it has gotten more serious and the noun that comes to my mind is a screw loose.”
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
-- A 36-year-old Metro employee was arrested and charged for attempting to provide support to Islamic State groups. The employee, Nicholas Young, was accused of sending codes for mobile messaging cards to an undercover federal agent in the belief that they would be used by ISIS fighters overseas to communicate. His arrest marks the first time a U.S. law enforcement officer has been accused of trying to aid a terrorist group. (Rachel Weiner)
-- The Nationals beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 8-3.
-- A National Transportation Safety Board investigation into last week’s Silver Line derailment on the Metro rail found that officials may have known about problems in the area as early as 2009. (Lori Aratani)
-- A longtime film professor at the University of Virginia was arrested following allegations that he possessed child pornography. The professor, 72-year-old Walter Francis Korte, Jr., was placed on administrative leave. (Moriah Balingit)
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
Watch highlights from U.S. women's soccer's first win in Rio (click below):
Jimmy Fallon walked through the pros and cons of holding the Olympics there:
Can the GOP dump Trump?
Pence praised McCain's leadership while campaigning in Arizona:
Watch Trump call Clinton "the founder of ISIS:"
Ryan's primary challenger used a man as his podium:
Trump opened money he said a Gold Star family gave him before his speech:
A D.C. transit police office was accused of trying to help ISIS:
The bones of a Smithsonian scientist are still there -- learn why here:
Here's rare video of an eagle attacking an osprey nest:
Finally, GOP strategist Liz Mair called Trump a "loudmouth d--k" live on CNN (click to watch):