Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and his wife celebrate an endorsement last month from a union that had previously backed his Democratic rival. (Alex Brandon/AP)

THE BIG IDEA: In all but one of this year’s Senate races, the Republican incumbent is meaningfully outperforming Donald Trump in the polls.

An NBC-WSJ-Marist poll that was conducted last month on the eve of the conventions found that both the presidential race and the Senate race in Ohio were tied.

A fresh version of the poll, released last night, showed that Hillary Clinton has opened a five-point lead over Trump among registered voters in Ohio. At the same time, Republican Sen. Rob Portman — who kept his distance from Trump during the convention in Cleveland — now leads by five points over Democratic challenger Ted Strickland.

That remarkable 10-point spread is quite unusual compared to recent elections, which have become increasingly nationalized.

It’s just the latest data point in a stream of public opinion research that has given Mitch McConnell hope he can keep his job as Senate majority leader.

A Suffolk poll last week showed Clinton winning Florida by six points even as Republican Sen. Marco Rubio led his likely Democratic challenger by 13 points (a 19-point spread). Quinnipiac and Marist surveys last month also showed a 10-point spread in Rubio’s favor.

-- I reviewed three dozen surveys conducted since late June across the 11 states that will determine control of the upper chamber. On average, the Republican incumbent has outperformed Trump by eight points. (This includes states that are likely holds for the GOP, such as Iowa, where Clinton leads by four points but Sen. Chuck Grassley is up 10 points.)

-- There’s a magic number – different in each state – at which the Republican incumbent can afford for Trump to lose his or her state. If Trump loses by any more than that, the senator will lose too. If The Donald’s support proves as durable as The Post’s latest national poll suggests (see Monday’s 202) then some vulnerable members could probably find a way to survive.

Donald Trump waves to the crowd as he arrives for a rally at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington yesterday. (Evan Vucci/AP)

-- In some cases, the Republican senator trails — but there’s statistically significant separation with the GOP nominee. Pennsylvania, for example, underscores how problematic it is if the bottom falls out under Trump.

Clinton expanded her lead in Pennsylvania from nine points to 11 points over the past month, according to a fresh NBC-WSJ-Marist poll. Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, meanwhile, trails Democratic challenger Katie McGinty by just four points, which is just outside the margin of error. So Toomey’s support is seven points higher than Trump’s, but that’s not enough…

A separate Susquehanna survey that was in the field last week put Clinton up 10 points and McGinty up two points, which is within the margin of error.

In New Hampshire, a WBUR-MassInc poll last week showed Trump down 15 points and Sen. Kelly Ayotte down 10 points.

-- The one exception is Wisconsin, where Trump and Sen. Ron Johnson are consistently running pretty much even and their fortunes seem linked. Johnson is considered the underdog against Russ Feingold, whom he toppled in the 2010 tea party wave.

Bill Clinton and Bob Dole debate in October 1996. (Steven Jaffe/Reuters)

-- The context: Split-ticket voting has become very rare over the past half century. In only one presidential election since 1960 have more than 10 percent of voters cast votes for the Democrat in the presidential race and the Republican in the congressional race. That was 1996, when many Republicans ditched Bob Dole in the final weeks and said their Democratic rivals would give Bill Clinton “a blank check.” Even then, only 13 percent supported Clinton and a Republican.

Republican operatives love to talk about how Dean Heller won in Nevada even as Mitt Romney lost the state by 6.5 points. That really is the exception more than the rule, and Heller — appointed to the seat — won by just 12,000 votes against a deeply flawed Democrat.

-- So why might this year be different?

-- Trump is not seen as a conventional Republican. His unorthodox views and approach to campaigning might make voters more willing than usual to distinguish between the top of the ticket and down-ballot races.

-- The better known a Republican is, the more insulated he or she is from Trump. Take John McCain. It’s harder to portray him as a rubber stamp for Trump because he’s a national figure with the name ID that comes from being a senator for more than three decades and being his party’s presidential nominee in 2008. But, if there’s historic Latino turnout to vote against Trump, it may not matter.

Remember that in 1980, Sen. George McGovern — eight years after being the Democratic nominee for president — lost by 19 points because of anti-Jimmy Carter headwinds. (Reagan carried South Dakota by 29 points.)

Someone like Johnson in Wisconsin is not nearly as well defined as Rubio in Florida, which makes it easier for Democrats to link him with Trump. (No one in Florida thinks Marco and “small hands” Donald are close.…)

Hillary Clinton tours Borinquen Medical Center in Miami yesterday. The facility serves the area identified by the CDC as where the Zika virus is being spread by mosquitoes. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

-- Hillary Clinton is badly underwater, too. We’re trying to be careful about false equivalency, but a plurality of voters see this as a lesser-of-two-evils election.

Those new NBC-WSJ-Marist polls that show Clinton up in Ohio and Pennsylvania also show her to be very unpopular. In Ohio, only 36 percent view her positively and 60 percent see her negatively. In an ordinary year, being 24 points underwater would be disastrous. But Trump is her saving grace. He’s viewed positively by just 31 percent and negatively by 62 percent. In Pennsylvania, Clinton’s fav/unfav is 43/53. Trump’s is 31/63.

Republicans outside groups are closely monitoring the polls to decide to what extent they should run ads that say something like “Sen. X will be a check and balance on Clinton and Trump” — recognizing that both are unpopular.

-- Conventional wisdom among most Republican strategists is that Sen. Mark Kirk will very likely lose in deep-blue Illinois (even though the most recent polls show him outperforming Trump by 15 points and 17 points) and Johnson will probably lose in Wisconsin. Assuming Democrats get those two, Chuck Schumer needs to find two (and possibly three) more pickups to become majority leader. (It depends on whether Tim Kaine or Mike Pence is the tie-breaking vote.) Democrats must also hold onto the Nevada seat opening up with Harry Reid’s retirement, and this race remains competitive.

-- And Trump’s feebleness is creating fresh opportunities for Democrats to expand the map. Remember how Democrat Evan Bayh jumped into the Indiana Senate race last month only because he was confident he could win. Sparse polling has suggested that he’s ahead.

The Clinton campaign’s advantages on fundraising, combined with a superior get-out-the-vote operation, allow her to run what football fans know as the spread offense. She’s even bringing on field staff and planning to go on the air in Arizona and Georgia, states that were not initially budgeted for, John Wagner and Ed O'Keefe report. (Tim Kaine is even making campaign appearances in Texas today!) The goal is to force Trump to spend money and time defending what should be safe red states while also benefiting down-ballot Democrats.

-- This is why Republican senators find themselves repeating the serenity prayer a lot these days: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” It is also why they are reluctant to throw Trump under the bus. If he tanks, they tank too.

A bunch of GOP Senate candidates were favored to win at this point in 2012 but wound up losing because they ran bad campaigns and made unforced errors, including Tommy Thompson in Wisconsin, Rick Berg in North Dakota, Todd Akin in Missouri and Richard Mourdock in Indiana.

The members who always knew they’d have tough races in 2016 (Portman, Ayotte, Toomey, etc.) appear to be running sophisticated, tactically-sound campaigns that could make the difference for them in a tight presidential race. But Trump keeps sucking up the oxygen and no one knows what will be his next headache-inducing gaffe. So how much their fates are tied to his remains a known unknown.

-- Correction: William Jennings Bryan was commonly known as "The Boy Orator of the Platte,” not “The Boy Wonder...," as I wrote in yesterday's edition.

Welcome to the Daily 202, PowerPost's morning newsletter.

Written with Breanne Deppisch (@breanne_dep) and contributions from Elise Viebeck (@eliseviebeck)

Sign up to receive the newsletter.

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:

Paul Ryan celebrates inside the Janesville Armory last night. (Anthony Wahl/AP)

RYAN ROMPS: 

-- Paul Ryan demolished Trump-inspired primary challenger Paul Nehlen last night. With all the precincts reporting, Ryan got 84.1 percent (57.391 votes) to Nehlen's 15.9 percent (10,852 votes.) Here are the four most interesting pieces of analysis that posted overnight about the results:

-- “For Ryan’s critics, the speaker’s victory represented an opportunity lost,” Robert Costa writes from Janesville, Wisconsin. “Though they have long acknowledged that Nehlen’s insurgency was more quixotic than competitive, they had hoped that he would have come closer than he did, believing that a strong finish would perhaps show Republicans nationally that the party’s Trump-aligned bloc was gaining. In particular, this rowdy branch of the GOP — a constellation of populist right-wing websites, pundits and strategists — wanted to make a statement on illegal immigration, an issue they see as central to Trump’s success and mishandled by Ryan, who has encouraged immigration reform. Nehlen, 47, presented them with a ripe if imperfect vessel: an unpolished newcomer who shared their hard-line views … Ryan’s celebration will be brief, with the skirmish only the latest in this tempest of a year for a Republican Party churning between Ryan’s traditional conservatism and Trump’s flared populism.”

-- “The outcome was an affirmation of Ryan's home-state popularity within his own party," says the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Craig Gilbert“It had been 42 years since a Wisconsin congressman lost a party primary, and Ryan’s consistent strength among Republican voters in Wisconsin made him a very unlikely candidate to repeat that rare feat. But Trump’s muddled intervention in the race last week introduced a possible wild card into an otherwise low-profile campaign … briefly [threatening] to turn the Ryan race into a proxy war between the country’s two most powerful Republicans."

-- “The outcome shows while Trump is now the standard-bearer of the GOP the party, in some parts of the country — like Ryan’s southeast Wisconsin district — Ryan’s brand of traditional conservatism still reigns supreme,” explains Politico’s Rachel Bade. “Speaking to reporters after the win in his hometown of Janesville, Wis., Ryan spoke obliquely of the differences between his own political style and that of Trump and Nehlen. The speaker said he aims to lead with ‘hope, not fear’ and by seeking ‘political leadership that is inclusive, not divisive.’ Though he didn't name the GOP nominee or his primary rival, his meaning was clear.”

-- Ryan learned three lessons from Eric Cantor’s loss, according to National Review’s Tim Alberta“He Didn’t Raise His Opponent’s Profile … He Couldn’t Be Cast as a Creature of Washington … He Wasn’t Hurt by His Immigration Stance.”

Sue Minter celebrates in Burlington Vt., last night after winning a three-way Democratic primary in the governor's race. She will face Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Scott in November. (Brian Jenkins/The Burlington Free Press via AP)

-- There were also primaries in three other states. Here are the results that matter:

-- Whither the revolution? The candidate who reached hardest for the Bernie Sanders mantle LOST in the three-way Democratic primary to be the next governor of VERMONT. Sue Minter, a former head of the state transportation agency, beat former Google executive Matt Dunne and ex-state Sen. Peter Galbraith. From the Burlington Free Press: “Dunne has portrayed himself as taking up the mantle of [Sanders]. On Election Day afternoon, he brought Sanders' former presidential campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, to Burlington's City Hall Park for a get-out-the-vote rally. Supporters like City Council President Jane Knodell and Rights and Democracy Executive Director James Haslam praised Dunne's early support of Sanders. But Sanders himself did not endorse Dunne, though he endorsed several other candidates, from Chittenden County state Sen. David Zuckerman, running for lieutenant governor, to Burlington Rep. Chris Pearson, running for state senate. … Dunne's campaign stumbled the week leading up to the election. He lost the support of prominent climate change activist Bill McKibben, who switched his support to Minter after Dunne said as governor, he would do everything in his power to stop wind projects in towns that voted against them."

-- Minnesota, a land of tolerance, once again makes history: Neighborhood activist Ilhan Omar is poised to become the nation’s first Somali-American legislator next year after she toppled an entrenched incumbent state representative in a Democratic primary. "Born in Somalia, Omar, 33, and her family escaped civil war and lived for four years in a Kenyan refugee camp before ultimately moving to the Somali-American neighborhood of Cedar-Riverside, where she has lived for nearly two decades and is currently director of policy initiatives at Women Organizing Women," the Star Tribune reports. "I pledge to represent you with integrity and humility,” she said, choking up and vowing to be a “progressive champion.”

-- Also in Minnesota, longtime conservative talk radio personality Jason Lewis won a four-way GOP primary to replace retiring GOP Rep. John Kline. He'll face Democrat Angie Craig in what should be one of the country's marquee House races. It happens to be the congressional district where I grew up... (Star Tribune‎)

In April 2015, a protestor faces police using smoke grenades and pepper balls to enforce a curfew in Baltimore. (Matt Rourke/AP)

-- The Justice Department will today issue a scathing report of the Baltimore Police Department, saying cops have engaged in years of “racially discriminatory policing” targeted at black residents and “routinely” conduct unconstitutional stops, searches and arrests of African Americans. The 163-page report -- which will be officially unveiled at Baltimore City Hall in a few hours -- comes as part of an ongoing federal probe into the death of Freddie Gray, who died after sustaining injuries in police custody last year, Peter Hermann, Lynh Bui and Matt Zapotosky report. “Civil rights investigators declare that a ‘legacy of zero tolerance enforcement’ that started in 1999 and officially ended a decade ago ‘continues to drive’ the policing strategy of the city. The federal investigators found that … the department has fostered a culture in which complaints against police are often ignored. ... Some people were stopped simply because police perceived them as disrespectful.” (Read choice excerpts from the report here.)

GET SMART FAST:​​

  1. U.S Special Operations troops have for the first time begun providing “direct, on-the-ground support” to fighters battling ISIS in Libya, Missy Ryan and Sudarsan Raghavan report, coordinating American airstrikes and providing intelligence information as they seek to oust the group from an Islamic State stronghold. The expanded role follows President Obama’s decision earlier this month to begin regular airstrikes against militants in Sirte, the “de facto capital” of ISIS in North Africa.
  2. A federal judge upheld Rod Blagojevich’s 14-year prison sentence for public corruption, rejecting tearful pleas in a resentencing trial for the former Illinois governor. The new trial came after a federal appeals court threw out some of his most sensational convictions, leading his legal team to seek a reduced sentence. (Susan Berger)
  3. Wikileaks announced a $20,000 reward for information surrounding the death of Seth Rich, the 27-year-old DNC staffer who was killed in a believed robbery attempt last month. The reward stoked online conspiracy theories that linked Rich to the DNC email breach, a charge which his grieving family has dismissed as bizarre and offensive. (Peter Hermann and Clarence Williams)
  4. Drinking water supplies used by more than six million Americans contain unsafe levels of chemicals that are potentially linked to “serious health problems,” according to new Harvard University research. Long-term exposure to the chemicals, which are widely used in products such as non-stick cooking pans and firefighting foam, have been linked to increased risks of kidney cancer, thyroid problems and hormone disruption. (Brady Dennis)
  5. Embattled UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi resigned Tuesday, amid allegations that she misused university funds to change negative web search results. Her ousting comes after a Sacramento Bee report from earlier this year, saying the university had spent $175,000 to hire a to scrub images of a 2011 pepper spray incident from social media. (Sacramento Bee)
  6. A team of Berlin-based Syrian refugees are building an app to ease the plight of incoming asylum seekers. The migrants are learning code in order to build the app, which will help migrants navigate German bureaucracy and apply for social benefits and healthcare. (Stephanie Kirchner)
  7. Chipotle was ordered to pay $550,000 to a former D.C. employee after a jury ruled that the woman had been discriminated against, and eventually terminated, for being pregnant. (Abha Bhattarai)
  8. Turkish President Recep Erdogan met with Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg, their first sit-down since Turkish fighter jets shot down a Russian warplane over Syria last fall. The two leaders pledged to restore economic relations, with Putin confirming he would phase out Turkish trade sanctions “step by step.” (Andrew Roth and Erin Cunningham)
  9. Bernie purchased a summer home in the Champlain Islands, scooping up a $600,000, four-bedroom beachfront property overlooking the water. The senator already owns two houses in Vermont and another in D.C. (Seven Days)
  10. The Red Sox canceled a David Ortiz bobblehead giveaway hours before their game last night after the 15,000 figurines were deemed racially offensive. (Boston Globe)
  11. A team of John Hopkins engineering students have developed the first high-heeled prosthetic, helping to remove barriers to stylish footwear among women who have lost their legs or feet.  (Andrea K. McDaniels)
USA Women gymnasts celebrate after winning Gold in Rio. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

DAY FOUR IN RIO:

-- “With back-to-back-to-back routines of daring tumbling and delightful dance, the U.S. women claimed their third team gold in the past six Summer Olympics, finishing with 184.897 points — 8.209 points ahead of Russia’s 176.688,” Liz Clarke reports. “It was the largest margin of victory in an Olympic women’s team final since the 1960 Games in Rome, where the Soviet Union defeated Czechoslovakia by 8.997 points.”

  • “In the lead, they moved to uneven bars. At 4 feet 8, Biles isn’t ideally suited to the apparatus but was solid. Next up was Douglas, who’s five inches taller. She delivered beautifully, with powerful release moves and lovely extension. Kocian then displayed the virtuosity that clinched her spot on the team.”
  • “From there, they moved to the balance beam … Hernandez was a special delight, despite a few balance-checks — so stylish in her movement, so committed to each turn and tumbling pass.”
  • Then, it was onto the springy tumbling mat: “… Hernandez went first. The crowd loved her music; they loved her, as she pranced and danced with the frivolity of a child showing off in the back yard …  Raisman, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist on floor exercise, staged a more mature routine with a veteran’s command … Biles brought the arena to life with the samba flavor of a routine she clearly loves.  And the crowd was still cheering as Biles bounded off the mat and disappeared into the outstretched arms of her U.S. teammates, gold medalists all.”

-- Michael Phelps won the 200-meter butterfly and the 4x200-meter freestyle relay one hour later, adding gold medals number 20 and 21 to his collection. Phelps anchored the freestyle relay alongside teammates Conor Dwyer, Townley Haas and Ryan Lochte, who ran the first legs.

-- Meanwhile, Katie Ledecky captured her second gold in the 200 freestyle, narrowly holding off Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom over the final lap to finish in 1:53.73 and win the gold medal by 35 hundredths of a second. “That was the closest I’ve ever come to throwing up in the middle of a race,” Ledecky told NBC afterwards. (Dave Sheinin)

-- Defending gold medalist Serena Williams lost in the 16th round of the tennis tournament in Rio, falling to 20th-ranked Elina Svitolina of Ukraine, 6-4, 6-3. (Des Bieler)

-- The water in Rio’s Olympic diving pool turned an inexplicable, discomforting shade of GREEN. Officials said there were “no risks for the athletes” and the divers, for their part, didn’t seem to mind. (Kelyn Soong)

-- Patriots safety Nate Ebner, competing on the US rugby team, became as the first active NFL player to ever compete in the Summer Olympics.

-- An Olympic volunteer used the festivities to propose to her girlfriend, a member of Brazil’s rugby team. Though her team finished in ninth place, the player said she feels like a winner. (Marissa Payne)

-- Three reporters suffered minor injuries last night after a bus shuttling journalists apparently came under fire. Windows on the vehicle were broken, though it is unclear whether the damage was caused by gunshots or someone throwing stones. Authorities are investigating the attack. (Mark Giannotto)

-- Meanwhile, Brazil’s Senate formally voted to move forward with the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff. Lawmakers voted 59 to 21 to indict Roussef for allegedly manipulating government accounts and using improper loans to fund popular social programs. The trial will be held by the end of the month. (Paul Schemm)

Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Fayetteville, N.C. (AP/Evan Vucci)

THE 2016 NARRATIVE:

-- “Trump needs a miracle to win,” handicapper Stu Rothenberg writes in his column for PowerPost: “A dispassionate examination of the data, combined with a coldblooded look at the candidates, the campaigns and presidential elections, produces only one possible conclusion: Clinton will defeat Trump in November, and the margin isn’t likely to be as close as Barack Obama’s victory over Mitt Romney. … New information could change voters’ impressions, but the attention both candidates have received makes it difficult for either camp to move the race from where it now stands. … Most elections are won or lost in the late summer, not in October. More importantly, Trump never did the groundwork in the spring and summer to help him remake the race in the fall.”

-- “Trump’s Support Among Republican Women Starts to Slide,” by the New York Times's Michael Barbaro and Amy Chozick: “Of all the tribulations facing him, perhaps none is stirring as much anxiety inside his campaign as the precipitous decline of support from Republican women. ...  In a striking series of defections, high-profile Republican women are abandoning decades of party loyalty and vowing to oppose Mr. Trump, calling him emotionally unfit for the presidency and a menace to national security. ... Democrats acknowledge that, in the end, Mr. Trump may repel Republican women as much as Mrs. Clinton attracts them. ‘I really think it’s fueled by an anti-Trump vote,' said Tracy Sefl, a Democratic strategist. ‘But that’s fine with me, and I’m pretty sure that’s fine with the campaign.’”

The most important number in the NYT story: Four years ago, about 10 million more women voted than men.

-- Speaking of Republican women: Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski said she still does not know if she will vote for Trump. The moderate told the AP she will “continue to speak out on issues” where she disagrees with him. "I’ve got a few months to listen, as other Americans are, to what is laid down in terms of policy, and we’ll figure it out,” she said. Murkowski, like Susan Collins, said she will NOT vote for Clinton.

-- Polling in the key swing states suggests that the race might be closer in the battlegrounds than it is nationally. Quinnipiac polls show Florida basically tied (46-45), with Clinton up 4 in Ohio (49-45) and 10 in Pennsylvania (52-42).

-- But Clinton continues to crush Trump in the air war, per NBC’s Mark Murray: "Nearly $100 million has been spent on general-election TV advertisements in the presidential race since the primary season ended, but Trump's campaign still hasn't spent a single cent on one of them. Clinton's presidential campaign has now spent $52 million on ads, and pro-Clinton outside groups have chipped in an additional $39 million, according to ad-spending data from Advertising Analytics. By comparison, the Trump campaign itself has spent $0, with pro-Trump outside groups adding $8 million over the airwaves. In total, that's $91 million for Team Clinton, versus $8 million for Team Trump. What's more, the Trump campaign ($0) is also being outspent on ads by Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson ($15,000) and the Green Party's Jill Stein ($189,000). ... This lack of advertising is all more striking given ... the recent influx of campaign contributions he's reportedly raked in."

-- The RNC continues to hemorrhage employees because of Trump --> “For some young staff members, the party's embrace of its nominee is a ‘deal breaker,’” by Politico's Daniel Lippman: “In recent months, deputy press secretary James Hewitt, spokesman Fred Brown, director of Hispanic media Ruth Guerra, and research analysts Lars Trautman and Colin Spence have all left the RNC with Trump as one of the reasons for their resignations, according to sources familiar with their decisions. At least three other staff members have also left the RNC with opposition to Trump as a contributing factor, according to multiple sources. ... Among Republican consultants, anti-Trump sentiment outweighs the unwritten prohibition against party staffers job-hopping so close to a presidential election, as some firms and conservative political organizations expressed a willingness to welcome RNC refugees.”

-- The Clinton campaign this morning unveiled an official “Republicans for Hillary” group, part of the continuing effort to highlight GOP defections from Trump.

GAFFE OF THE DAY .... SO MUCH FOR THAT LATEST "RESET":

-- Trump stoked controversy at a Wilmington, N.C., rally when he said “Second Amendment people” could provide a check on Clinton should she be elected president and appoint an anti-gun Supreme Court justice. From Sean Sullivan and Isaac Stanley-Becker: “The mogul said that Clinton ‘wants to abolish, to essentially abolish the Second Amendment,’ a charge she has flatly denied. He said that if Clinton becomes president, she could appoint judges who would leave Americans ‘nearly helpless’ on this front.”

"By the way, and if she gets to pick — if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks," Trump warned. "Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don't know." It was unclear whether Trump was suggesting gun owners use their weapons against judges or a sitting president, or inciting other forms of action.

-- His comments drew a swift rebuke from Clinton’s camp: "This is simple — what Trump is saying is dangerous," campaign manager Robby Mook said in a statement. "A person seeking to be the President of the United States should not suggest violence in any way." (Abby Phillip)

-- Trump tried to clean up his latest unforced error by going on Fox News last night, agreeing with host Sean Hannity that his comments were meant to mobilize supporters ahead of the general election. “There can be no other interpretation," he said. 

-- “A bloody line has been crossed that cannot be ignored,” Joe Scarborough writes in a Post op-ed, urging the Republican Party to “dump Trump”: “At long last, [Trump] has left the Republican Party few options but to act decisively and get this political train wreck off the tracks before something terrible happens.”

-- The NRA responded by announcing a $3 million ad buy in support of Trump, attacking Clinton as an “out of touch” hypocrite. The spot – which calls Clinton ‘out of touch’ for living under Secret Service protection while promoting gun restrictions – is the biggest single ad buy for Trump this cycle and it brings the NRA’s total spending this cycle to around $6 million. (Politico)

Hillary Clinton and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz visit the congresswoman's campaign office in Davie, Florida. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

THE DAILY HILLARY:

-- Clinton embraced ousted DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz during a visit to her district. Sanders supports the congresswoman's primary challenger, so Clinton visited her campaign office to give a pep talk. Wasserman Schultz showed no hard feelings towards Clinton after being forced to step down from her position last month, pledging to "help carry the state of Florida and will carry you on the shoulders of Florida voters all the way to the White House.” (Anne Gearan)

-- Campaigning in Florida, HRC urged Republican lawmakers to take emergency action to combat the spread of the Zika virus, accusing Trump of not taking the growing public-health crisis seriously. "I am very disappointed that the Congress went on recess before actually agreeing on what they would do to put the resources into this fight," Clinton said after a tour of a Miami health clinic. "I would very much urge the leadership of Congress to call people back for a special session and get a bill passed." (Anne Gearan)

-- “From press paranoia to affairs: A Hillary confidante’s letters reveal a window into her friend’s life,” by Isaac Stanley-Becker: “Hillary Clinton was first lady when an influential legal journal featured her in its spring volume, drawing tributes from such luminaries as Elie Wiesel ... But the most intimate portrait came from Diane Blair, a woman Clinton befriended in Arkansas … Through 30 years of friendship, Blair knew more than perhaps anyone about Clinton’s private struggles as she became the governor’s wife, moved to the White House and transformed herself into the most famous woman in American politics.  Blair never sought the limelight, but she became one of Clinton’s closest confidantes as the first lady wrestled with what she saw as a legion of political detractors and a hostile press. Clinton turned to Blair with her fears that her husband was ‘ruining himself’ and the presidency because he had no strategy to fight back at his enemies. Blair, who died of cancer in 2000, left behind a written record of their friendship that today offers one of the most comprehensive portraits of [Clinton]."

-- New York Times, “Emails Renew Questions About Clinton Foundation and State Dept. Overlap,” by Eric Lichtblau: “A new batch of State Department emails released Tuesday showed the close and sometimes overlapping interests between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department when Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state. The documents raised new questions about whether the charitable foundation worked to reward its donors with access and influence at the State Department, a charge that Mrs. Clinton has faced in the past and has always denied. In one email exchange, for instance, an executive at the Clinton Foundation in 2009 sought to put a billionaire donor in touch with the United States ambassador to Lebanon because of the donor’s interests there. In another email, the foundation appeared to push aides to Mrs. Clinton to help find a job for a foundation associate. Her aides indicated that the department was working on the request.

-- Bloomberg, “Clinton Campaign Looks to Skirt Texting Regulations to Reach Voters,” by Sasha Issenberg: “There are lots of ways campaigns have to annoy voters, but one is, on its face, illegal. Federal regulations prohibiting the use of an automated dialer to interact with cell phones have long ensured that campaigns … steer clear of unsolicited text messages, despite their obvious promise as a tool for political communication. That is why, within the swelling field offices Hillary Clinton’s campaign has spread across battleground states, there is uncommon enthusiasm for a new homegrown software product called Megaphone, which permits the deceptively straightforward task of managing individual conversations with supporters by text message and e-mail. [Now] Clinton targeters can isolate voters they want to reach with an individualized text message the same way they would select them to be contacted by a phone bank or by a canvasser—most likely for get-out-the-vote nudges close to Election Day. “It blurs the line between digital and grassroots field,’” said former Obama field director Jeremy Bird.

-- Three Democratic members of Congress called on GOP lawmakers to formally investigate whether Trump broke any laws when he encouraged Russia to look for Clinton’s missing emails. ““We request that you hold a hearing to determine whether there are appropriate federal criminal statutes and federal court jurisdiction to address individuals’ actions that encourage foreign actors to carry out cyberattacks against U.S. citizens and influence or manipulate our electoral process,” Reps. Patrick Murphy (Fla.), Andre Carson (Ind.) and Eric Swalwell (Calif.) wrote in a letter to the House Judiciary Committee. It is unlikely that House Republicans will respond to the request. (Karoun Demirjian)

THE DAILY DONALD:

-- For Trump to win North Carolina, he has to run up the score in outlying eastern areas that have been losing population and influence. Isaac Stanley-Becker and John Wagner note Trump's two rallies yesterday were on the outskirts of eastern North Carolina, where tobacco was once king and conservative Democrats determined statewide elections: “Trump’s trip illustrated both his challenge and opportunity in the Tarheel State, where booming cities have given Democrats new hope for a win — but where deeply conservative swaths, including the eastern third of the state, remain fertile ground for Republicans. The hardscrabble [eastern] region, which in some pockets has lost population as the state’s major cities have boomed, remains home to many residents who feel the economy has forgotten them, who are wary of a wave of Latino immigration and who take pride in the region’s military bases. But the Clinton campaign is banking more on longer-term trends in the state that it sees working in its favor: an influx of college-educated professionals along an urban and suburban corridor that stretches from Raleigh to Charlotte, and an uptick in the African American share of the electorate that is part of the legacy of President Obama’s campaigns.” 

-- Trump is delivering a closed-door speech to a group of influential conservative pastors in Orlando on Thursday in an effort to improve his standing with evangelicals, Tom Hamburger reports. Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. said he expected Trump to speak to the pastors afternoon about the importance of repealing a law that restricts churches and other tax-exempt groups from actively engaging in electoral politics.

-- What would a Trump presidency look like? Politico’s Shane Goldmacher looks back at Trump’s 100 days as the presumptive and then official Republican nominee to preview what we could expect if he's in the White House. “There were recurring themes: staff turmoil and turnover, talk of resets followed by relapses … flirtations with Russia, and uncomfortable associations with white nationalism. For much of the time, Trump lurched from controversy to controversy, lighting a new one as the final embers of the last burned low. What also emerges from this 100-day review is a Trump outlook less tethered to the traditional left-right ideological spectrum and more to his binary view of winners and losers, the weak and the strong. He praises foreign strongmen like [Saddam Hussein] and [Vladimir Putin], and casts as weak his political opponents. It's one of the reasons Trump seems never to back down, no matter the cost to himself, dragging out controversies around a judge’s ethnic heritage (Days 32-36), the use of a Jewish star atop a pile of money (Days 61-65), and his feud with the Muslim-American family of a fallen U.S. soldier (Days 87-92). By far, though, the hardest part of tracking Trump is simply keeping up."

Carly Fiorina campaigns as Ted Cruz's running-mate in April. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)

-- Looking past November --> “Carly Fiorina’s quiet outreach to state party chairs in recent days has top Republicans speculating that she’s laying the groundwork for a RNC chairmanship bid," Politico’s Alex Isenstadt reports. Fiorina’s advisers have reached out to more than a dozen state parties telling them that the former GOP presidential hopeful is prepared to help in ‘any way,’ offering up her personal phone number, and informing them that she would like to connect with their respective state party chairperson. She is expected to spend much of August on a cross-country blitz … [co-hosting] an event in Virginia with Ed Gillespie, a former RNC chair who is running for governor in 2017.” She also plans to attend GOP events in Colorado, Louisiana, and Michigan."

Fiorina will face competition if she gets into the race to replace Reince Priebus: "Arizona GOP chair Robert Graham and Matt Pinnell, a former Oklahoma GOP chair who now serves as the RNC’s national state party director, are almost certain to challenge her for the post as well." And, if Trump wins, he gets to pick his own chair.

SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:

— ZIGNAL VISUAL: The online conversation about Trump was so innocuous yesterday morning:

Then he opened his mouth:

The Secret Service tweeted this:

A guy sitting behind Trump on stage registered shock -- he looked at his wife, who was laughing:

Here's what some Republicans are saying about Trump stepping in it:

Ted Cruz's former communications director:

Dems piled on:

And from others -- this is so, so true:

From Martin Luther King Jr.'s daughter:

The NRA embraced the controversy:

Members of the media are criticizing Hannity for his approach to interviewing Trump:

This flashback to Trump's tweets after the 2012 election offer a troubling taste (if you care about the legitimacy of democratic institutions) of how he'll respond if he loses in November:

SAD READ FROM ELSEWHERE: 

-- "2,000 leaked reports reveal scale of abuse of children in Australian offshore detention," by The Guardian: “Incident reports from Australia’s detention camp for asylum seekers on the remote Pacific island of Nauru – totaling more than 8,000 pages – are published by the Guardian today. The Nauru files set out as never before the assaults, sexual abuse, self-harm attempts, child abuse and living conditions endured by asylum seekers held by the Australian government, painting a picture of routine dysfunction and cruelty." Most of the cases involve children, despite children making up just 18 percent of the population. “In the files there are seven reports of sexual assault of children, 59 reports of assault on children, 30 of self-harm involving children and 159 of threatened self-harm involving children. ... The findings come just weeks after the brutal treatment of young people in juvenile detention in the Northern Territory was exposed, leading to the Australian prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, announcing a wide-ranging public inquiry.”

DAYBOOK:

On the campaign trail: Clinton campaigns in Des Moines, Iowa. Trump is in Abingdon, Va., and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Pence spends the day in Dayton and Cambridge, Ohio.

At the White House: Obama is in Martha's Vineyard, Mass. Biden is in Southampton, N.Y.

On Capitol Hill: The Senate and House are out.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: 

Carl Icahn said “the Archie Bunkers of the world" will support Trump because of his promises to cut taxes. "If he sticks with that economic theme, he should definitely win hands down, because I don't know why you wouldn't vote for him,” the billionaire told CNBC.

NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:

-- “Surprise, surprise — heat and humidity building once again,” the Capital Weather Gang forecasts. “It’s a vintage August day in the DMV. Skies are partly cloudy and the humidity is thick. Meanwhile a light wind from the south-southwest helps afternoon highs climb to the low to middle 90s. Only a slight chance of a passing shower or thundershower.”

-- The Nationals lost to the Cleveland Indians 3-1.

-- Prince George’s Hospital Center has temporarily shuttered its neonatal intensive care unit after potentially deadly bacteria was was discovered in the nasal swabs of three infants. (Arelis R. Hernández)

-- Montgomery County police arrested a man and a 19-year-old woman on human trafficking charges after a 15-year-old girl came forward to say she was forced into prostitution for more than two weeks in January. Police are concerned that the two may have trafficked other juveniles. Find out more here. (Justin Wm. Moyer)

VIDEOS OF THE DAY:

At a beer festival in China, 1,007 robots danced their way to a new world record for the most robots dancing simultaneously:

The mother of the crying baby who was reportedly "booted" from Trump's rally defended the candidate and said the press reports were wrong:

Team USA gave advice on succeeding:

Why is cupping popular among Olympic athletes?