Hillary Clinton takes a plant tour in Des Moines yesterday. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

THE BIG IDEA: 

Hillary Clinton is trying to win a mandate to enact an ambitious economic agenda. During a rally in Des Moines yesterday afternoon, the Democratic nominee said she could create 10.4 million new jobs as president. “In the first hundred days of my administration, we will make the biggest investment in new jobs, good-paying jobs, since World War II,” she said at a high school. “How are we going to do that? Well, we’re going to invest in infrastructure — our roads, our bridges, our tunnels, our ports, our airports. … We are going to do water systems. We’re going to do sewer systems. We are also going to build a modern electric grid.”

Clinton added that she’s “going to raise the national minimum wage” and “make sure that women finally get equal pay.”

“What I believe,” she said, “is that … we need a campaign that lays out the agenda so people can vote for it, so that when I’m elected, I can tell the Congress, ‘This is what the people of America voted for us to do!’”

For the sake of argument, let’s just assume Clinton wins. Here are seven reasons the dynamic on Capitol Hill probably would not change much:

Paul Ryan after his Tuesday primary victory over Paul Nehlen in Wisconsin. (Anthony Wahl/The Janesville Gazette via AP)

1. Republicans are almost certain to hold the House. The tea party wing might actually wind up with more leverage, not less, after November. Paul Ryan can afford to lose 29 seats, but even a loss of 15 to 20 seats would make his job as speaker much more difficult. “That’s because his losses in November would not likely come from Freedom Caucus members in their deeply conservative districts,” Paul Kane explains in his column today. “Instead, mainstream Republicans — Ryan’s most loyal allies — would suffer and, therefore, the Freedom Caucus’s size inside the entire Republican Conference would grow.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell went to Fancy Farm in Kentucky over the weekend. (Timothy D. Easley/AP)

2. Even in the very best case scenario for Democrats, they will wind up with no more than 53 or 54 Senate seats. That’s far short of the 60 needed to break filibusters (which Barack Obama had in 2009). Ted Cruz and other senators will continue to use this tool in order to advance their 2020 presidential ambitions.

3. Many Republicans will insist Clinton has no mandate to govern. They will try constantly to delegitimize her and do everything in their power to make sure she’s a one-term president.

Donald Trump is laying the groundwork to question the very legitimacy of the election, which is deeply troubling, but lately conservative writers are beginning to plant the seeds to argue that a Clinton victory won’t actually mean there’s any popular support for what she ran on.

The Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein argued last week, for example, that Clinton will only win because the electorate thinks Trump is “a nutcase.”

“Despite a victory, she will still remain broadly unpopular and distrusted among a public that probably won't have paid much attention to her actual policy proposals,” Klein argued. “Making the election about the implications of Trump's turbulent behavior will make it harder for Clinton to claim a policy mandate, complicating her liberal agenda as president.”

Claire McCaskill is much more likely to lose in 2018 if Clinton wins in November. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

4. As soon as this election is over, Democrats must turn their attention to protecting vulnerable incumbents in 2018. If she gets the Senate majority, the midterms could be a disaster for Clinton — just as 1994 was for her husband. With the exception of the 2002 midterms after 9/11, the president’s party always loses seats after the first two years. This time, Democratic senators will be up for reelection in red states such as Missouri, Montana, Indiana, North Dakota and West Virginia. Republicans will do everything they can to prevent those members from getting wins that they can run on.

5. Trump and Clinton are both talking a lot about “investing in infrastructure.” But there’s very little appetite in the Republican conference for this sort of spending — especially without cuts elsewhere.

One man’s “infrastructure” is another man’s “stimulus package.” Because Trump is also promising “infrastructure,” and it polls especially well with non-college-educated white men, Republicans have stuck to hitting Clinton on character and trust. But once the election is over, you can take it to the bank that they will begin messaging on Clinton’s infrastructure plan the same way they did on Obama’s stimulus package. Remember all the jokes about shovel-ready jobs? And that was in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

Cristiane Facio, a doctor and mother of two, checks a baby at a hospital in Rio. She tested positive for zika in her third trimester. Luckily, after an ultrasound, there were no symptoms of microcephaly. (Lianne Milton/Panos Pictures for The Washington Post)

6. Congress could not even pass a relatively small, emergency appropriation to fight the Zika virus after Republicans attached poison-pill riders. Keep in mind: (A) This is during an election year. (B) Republicans are fighting to save their majority. (C) There’s an outbreak in Florida, the single most important swing state. (D) There have been alarming stories about women giving birth to deformed babies. Let’s be real. If these mothers could not spur action, how will construction workers in hard hats do it?

We got a taste of what to expect from a Clinton White House in Miami on Tuesday, when the Democratic nominee criticized the GOP for not taking action on Zika. She said Congress should come back from its August recess to get something done. She sounded eerily like Obama has since 2011, trying to use the power of the bully pulpit to (unsuccessfully) press congressional Republicans to enact his priorities.

Donald Trump holds a sign during a rally yesterday in Abingdon, Va. (Evan Vucci/AP)

7. Bigger picture, and perhaps most importantly, a new president will not be able to break the gridlock that grips Washington without systemic change.

Over cocktails and coffees this August recess, lawmakers and leadership aides from the establishment wings of both parties have been buzzing about a depressing Atlantic cover story entitled: “How American politics went insane; it happened gradually — and until the U.S. figures out how to the treat the problem, it will only get worse.”

Jonathan Rauch argues that Trump didn’t cause the chaos, but the chaos caused Trump. “Our most pressing political problem today is that the country abandoned the establishment, not the other way around,” he writes. “Chaos syndrome is a chronic decline in the political system’s capacity for self-organization. It begins with the weakening of the institutions and brokers—political parties, career politicians, and congressional leaders and committees — that have historically held politicians accountable to one another and prevented everyone in the system from pursuing naked self-interest all the time. As these intermediaries’ influence fades, politicians, activists, and voters all become more individualistic and unaccountable. The system atomizes. Chaos becomes the new normal — both in campaigns and in the government itself.”

He believes demonizing and disempowering political professionals and parties is like spending decades abusing and attacking your own immune system. “Eventually, you will get sick,” Rauch writes. “Because that problem is mental, not mechanical, it really is hard to remedy.” (The piece is 29 pages printed out but quite thought provoking.  Read it here.)

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

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

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WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:

-- You really can't make this stuff up: Last night, Trump ripped into Clinton for “allowing” the father of Orlando gunman Omar Mateen to sit behind her as she delivered remarks at a Florida campaign rally earlier this week. As he spoke, sitting behind him on stage, was Mark Foley -- the disgraced ex-congressman who resigned in 2006 after exchanging sexually-explicit messages with an underage male page. 

“After Trump told the supporters seated behind him that they were ‘going to be famous’ because they would appear on TV, he turned his remarks to Seddique Mateen," Sean Sullivan reports. "‘Wasn't it terrible when the father of the animal that killed the wonderful people in Orlando was sitting with a big smile on his face right behind her?’ Trump asked the crowd. Trump argued that people attending campaign rallies in such proximity to the candidate often know the candidate. To bolster his point, he turned to the area where Foley was seated: 'How many of you people know me? A lot of you people know me, right?’ he asked. Some, including Foley, raised their hands. ‘When you get those seats you sort of know the campaign,’ Trump continued. ‘So when she said. 'Well, we didn't know,' he knew, they knew!'"

A man scales the 58-story Trump Tower in New York. (Alex Cannon/AP)

-- The NYPD captured the man who used suction cups to scale the Trump Tower, climbing nearly 20 floors as police broke windows, raised ladders and cut vents in an attempt to thwart his mission. The 20-year-old, identified as "Steve from Virginia,” was eventually grabbed by police through a window pane and pulled to safety. “I reached out, took hold of his hand, and said, ‘Sir, you need to come with me,’” NYPD Detective Christopher Williams told CBS New York after the hours-long ordeal (which was broadcast live on cable news).

  • Why he did it: The climber, in a YouTube video, identified himself as "an independent researcher" who wants to meet with Trump to discuss “an important matter.”
  • How it began: “We were in the public garden at Trump Tower when all of a sudden the guy took off his basketball shorts and sprinted down the side of the building on the ledge,” one witness recounted to New York Daily News. “We thought he was BASE jumping. He had two duffel bags that looked like they had climbing ropes.” “He seemed like a little kid,” another added, saying "he was full of fear but fully committed.”
  • How it ended: “Once inside, the man was evaluated inside what sources said was a store within Trump Tower that sells Ivanka Trump clothing. He was then whisked away in a waiting ambulance." He has yet to be charged.
Police cuff a protester who jumped into the buffer area during a Clinton rally in Des Moines. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

-- Meanwhile, yet another animal rights activist attempted to storm the stage at Clinton's rally in Des Moines, getting within a foot of the nominee before being tackled by Secret Service agents. This is the second time in a week members of the radical leftist organization have tried to approach Clinton onstage. (John Wagner)

-- The DEA today will affirm its prohibition on medical marijuana, reiterating that the drug's therapeutic value has never been proved scientifically. The decision keeps the federal government at odds with 25 states and the D.C., all of whom have passed laws allowing medical use of marijuana to some degree. (Lenny Bernstein)

GET SMART FAST:​​

  1. The State Department criticized several Muslim countries for their anti-blasphemy laws, saying the harsh regulations undermine human rights for religious minorities and women. The findings, which knock American allies such as Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt and Indonesia, come as part a report on religious freedoms around the globe. (Carol Morello)
  2. A federal appeals court reinstated Wisconsin’s controversial voter ID law, striking down a trial court ruling that would have allowed voters to cast ballots without photo identification. The decision comes as a blow to Clinton and bolsters liberal concerns that blacks in Milwaukee will be disenfranchised. (Matt Zapotosky)
  3. Top law enforcement officers in Baltimore promised a “sweeping overhaul” of the city’s police department, after the searing Justice Department report that found the department “regularly discriminated” against black residents in poor communities. They promised improved community relations, modernized training systems and a purge of race-based policing, though they warned such efforts could cost “millions.” (Lynh Bui and Peter Hermann)
  4. Four Ferguson protesters who were arrested in the aftermath of Michael Brown’s 2014 death have filed a lawsuit against the Missouri city. They are seeking $20 million in damages. (Sarah Larimer)
  5. Police in Los Angeles admitted to fatally shooting an innocent black man last month, gunning down 27-year-old Donnell Thompson as they sought to pursue a carjacker. Authorities originally insisted Thompson was a second suspect in the carjacking, but they finally walked back their charges in a Wednesday news conference. (Michael E. Miller)
  6. The California serial killer known as the “Grim Sleeper” was sentenced to death, years after terrorizing the Los Angeles area in his decades-long killing spree. (LA Times)
  7. Police in upstate New York are investigating a suspected meth lab beneath the parking lot of a Wal-Mart. Cops said they are “astounded” by the discovery of the clandestine laboratory, 12 feet underground in a graffiti-filled storm sewer. (Lindsey Bever)
  8. The director of a Mexican beauty pageant was found dead in the back of his Jeep, gunned down by two hooded men just hours after crowning a winner. (Elise Schmelzer)
  9. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte drew widespread condemnation after slamming the U.S. ambassador during a media interview, referring to him as a “gay … son of a whore.” (Emily Rauhala)
  10. The Air Force is working to retain more fighter pilots, boosting retention pay and other bonuses as it grapples with an “acute shortage." Nearly a third of the fighter pilot jobs could become vacant over the next few years. (Dan Lamothe)
All they do is win. The Women's 4x200m freestyle team of Allison Schmitt, Leah Smith, Maya DiRado and Katie Ledecky took Gold yesterday. (Photo by Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

COMPETITORS IN RIO CONTINUE TO MAKE U.S. PROUD:

-- The U.S. currently holds 32 medals – 11 gold, 11 silver, and 10 bronze. China is in second place with 23, Japan is in third with 18, and Russia is in fourth with 15. (Breakdown here.)

-- Katie Ledecky (a Bethesda native headed for Stanford next year) took home her third gold medal last night after swimming a dominant anchor leg for the women’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay team. Ledecky’s split of 1:53.74 was the fastest of any swimmer in the race by nearly a second, Barry Svrluga reports. “That was so much fun,” the 19-year-old said after the race.

-- Michael Phelps earned the top qualifying spot for the 200-meter individual medley final. And Ryan Murphy moved closer to sweeping the backstroke events, advancing to the final of the men’s 200-meter race.

-- Fencer Daryl Homer, from the Bronx, won silver in the men’s individual sabre. That's the best Team USA has done in that event since 1904!

-- The U.S. men’s basketball team struggled to defend its 70 consecutive international victories in a tense game against Australia, but we staved off the competition in a 98-88 victory. And our women held off Serbia 110-84. (Des Bieler)

-- Cyclist Kristin Armstrong – no relation to Lance – won her third consecutive gold. The 42-year-old fended off a tough Russian challenger and A NOSE BLEED to net her hardware in the road cycling individual time trial. (USA Today)

-- Coming up today: “The women’s individual all-around takes place, giving another big-name U.S. athlete, Simone Biles, a chance to cement her status as an all-time great. And hey, look, it’s golf! The sports returns to the Games for the first time since 1904." (Des Bieler)

Hillary Clinton in DSM on Wednesday (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

THE DAILY HILLARY:

Ruh roh --> “A Russian cyberattack that targeted Democratic politicians was bigger than it first appeared and breached the PRIVATE email accounts of more than 100 party officials and groups," the New York Times's Eric Lichtblau and Eric Schmitt report. “The widening scope of the attack has prompted the F.B.I. to broaden its investigation, and agents have begun notifying a long list of Democratic officials that the Russians may have breached their personal accounts.” The main targets appear to have been the personal email accounts of Clinton’s campaign officials, along with party operatives and organizations such as the Democratic Governors’ Association.American intelligence agencies have said they have ‘high confidence’ that the attack was the work of Russian intelligence agencies. Much of [a recent FBI briefing to staffers from House and Senate intelligence committees] focused on the fact that American intelligence agencies have virtually no doubt that the Russian government was behind the theft."

-- Meanwhile, the Clinton campaign continues to be in damage control mode over newly-released emails from her tenure at the State Department, which show Hillary and her top aides helping out donors and others connected to her family’s foundation. From Tom Hamburger: The emails were released as part of a public-records lawsuit by conservative group Judicial Watch. “Clinton campaign spokesman Josh Schwerin called Judicial Watch a 'right-wing organization' that 'has been attacking the Clintons since the 1990s' and added that Hillary Clinton 'never took action as secretary of state because of donations to the Clinton Foundation.'"

-- Good window into Hillary's psyche --> “Stress Over Family Finances Propelled Clinton Into Corporate World,” by Amy Chozick in the New York Times: “Losing the governor’s race in 1980 so shattered a young Bill Clinton that he couldn’t face his supporters … [Instead], he quietly sulked, playing the country song ‘I Don’t Know Whether to Kill Myself or Go Bowling.’ But his wife had a more pressing concern: money. Hillary Clinton’s relationship with money has long puzzled even some of her closest supporters: Despite choosing a life in government, she has appeared eager to make money, driven to provide for her family and helping amass a fortune of more than $50 million with her husband … But her longtime friends say the contradiction is rooted in Mrs. Clinton’s practicality and the boom-and-bust cycles that have characterized her life with Bill Clinton. At no time did those stresses fall more squarely on Mrs. Clinton’s shoulders than in the difficult two-year period in Arkansas [before he got elected again in 1982] when she and her husband found themselves cast out of office, financially strained and deeply uncertain about the future. And the memory of that time shaped her desire to be free from financial burden.”

-- "Clinton’s Republican outreach is a step too far for already-suspicious liberals," by David Weigel: “It seemed like an obvious political coup: scores of Republicans telling voters that a Clinton presidency would be safer than a Trump one. Then her team began exploring whether former secretaries of state, such as Henry Kissinger, might back her. That, liberals warned, would be a step too far. And the prospect fed a perception that, with a contentious primary behind her, the Democratic nominee has returned to her old, hawkish ways and is once again taking progressives for granted."

Quote du jour from liberal Glenn Greenwald, co-founder of the Intercept: “I don’t think Clinton will change her foreign policy because she’s receiving endorsements from Bush, Reagan and Nixon foreign policy officials. I think she’s receiving those endorsements because they like what her foreign policy will be. That’s what worries me.”

Trump holds up a chart as he speaks during his campaign event In Fort Lauderdale. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

THE DAILY DONALD:

-- Trump denied that Secret Service agents have spoken to his campaign regarding his quip that “Second Amendment people” could stop Clinton, less than 24 hours after agents confirmed such conversations had taken place. "There has been more than one conversation" on the topic, a Secret Service official told CNN.

  • The comment has emboldened the NRA to spend even more. The gun lobby has already spent nearly $6 million this year on advertising supporting Trump, focusing its latest efforts on the swing states of Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania, "At this point in the last two presidential elections, the N.R.A. had not spent a single dollar on commercials" backing John McCain or Mitt Romney, Nick Corasaniti and Alexander Burns note in the Times. "In 2004, the rifle association spent just $61,000 aiding President George W. Bush’s re-election bid, and only in Washington."
  • Clinton said Trump’s remarks “incite violence" and are another reason why Republicans should support her. “We may not agree on everything, but this is not a normal election,” Clinton said. (John Wagner)

-- “Even under oath, Trump struggled with the truth." David A. Fahrenthold and Robert O’Harrow Jr. report on his extraordinary falsehoods, as revealed in a 2007 deposition: “It was a mid-December morning in 2007 — the start of an interrogation unlike anything else in the public record of Trump’s life. Trump had brought it on himself. He had sued [reporter Tim O’Brien], accusing him of being reckless and dishonest in a book that raised questions about Trump’s net worth. The reporter’s attorneys turned the tables and brought Trump in for a deposition. For two straight days, they asked Trump question after question that touched on the same theme: Trump’s honesty."

“Thirty times, they caught him. Trump had misstated sales at his condo buildings. Inflated the price of membership at one of his golf clubs. Overstated the depth of his past debts and the number of his employees. That [170-page] deposition … offers extraordinary insights into Trump’s relationship with the truth. Trump’s falsehoods were unstrategic — needless, highly specific, easy to disprove. When caught, Trump sometimes blamed others for the error or explained that the untrue thing really was true, in his mind, because he saw the situation more positively than others did. ‘Have you ever lied in public statements about your properties?’ the lawyer asked. ‘I try and be truthful,’ Trump said. ‘I’m no different from a politician running for office. You always want to put the best foot forward.”

-- A former aide in the office of Chris Christie -- who is chairing Trump's transition and might be nominated as his attorney general -- allegedly texted a colleague in 2013 to say the governor had just “FLAT OUT LIED" to reporters about his administration’s involvement in the “Bridgegate” lane closures. From NorthJersey.com: “Christina Genovese Renna, who worked under deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly, then texted a former campaign official: ‘Are you listening? He just flat out lied about senior staff … not being involved.’” Christie disavowed the remarks on Wednesday, saying he 'absolutely disputes' the messages. 'It’s ridiculous,' he said of the claims. 'It’s nothing new.'"

-- “Trump’s new tax plan could have a big winner: Trump’s companies,” by Wonkblog's Jim Tankersley: “A little-noticed provision in Trump’s tax reform plan has the potential to deliver a large tax cut to companies in [his] vast business empire, experts say. Trump’s plan would dramatically reduce taxes on what is known in tax circles as ‘pass-through’ entities, which do not pay corporate income taxes, but whose owners are taxed at individual rates on their share of profits. Those entities are the most common structure for small businesses and increasingly popular for larger ones as well. They are also a cornerstone of the Trump Organization. On his 2015 presidential financial disclosure report, Trump listed holdings of more than 200 limited liability corporations, which is a form of pass-through.” Per his tax plan, Trump would tax pass-through income at a rate of 15 percent, compared to the 40 percent personal income tax rate a wealthy business owner would pay today."

-- Wall Street Journal, “What Links Trump’s Economy Team,” by Anupreeta Das: “A group of high-profile investors who got rich buying up distressed assets have found their latest turnaround project: Trump’s campaign. The group [of 14], including nine drawn from real estate and finance, will help shape Mr. Trump’s policies on trade, jobs, regulation and taxes. [But] those nine are united by more than their wealth. On Wall Street, they are outsiders, known for audacious bets and, sometimes, spectacular flameouts: Five of them are among Mr. Trump’s biggest donors, contributing a total of $1.7 million in recent months to his campaign’s joint fundraising efforts … [and] six individuals on the Trump economics team … have at times pursued ‘distressed investing,’ going after assets such as soured mortgages or the debt of struggling companies. [Another] … sign of the overlapping interests of his advisers: a number of them have done business with each other."

Trump at a March rally in West Chester, Ohio. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

-- “Inside Trump’s Meltdown” is the headline on Time Magazine’s COVER STORY next week. Alex Altman, Philip Elliott, and Zeke Miller interviewed Donald for the story:

  • Trump on the state of his campaign: “I’m running it differently than I did the primaries. I am listening to so-called experts to ease up the rhetoric, and so far, I’m liking the way I ran in the primaries better.”
  • On whether he’ll participate in the upcoming presidential debates: “I’ll have to see who the moderators are. I would say that certain moderators would be unacceptable, absolutely.”
  • On his drop in the polls: “I was hit hard during the Democrat convention. But the one that goes last has a big advantage because it's the last. All they did was negative, negative, negative. So, you know that could have had an impact …. I may be wrong, but I think we're doing much better than anybody understands.” (Read the full transcript. See the cover image.)

TOTAL AMATEUR HOUR IN OHIO:

-- Example one: The Trump campaign is totally out of its depth. From the Cincinnati Enquirer: “With the presidential election 90 days away, the Trump campaign is scrambling to set up the basics of a campaign in Hamilton County, a key county in a swing state crucial to a Republican victory … [An internal email revealed] the campaign has yet to find or appoint key local leaders or open a campaign office in the county and isn't yet sure which Hamilton County Republican party's central committee members are allied with the Republican presidential nominee. ‘If they are against us, we just need to know,’ wrote Missy Mae Walters, Southwest Ohio regional coordinator for the campaign. Even campaign materials, such as signs and stickers, are unavailable. … The state of the Clinton campaign in the county and statewide stands in stark contrast. It had 12 offices open across Ohio at the end of last week.”

-- Example two: Mike Pence had to call Ohio Republican state Rep. Niraj Antani to apologize after he was denied seating in an area reserved for elected officials. The campaign had objected to one of his TWEETS that it perceived as “anti-Trump.” From Politico’s Matthew Nussbaum: “The 25-year-old lawmaker, who got a call from a Trump campaign official asking him to take down the tweet, says he complied, but was still barred entrance from the special section. Antani stayed for the event, sitting in the general admission section. Soon after the event, his phone rang. It was Pence. ‘He said ‘I just got off stage and just learned about this and just wanted to apologize for the misunderstanding,’ Antani recalled. ‘I don't care about the tweet, I don't care about the seating, this is more how they treat people who weren't with them in the primary. This is how they treat someone who's willing to come on board. I wonder how they treat people who are against them.'"

BATTLE FOR THE SENATE:

-- The Khan family is becoming a big issue down the ballot --> Khizr Khan calls on John McCain to stand up to Trump,” by Cronkite News’s Emily Zentner (they are affiliated with Arizona PBS): “The last book Khizr Khan sent his son Humayun, an Army captain who was killed in a 2004 car bombing in Iraq, was Sen. John McCain’s ‘Why Courage Matters.’ Khan said he has long respected the Arizona Republican, and that one of his last conversations with his son had been about the book and McCain’s sacrifice … McCain had been ‘my and my family’s hero,’ whom Khan said they admired as someone who ‘gave so much in care of others.’ ... It’s that admiration that led Khan to call on McCain and other GOP leaders to withdraw their support of Trump: ‘I implore Sen. McCain … this will be a historic moment in the Republican Party,’ Khan said during an interview with Cronkite News. ‘If you publicly rebuked him, you will look back and you will stand tall in front of the nation and you will say you were not for this, we were for [a] better America,’ he said. McCain’s office did not return calls and emails requesting comment on Khan’s statements.”

Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, McCain's Democratic opponent, released a video yesterday that shows McCain offering support for Trump 50 times:

-- Evan Bayh is the only Democrat in the country who refuses to attack Trump. To win a state like Indiana, Bayh needs to persuade Trump supporters to split their ticket, Roll Call’s Alex Roarty reports: “That means breaking with Clinton on key issues (he opposes the nuclear-arms deal with Iran), capitalizing on the goodwill he and his father (former United States Senator Birch Bayh) amassed during decades in public office, and emphasizing his opposition to many free-trade deals like the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement. It also means laying off criticism of Trump.”

“I’m a Democrat in Indiana,” said Paul Tencher, Bayh’s campaign manager. “The only way I win is with crossover voters. [Trump’s] not someone we worry about or talk about.” Tencher told Roll Call the campaign’s goal it to give GOP-leaning voters a “permission slip” to vote for Bayh.

-- Illinois Republican Sen. Mark Kirk, who earlier said he will not vote for Trump, announced that he will write in Colin Powell’s name on the ballot. 

-- Nevada Sen. Dean Heller (who is not in cycle but will have a tough re-elect in 2018) said he isn’t ready to support Trump. “Let me be clear, I’d like to get to a position that I can support him,” the junior senator told the Reno Gazette-Journal, insisting he will continue to be open minded. “Here’s the problem: I want to wake up every morning and look in the mirror and feel very good about myself and what I’m doing for the state of Nevada. Right now jumping on the Trump bandwagon isn’t there for me yet.”

-- Running scared, other vulnerable Republicans continue to dodge questions on the Donald completely: Asked for his opinion on Trump, Maine Rep. Bruce Poliquin -- thought to have statewide ambitions -- said it was a "good question" and then waited in silence for an elevator without saying another word. How embarrassing for him and his comms team. (Portland Press Herald)

-- Gaffe of the day: Ohio Democratic Senate candidate Ted Strickland apologized for saying Antonin Scalia’s death “happened at a good time” because it prevented the Supreme Court from making a decision that would have meant less dues for labor unions. “I mean, the death of Scalia saved labor from a terrible decision,” the former governor, challenging Rob Portman, said at an Cleveland-area AFL-CIO event. “And I don’t wish anyone ill, but, it happened at a good time! Because, once that decision had been made it would have been tough to reverse it.” Strickland issued a statement of apology after Republicans pounced: "That was an insensitive remark and I apologize," he said. (Cleveland Plain Dealer; Listen to the audio for yourself.)

-- In Pennsylvania, Mike Bloomberg is spending heavily to praise Pat Toomey for pushing background check legislation. Senate Majority PAC -- the main Dem outside group -- is responding with a $1 million buy that says the Republican senator is not actually good on the issue. It includes a tracker's clip of him touting a “perfect track record” with the NRA. Watch:

POLLING ROUNDUP:

-- Clinton’s support has surged in Wisconsin: She has opened a 15-point lead over Trump in the Badger State, according to a Marquette Law poll. She’s now leading Trump 52 to 37 percent, compared to her 4-point lead among likely voters in July. Meanwhile, Trump’s unfavorable ratings have grown since the conventions, spiking from 29 percent to 37 percent.

Sen. Ron Johnson trails Democratic challenger Russ Feingold by 6 points (43-49). Still, his relatively solid standing in the polls has encouraged some that he is “holding his own” in the state despite Trump’s unpopularity: "The Johnson campaign should be happy that they're outperforming the presidential candidate," said poll director Charles Franklin. "On the other hand, outperforming someone who is doing as poorly as Trump is doing right now is a real disadvantage to the campaign.”

-- Clinton leads Trump by 6 points in a national Bloomberg poll, suggesting she has retained some of her post-convention bounce. However, in a four-person race including Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, her lead shrinks to just four points. Other highlights:

  • Clinton’s lead is bolstered primarily by a more consolidated Democratic base: 94 percent said they support her candidacy – including 93 percent of former Sanders supporters.
  • Voters think less of Trump as a businessman: 61 percent of likely voters said they are less impressed with Trump’s business acumen than when he began his campaign.

-- Trump is polling at 2 percent among black voters nationwide, trailing both Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein. FiveThirtyEight’s Harry Enten notes that his support among black voters is worse than “almost every single Republican presidential nominee since 1948,” according to polls taken between the party conventions and Election Day.

--  Philip Bump notes that Trump’s core voter bloc – white, non-degree holding males – is much less likely to vote than the women who love Clinton: “In the new Washington Post/ABC News poll, 62 percent of white men without a college degree said that they were ‘absolutely certain’ to vote this year. By comparison, 90 percent of white women with a college degree said they were absolutely certain to do so. That’s not much different from where those numbers were in August of 2012. In exit polling from 2012, white men without degrees supported Romney by 31 points. They support Trump, per our new poll, by 42 points — an 11-point improvement. But those college-educated white women backed Romney by 6 points — and Clinton this year by 19. That’s a 25-point swing, among a demographic group that’s more likely to say they plan to vote.”

THE SPREAD OFFENSE:

-- “Is Hillary contesting Texas? Not really, but she is trying to expand Democratic influence into deep-red territory,” by Abby Phillip: “In a state with the second-largest Hispanic population in the country … Trump, has galvanized Latino voters in a way rarely seen. While few believe Clinton will win Texas this year, they are bullish that she will perform better than any recent Democratic presidential candidate. That makes Texas, along with a growing list of red states where Clinton and her allies are investing time and money, fertile ground to raise funds, expand the party’s strength, [and] elect new candidates down the ballot … [Now, a two-day swing this week by Tim Kaine] adds to the evidence that the campaign is seeking to expand the party’s reach into new, more hostile corners of the electoral map."

-- Clinton authored an op-ed for today's Deseret News in Utah that makes a play for Mormon votes by highlighting her support for freedom of religion. 

... Meanwhile, anti-Trump conservative and Utah native Evan McMullin formally announced his candidacy for president as an independent conservative alternative to Trump. Speaking to a small group of supporters in Salt Lake City, McMullin said his newly-launched bid is drawing interest: "Google told me that more people were searching for my name than the Donald's!" (Politico)

SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:

Twitter enjoyed riffing on the guy climbing Trump tower:

A quote from Pence:

Another moment from Pence's rally:

Joe Scarborough is fighting back against Trump:

Lisa Murkowski celebrated Alaska Wild Salmon Day:

Arnold Schwarzenegger jumped in on the #FirstSevenJobs hashtag:

Scott Walker hung out with Klement's Racing Sausages:

Scott Brown seems to find himself in a pickle with the same regularity as any leading guy in a situation comedy: 

Finally, Ben Sasse is documenting the saga of a dead vole (photo here) on Twitter:

GOOD READ FROM ELSEWHERE:

-- “My Crazy Year with Trump” – NBC's Katy Tur gives a first-person account of what it’s like covering the “most unlikely candidate” in GOP history for Marie Claire Magazine:

  • On her unexpected assignment: “I was living in London, working as a foreign correspondent, which meant my focus was everything but America. Then came a Make-A-Wish Foundation request from Aaron, a severely ill teen [who] … wanted … the chance to shadow me for a day. I booked a ticket to New York. I left clothes in the dryer and milk in the fridge. I told my French boyfriend I'd meet him on vacation in Sicily in two weeks. (As it turned out, I wouldn't really return to Europe for 10 months.)"
  • On covering her first rally: “Trump must have recognized me from my days at NBC's local New York station; he called me out by name to pay attention. ‘You're looking at your phone!’ ‘I'm tweeting what you're saying!’ I said. He nodded and continued talking.”
  • Their first sit-down interview: “Trump called me naïve. He told me I didn't know what I was talking about. He shamed me when I stumbled on a question. And when the cameras shut off, he was furious. ‘You couldn't do this," he said, searching for a put-down. ‘You stumbled three times.’ That's when he landed what he saw as the harshest insult of all. ‘You'll never be president,’ he said. I laughed. What else was I supposed to do?”
  • Trump, the campaigner: “Trump is a room-reader. He'll slow down a line, rephrase a point, work in a pause, and ride the energy of his audience wherever it takes him. For 45, 60, even 90 minutes, he'll run through classic riffs … But he'll also experiment, as when he launched an ethnically tinged attack on a Mexican-American judge." 

DAYBOOK:

On the campaign trail: Clinton campaigns in Warren, Mich.; Kaine is in New Orleans, La. Trump campaigns in ​Kissimmee, Fla.; Pence is in La Crosse and Milwaukee, Wis.

At the White House: Obama is in Martha's Vineyard, Mass.

On Capitol Hill: The Senate and House are out.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: 

“I think they are all liars, but I feel like she gets caught a lot." -- a so-called Wal-Mart mom offers her view of Hillary during a focus group (Lots more choice quotes in Phil Rucker's story)

(Clarence Williams/The Washington Post)

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

-- "A massive explosion and fire leveled a Silver Spring apartment complex with a blast that could be felt a mile away, injuring more than 30 people, including three firefighters, and forcing nearly 100 people from two buildings with some residents tossing their children from windows," Clarence Williams and Justin Jouvenal report. "Authorities reported no fatalities, but crews had shifted into search mode Thursday morning, seeking to account for five to seven residents of the two adjacent buildings at the Flower Branch Apartments on Piney Branch Road. Authorities said there were 14 units in each building. 'People were dropping children and jumping out of other windows,' Montgomery County Fire Chief Scott Goldstein said of the fire. 'Everybody was getting out of the building as rapidly as possible.'" 

-- “As sweltering as it is today, it is only likely to get worse this weekend” – That’s the not-so-positive lead-in from our friends at the Capital Weather Gang, who forecast a high of 97 for today. “Humidity will smack you in the face when you walk out today. With only scattered clouds, heat cranks up quickly as well. Highs are mainly in the mid-90s and it feels like the lower 100s factoring in humidity. Light south winds offer minimal relief. There is the slimmest of chances for isolated afternoon thunderstorms, mainly north of the city.”

-- The Nationals beat the Cleveland Indians 7-4.

-- A teenage girl allegedly forced into prostitution by a Montgomery County couple told police that they kept her at a Silver Spring hotel for more than two months and forced her to have sex with 288 people. Authorities have charged 34-year-old Atuan Saran Rogers and 19-year-old Dierra Victoria Lee Thomas. (Victoria St. Martin)

-- Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s administration is slated to release the names of the 13,000 convicted felons who were briefly put onto voter rolls, making a partial about-face after Virginia’s high court ruled he had overstepped his authority by issuing the sweeping clemency order. (Laura Vozzella)

-- An MS-13 member who LAUGHED as he recalled BRUTALLY KILLING a fellow gang member was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday. His conviction comes as authorities pursue a sweeping federal case against Northern Virginia members of the violent street gang. (Rachel Weiner)

-- Woodbridge announced it will shutter an independent living program for troubled youth, after a 19-year-old resident in the program was charged with abducting and murdering two of its counselors. (Rachel Weiner and Justin Jouvenal)

-- The host of a summer pool party in Maryland was slapped with a nearly $8,000 fine after county officials ruled that the booze-infused house party was operating as a “bottle club.” The fine comes as Prince George’s County seeks to crack down on large, unregulated house parties, which leader say creates a “multitude of hazards.” (Lynh Bui)

VIDEOS OF THE DAY:

Your guide to Michael Phelps's 25 Olympic medals:

Here's the amazing opening to Aly Raisman's floor routine:

Watch as the man who climbed Trump tower is rescued:

There were some scary moments along the way:

Watch the 1-minute video the climber posted to YouTube:

Watch the protester try to rush the stage while Clinton spoke in Iowa:

Here's how to break down Trump's Second Amendment comments:

Trump stood by what he said:

Finally, check out this video with Samantha Bee, Tracee Ellis Ross breaking down this question: why aren't men funny?