With Breanne Deppisch:
THE BIG IDEA:
CARY, N.C.—Richard Burr, the senior Republican senator from North Carolina, knows how closely his fortunes are tied to Donald Trump at this point. In a state where the GOP presidential nominee is running neck and neck with Hillary Clinton, he’s stuck with him. Last night he campaigned with Mike Pence. “There's not a separation between me and Donald Trump,” Burr told a group of party activists recently.
Like 2016 in miniature, Trump has sucked up all the oxygen and allowed Democrats to turn several Senate races into referendums on him. As a result, a lawmaker like Burr finds himself vulnerable in a year when he did not expect to. The 60-year-old, once a football star at Wake Forest, has been in Congress since 1994. He could lose to Deborah Ross, a former state legislator and the onetime state director of the ACLU.
The final Quinnipiac poll of North Carolina, published this morning, shows the Senate race tied (47 percent to 47 percent) and Clinton leading in the presidential race by two points (47 percent to 45 percent).
Ross said in an interview that she can imagine any of the four possible scenarios playing out tomorrow. Trump could win the state narrowly and pull Burr across the finish line. Or Trump could win, and she could still beat Burr (she said she’s met several people in rural areas who support Trump and her). Clinton could win the state, and that could get her across. Or Burr, because of split-ticket voting, could narrowly hold on. “I think all scenarios are possible in a situation where races are close,” she explained, adding that she tries not to think about it.
An adviser to Burr said he has been working to win over some later ticket-splitters in the suburbs around Charlotte and Raleigh, like this one, and expressed hope that the incumbent will prevail even if Trump narrowly loses the Tar Heel State.
If Senate Democrats win North Carolina, they will almost certainly get back their majority after two years in the wilderness.
-- Bigger picture: I spoke yesterday with 20 strategists and operatives who are closely involved in the battle for the Senate, both nationally and in the states. It was an even mix of Republicans and Democrats. I granted them all anonymity to encourage candor. What follows are the most interesting points and predictions that emerged from these interviews, with the important stipulation that any of it could wind up being wrong. The 2016 cycle has shown the shortcomings of conventional wisdom, and a big surprise somewhere is totally conceivable.
-- Every person I talked with presupposes that Hillary Clinton will win the presidency, even though the race has tightened. That means Democrats need to pick up four seats because Vice President Tim Kaine would be the tie breaking vote.
-- Both sides are girding themselves for what they expect will be a very late night, but the conventional wisdom is that it is more likely than not that Democrats net at least four. Reflecting the high stakes, a study out this weekend showed that more than $532 million has now been spent by outside groups on Senate ads in the general election.
-- Republicans say that they’ve done remarkably well at staying in the game, considering what a debacle Trump could have caused down the ballot. One GOP power player likened the party to a football team that’s playing on the road and down a touchdown with two minutes left in the fourth quarter. Despite everything that’s gone wrong in the previous 58 minutes – injuries, turnovers, penalties – they could still find a way to get to the end zone. (Political operatives favor sports and war analogies.)
-- Democrats have multiple paths to 50:
Everyone agrees that Republican Sen. Mark Kirk will lose in Illinois, a guaranteed pick-up.
Ron Johnson has made late strides in Wisconsin after being written off for months. National Democrats stopped running negative ads against him for nearly a month, which allowed the race to tighten. For a stretch, Trump was also spending in Wisconsin and Clinton was dark, which helped. Democrat Russ Feingold is not as good a candidate as he once was, but he is still ultimately expected to narrowly win the rematch. The modeling shows there just are not enough votes for the Republican. “It’s just not in the cards for RonJohn,” said a Republican.
-- Jim Comey’s latest bombshell announcement, clearing the former secretary of state of criminal wrongdoing (once again), helps Democrats the most in Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. Neither state has early voting, so no ballots have been banked. The GOP incumbents in both places have emphasized the argument that they should get reelected to be a check and balance on Clinton. The news that the FBI is not going to pursue the email matter further may energize some Democrats who are lukewarm about their nominee while also convincing independents who have been contemplating split-ticket voting to support the Democratic challenger. (Much more on the Comey news below...)
-- Most Republicans have lost hope in Nevada, a place where their candidate Joe Heck led in polls for much of the year. The early voting numbers look pretty bad for the GOP, especially with a spike in Latino turnout. Harry Reid’s machine, which I wrote about recently, got its people out. Heck has been unable to stake out a clear position on Trump, which cost him some base support and accelerated the slippage. Catherine Cortez Masto is poised to become the country’s first Latina senator.
-- Missouri, Indiana and North Carolina are coin flips. Republicans say they feel better about holding the Tar Heel State than they do the Show Me State.
-- Roy Blunt and Evan Bayh, two guys who have come to epitomize everything that voters hate about Washington, might both go down. Though from different parties, they are consummate insiders in the year of the outsider.
Trump should win Missouri by a pretty solid margin, which could help Blunt pull it out. Some GOP operatives are actually a little nervous that if The Donald expands the electorate too much it will actually hurt Blunt. There is a fairly sizable universe of low-propensity “Trump, not Blunt” voters who will vote for the GOP presidential nominee and the Democratic Senate candidate because they want to reject the status quo. (Blunt’s wife and kids are all lobbyists, and he’s never effectively pushed back on ads about his votes to raise his own pay and his posh mansion in Washington.)
Jason Kander, Missouri’s secretary of state, has run a great campaign and released the best commercial of the cycle (the one where he built a rifle blindfolded). But he remains relatively unknown and does not have the built-up institutional goodwill of someone like Bayh, which has made it easier four outside spending to drive up his negatives.
-- Evan Bayh was heavily favored when he jumped into the race in July, but the ex-senator has not had a good news cycle since then. The GOP feels supremely confident he will lose tomorrow (despite polls showing it close and Democrats expressing hope). Republicans masterfully caricatured Birch’s boy as an out-of-touch D.C. influence peddler who has spent little time in the state. His leaked Senate schedule was full of damning revelations about his close ties to Wall Street. The latest oppo hit is that Bayh stayed in a Marriott using taxpayer money, instead of staying in his tiny condo nearby, when he came back to Indianapolis at the end of his last term. Bayh says he will reimburse the government. “He’s kind of like the Jeb Bush of Senate candidates,” said a Republican who worked to define him. “The political world has moved on, and he didn’t keep up with the times.”
Bayh could win because of the strength of his family name, but he’s the only Democrat in the country who needs a sizable number of Trump supporters to cross over to vote for him. If Trump wins the Hoosier State bigly, and remember Pence is the governor of Indiana, there may not be enough. One poll published Friday put Republican Todd Young ahead by 5 points.
-- Pat Toomey will probably not survive if Trump loses Pennsylvania by more than five points, but he still could find a way to hold on. One GOP operative said it will be “surprising but not shocking” if the freshman wins, no matter Trump’s margin.
The Republican has known since narrowly winning in the wave year of 2010 that he’d have a hard time surviving with presidential-level turnout, and he’s acted accordingly. His closing ad highlights his support for tougher gun laws after the Sandy Hook massacre and features a clip of Barack Obama praising him three years ago. This prompted the president to issue a weekend statement slamming him.
The senator has never endorsed Trump and still won’t say who he is voting for, afraid to alienate Donald’s supporters. During a cringe-worthy interview last Thursday, for instance, he was asked 10 times by the Philadelphia Fox affiliated who he’d be voting for. And he became deeply exasperated. (Amber Phillips posted the transcript. Click below for the video.)
Right now, Toomey is over-performing his target numbers in the Philadelphia media market (by resonating with suburban moderates who loathe Trump) and underperforming his targets out-state (where Trump is running pretty strong).
But the Democratic emphasis on Philly during the final five days – the Obamas and the Clintons are holding a blowout rally tonight on Independence Square with Bruce Springsteen – may juice African American turnout enough to break the GOP modeling that gets him to victory. Republicans get hope from the fact that Rick Santorum and Arlen Specter won reelection even as their party’s presidential nominee lost.
-- Trump’s improved standing in New Hampshire has benefited Kelly Ayotte, but she can probably outrun him by no more than five points (depending on who you ask). Republicans are cautiously optimistic and believe that Trump supporters have come home after temporarily defecting when she repudiated Trump over the now infamous 2005 video (just days after calling him a “role model”).
The most amazing dynamic in the Granite State might be how static the race has been. After more than $100 million has been spent, the polls look remarkably similar to how they did on the day that Gov. Maggie Hassan, the Democrat, jumped in.
-- In a lot of these tight races, a superior and more coordinated Democratic ground game could be good for one to three points. New Hampshire’s same-day voter registration, for instance, will allow the Clinton campaign to lock in a lot of lower-propensity voters from places like Hanover, home of Dartmouth, tomorrow. And a lot of Republicans are privately dubious of recent polling showing Trump as strong as he is, in part because they don’t think some of his core voters will actually show up.
-- Three different tip-top Republicans separately predicted a 50-50 split, which would mean that Chuck Schumer becomes majority leader. That would also mean that a 2017 Senate race next year’s Virginia Senate race could tip the balance of the chamber. The race to replace Kaine, in this scenario, would almost certainly become the most expensive congressional race in U.S. history. Whomever Terry McAuliffe appoints to replace him would face a still unknown Republican. Ted Cruz running-mate Carly Fiorina, despite blowing a totally winnable 2010 Senate race in California, keeps telling people she wants to run. But she would (to put it nicely) not be able to clear the field. Virginia’s demographics may be changing, but with the exception of 2013, the commonwealth has a storied history of rejecting the newly-elected president’s party in its off-year elections. (This is why so many expect Ed Gillespie to be the next governor.)
Rubio’s closing ad goes positive.
-- Marco Rubio will likely win reelection, but the outcome will be closer than most people in D.C. expect. This will generate a round of stories about whether Democrats should have spent more money in Florida to head off his presumed 2020 run for president. Party decision-makers preemptively explain that they could get way more bang for their buck in other states that were easier pick-up opportunities, and that their primary job is winning the majority – not thinking about getting Clinton reelected.
-- An important lesson from 2016: Candidates and campaigns matter.
Burr and Blunt made many mistakes. Many of his allies describe the North Carolinian as lazy and complain that he did not engage with the race until too late (some wonder whether he really wants the job). There is a widespread feeling that Blunt erred by putting his son in charge of his campaign, which made it hard for the campaign to grapple objectively with his residency challenges.
Unlike those other two states, which were seen as likely Republican holds a year ago, Ohio was expected to be one of the marquee races of the cycle. But Rob Portman put it away by Labor Day because he ran a solid, textbook campaign. (Read last month’s big idea on how he did so here.) As a story about his challenger in Sunday’s Columbus Dispatch put it, “Within a few hours on the campaign trail last week, Ted Strickland was rained on, heckled … by a man in a Chicago Cubs hat, and learned he was down 18 points in the latest poll. It was, as the children’s book says, a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. But Strickland … has had his share of those lately.”
-- John McCain is also safe at this point. Arizona appears to have moved out of reach for Democrats. Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick ran a good campaign and was well positioned if McCain lost the primary or the bottom had truly fallen out from under Trump.
Welcome to the Daily 202, PowerPost's morning newsletter.
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
-- Janet Reno, the first female U.S. Attorney General, died following complications with Parkinson’s disease. She was 78. From Stephanie Hanes: Appointed by Bill Clinton in 1993, “Ms. Reno brought a fierce independence to her job. From the FBI siege of the Branch Davidian compound in Texas to the investigation into Clinton’s sexual relationship with intern Monica Lewinsky, she was adamant that her prosecutors and agents work outside of the influence of politics, media or popular opinion. Her supporters believed she brought a heightened level of integrity and professionalism to the attorney general’s office. They admired her insistence upon legal exactitude from her employees, and praised her caution in prosecutions.”
GET SMART FAST:
- A civil rights organization says the FBI questioned American Muslims in “at least” eight states about a potential pre-election terror threat linked to al-Qaeda this weekend. (Katie Mettler)
- Many black teachers across the country are frustrated by their classroom experiences, according to a new national study, saying they often feel “devalued,” pigeonholed, and expected to teach only black students. Just seven percent of teachers are black, and districts find it increasingly difficult to retain them. (Joe Heim)
- An American English teacher held by Houthi rebels in Yemen for more than a year was released overnight following negotiations between John Kerry and the Sultan of Oman. In a public statement several weeks ago, his wife said he was taken without cause or charges while their family attempted to travel to Saudi Arabia. (Carol Morello)
- A U.S. soldier who starved to death in a North Korean prison camp is finally coming home this week -- 65 years after he was reported missing in action. The then-19-year-old was taken to a prison camp and starved. Family members say his disappearance haunted them for decades. (Kristine Guerra)
- A Salt Lake City police officer was killed after being struck by people fleeing in a stolen vehicle. The 25-year-old is the first officer to die in the line of duty in the department’s history. (AP)
- Samsung announced it is recalling nearly 3 million top-loading washing machines more than a month after the U.S. government deemed them unsafe. Loading the machines with heavy items reportedly caused them to vibrate violently or even bust apart – resulting in nine injuries, including a broken jaw and injured shoulder. (Hayley Tsukayama)
- A Greek cargo ship and its international crew have been stranded in the Baltimore harbor for more than 45 days, after the vessel was found to have engine issues, and the cash-strapped company is unable to foot the cost of repairs. In the meantime, hungry sailors have been aided by a spate of unlikely donations and charity groups – including a themed harbor tour company who sailed to deliver supplies in a fake pirate ship.
- Lance Armstrong has started a podcast, attempting to rehabilitate his public image after doping upended his life. (Rick Maese)
- Mike Bloomberg is quietly wrapping up the 2016 cycle as one of its single biggest donors, throwing more than $65 million behind Republican and Democrats who align with him. He’s donated to 18 individual candidates this cycle but not a single dollar towards the presidential. (Poltico)
CLINTON CLEARED AGAIN -- THE LATEST EMAIL BOMBSHELL:
-- FBI Director James Comey announced that Clinton will not be charged criminally following a second probe of her private email server. In a letter to congressional committee chairmen, Comey said investigators had worked “around the clock” to review the emails, ultimately finding them either duplicates of previously reviewed correspondence, or personal emails that did not pertain to State Department business. "We have not changed our conclusions expressed in July," he wrote. (David A. Fahrenthold, Rosalind S. Helderman and Jenna Johnson have the full story. Tom Hamburger had the scoop yesterday. Read Comey's letter here.)
-- Serious damage was already done, and it is too late to totally reverse it. By clipping Clinton’s comfortable lead in several states and taking other red states off the map, Comey might have deprived HRC of a clearer electoral mandate: "Clinton, who had been trying to expand the electoral map by focusing on red states that included Georgia and Arizona, drew back to defend blue turf like Michigan and Pennsylvania. In those days, millions of votes were cast. In Colorado, for instance, voters submit their ballots by mail. Daniel Cole, a Republican strategist in the state, said the number of Democrats returning ballots had been surging past the GOP total — until Comey announced his inquiry. Then, on Friday, the GOP total actually eclipsed the Democrats. 'There was an enthusiasm gap,; Cole said. 'Until the latest bend in the email scandal, the wind was kind of out of our sails.'"
-- The Clinton team's public response was surprisingly measured: “We were always confident that nothing would cause the July decision to be revisited. Now Director Comey has confirmed it,” Clinton press secretary Brian Fallon tweeted. “Trump’s hopes of using Comey to distract the voters in closing days of the campaign just went up in smoke."
-- Trump said yesterday morning that his opponent would definitely be indicted soon. After Comey gave lie to that, Donald changed his tune in Michigan to again argue that Clinton is "being protected by a rigged system." "She is is guilty," he said. "She knows it. The FBI knows it. The people know it. Now it’s up to the American people to deliver justice at the ballot box on November 8th." (Jenna Johnson)
-- Reflecting how much the markets want the stability that would come up with a Clinton presidency, stocks and the dollar jumped this morning based on the Comey announcement: Futures pointed to a 1.5 percent opening gain for the S&P 500, slated to end its longest losing streak in more than 35 years. The Mexican peso also gained, the Wall Street Journal notes.
-- “In another kind of political season, that might have settled the matter. But instead, it generated a new round of dark theorizing from some of the same people who had praised Comey only nine days before," Karen Tumulty writes in an analysis piece. “The two sides are likely to be arguing for years over the question of who was helped and who was hurt by Comey’s string of late-breaking announcements. And on the Republican side, the bureau will face a host of new questions. ... The whole saga also will probably reinforce the disillusioned American public’s perception that the political system is corrupt, and that the institutions of government are failing. It is likely, as well, to further undermine the legitimacy of whoever wins the election in this deeply polarized country. ‘Regrettably, this is of a piece with every event that happened before it in the campaign,’ said William A. Galston, a governance expert at the Brookings Institution. ‘In a way, it is a perfectly fitting end to a truly awful campaign.’”
-- While Democrats expressed relief, they also castigated Comey for announcing such an ill-timed investigation. Harry Reid use the word "irresponsible" multiple times in his statement. And three members of the Senate Judiciary Committee showed how badly Comey has hurt his standing:
- Ranking member Patrick Leahy read the letter aloud from his phone during an event in Vermont (where he’s coasting to reelection). The crowd roared. “I won't add to what was said because the fact is, I've always believed in Hillary Clinton's honesty," Leahy said. "I've always supported her. … You know, once in a while it's nice when everything comes together." ( Seven Days)
- “This should end the email saga once and for all,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said in a statement. “The October surprise that came only 11 days before Election Day has unfairly hurt the campaign of one candidate and changed the tenor of this election. The letter makes Director Comey’s actions nine days ago even more troubling. There’s no doubt that it created a false impression about the nature of the agency’s inquiry."
- Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) called for Senate hearings to rake Comey over the coals for botching this: "I think that there should be hearings, and I'm certain there will be hearings in the Judiciary Committee on this matter," he said during a morning TV hit.
-- Some congressional Republicans said they won't let this go:
- Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) claimed the “vague” announcement “failed to provide context” and that he was “unsure” whether the review was actually over. “The growing number of unanswered questions demand explanations: Is the FBI continuing to review the newly-revealed emails?” he said in a statement. “Did the FBI limit its review to email from when Clinton was Secretary of State, leaving out emails that could shed light on possible obstruction of Congress?”
- "Regardless of this decision, the undisputed finding of the FBI's investigation is that Secretary Clinton put our nation's secrets at risk and in doing so compromised our national security,” Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement. “Let's bring the Clinton era to an end by voting for Donald Trump on Tuesday."
-- Objectively, Comey really screwed the pooch. “NBA referees ref the first 44 minutes of a game differently than they ref the final four minutes,” writes The Fix's Chris Cillizza. “They understand that in the final four minutes, the bar for a foul is higher because the stakes are raised. Shooting two free throws in a two-point game in the first quarter is very different from doing the same thing with 35 seconds left … Same goes for Comey. He needed to understand that to say something about Clinton's email investigation so close to the election meant that he had very real concerns about the possibility of a president-elect being indicted. To simply say — after a nine-day hurricane of news stories about Clinton's emails — that there was never anything to see here is a remarkable swing and miss on Comey's part."
-- Comey has perhaps irreparably hurt the FBI's brand. Ellen Nakashima, Sari Horwitz and Matt Zapotosky look back on 10 nightmarish days for the bureau: "As the agents worked, the bureau faced a seemingly endless torrent of criticism. News leaked that agents in the FBI’s New York field office had been advocating for a separate investigation of the Clinton Foundation, even though public integrity prosecutors had told them that they did not have a case. That fueled the perception that at least some in the bureau, an organization of predominantly white men, might have partisan motivations, and Democrats called for the Justice Department inspector general to look into the matter."
-- Our Washington Post/ABC News tracking poll finds Clinton with a four point lead over Trump (47-43), regaining her edge in popularity and matching Obama’s advantage among minorities in the final hours of the race.
-- Bloomberg Politics poll gives Clinton a three point national lead (46-43). She was up nine in the mid-October poll. Clinton holds a 46-38 lead among people who say they’ve already voted. The email issue appears not to have dogged Clinton’s standing among her supporters: just three percent said it caused them to change or seriously consider changing their vote. (70 percent say it hasn't worried them.)
-- A CBS News national poll also shows Clinton holding a four point lead (45-41), with just five percent of likely voters saying they could potentially change their mind.
-- The final Quinnipiac numbers: Clinton up 46-45 in FLORIDA and 47-45 in NORTH CAROLINA.
-- A Fox 2 Detroit/Mitchell poll in MICHIGAN shows Clinton up five points, compared to a three point lead last week.
-- A UNH Granite State poll finds Clinton up 11 (49-38) in NEW HAMPSHIRE. A WMUR poll last week had Clinton leading Trump by seven points (45-38). Hassan leads Ayotte by four in the UNH survey. (49-45).
-- Late nights: Donald took the stage in Leesburg, Va., at 12:22 a.m. for the last event of his day. Hillary landed at the airport in Westchester, N.Y. at 11:06 p.m. after her nighttime rally with James Taylor in Manchester, N.H.
-- The Republican nominee will hold five rallies today, jetting from Florida to North Carolina to Pennsylvania to New Hampshire and then to Michigan. Clinton, by contrast, will appear in three states: North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Michigan.
THE LATINO SLEEPING GIANT AWAKES:
-- A Telemundo/Naleo poll shows Clinton leading Trump by 62 points among Latino voters (76-14). And 56 percent of Latino voters said they were “more enthusiastic” about voting this year than in 2012.
-- “In Florida … there are early indications that Hispanics have mobilized for this election like no other in U.S. history, Robert Samuels writes. “On Saturday, the Democrats’ efforts to court Cuban Americans was on display in Hialeah, the heart of the exile community. In addition to [a] chiva bus, Clinton allies parked a van blasting hip-hop and reggaeton music … [and] handed out guava pastries from a tent. Waiting for them were a group of Trump supporters who started yelling, ‘Lock her up!’ The Democrats started shouting back, comparing the GOP presidential nominee to the reviled Cuban dictator: ‘Castro, no! Trump tampoco!’ They also chanted another Spanish phrase that suggested Trump and Castro were funded by the Russians.”
-- President Obama focused on Hispanic voters as he campaigned for Clinton yesterday in Kissimmee, Florida (where I wrote last Tuesday’s big idea on Hispanic GOTV efforts from). “This election is about the character of this country,” Obama said. “Who are we? What do we stand for? ... If we win Florida, it is a wrap. If we win Florida, it is over.” (Greg Jaffe)
-- Evidence mounts that the Democratic outreach is paying off:
Some numbers: Trump campaign officials have zeroed in on Florida as the most important state for Trump to win on Tuesday, Bloomberg’s Joshua Green notes – and believe Miami-Dade County is “the most important county” for Trump’s chances to take home a victory in the state. Whether Trump can win enough voters in Miami-Dade is another question, however: “Through Saturday … 707,844 county residents had already voted: 44 percent were Democrats, 30 percent Republican, and 25 percent had “no party affiliation," a group that tends to skew younger and Hispanic, and thus toward Clinton. The demographic mix of early voters also looks highly favorable to Clinton: 58 percent Hispanic, 17 percent African-American and 20 percent white.”
A telling anecdote: “Canvassing on Saturday morning in North Miami, Mary Kay Henry, the president of the Service Employees International Union, and a handful of local members focused on households, many of them Haitian or Hispanic, with an infrequent voting history. But nearly every resident who answered their door assured her they had already voted.” (Jonathan Martin in the Times)
-- Most of Trump’s own Latinos employees will vote against him --> “Latina Hotel Workers Harness Force of Labor and of Politics in Las Vegas,” by New York Times’ Dan Barry: “Ms. Vargas, who is from El Salvador, and her Latina union colleagues are a growing force in the politics and culture of Nevada, vocal in their beliefs and expectations. It has not been easy. Downsizing after her husband’s deportation, selling her bedroom set, moving in with her daughter and her family. Publicly agitating for the union … and then fretting that there might be retaliation at her nonunion, pro-Republican workplace. And working, constantly working. … She pulls into the employee parking lot of the gold hotel, set aglow now by the unsparing morning sun. Searching for a parking spot, she passes other women, many of them also in black and gray tunics, hurrying toward the service entrance. Soon she is heading for the same door, one more guest room attendant who wears a back brace while cleaning rooms for a presidential candidate whose name is on the bathrobes she stocks, on the empty wine bottles she collects, on her name tag. He will receive her labor, but not her vote.”
-- A narrative to watch for on Wednesday: “The story of this election may be the mobilization of the Hispanic vote,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told JMart. “So Trump deserves the award for Hispanic turnout. He did more to get them out than any Democrat has ever done. … If we don’t come to grips with the demographic challenges we have with Hispanics in presidential politics, we’ll never right the ship.”
THE DAILY DONALD:
-- Great read: Trump beat reporter Jenna Johnson recounts her year of traveling alongside the Republican nominee to more than 170 rallies: “In those early days, Trump had no U.S. Secret Service protection and nothing to lose. He took kids on rides in his helicopter in Iowa and stopped by a high school homecoming. There were no fundraisers, no sprawling staff, no teleprompters, no one telling him no. He held rallies in struggling former industrial towns with low median incomes and high rates of anger — and thousands would show up. [A September rally in] Oklahoma foreshadowed what would come. There was the crowd — loud and adoring, no matter what Trump said or did or what might be revealed about his past. There was the palpable anger, the sharing of conspiracy theories, the mob mentality. “Pick up your pitchfork!” a local politician shouted, firing up the crowd before Trump arrived. “Follow our next commander in chief! Join the Trump brigade and take back America once and for all!” Political pundits had said for months it was just for the show, while Trump insisted he had sparked a political movement. He was right.”
-- A delusional Trump predicted victory in reliably-blue Minnesota: “If I don’t win Minnesota, I’m going to look real bad to those pundits."
-- Trump proceeded to attack the local immigrant population: Somalis, largely Muslim, who have fled their war-ravaged country and settled in large numbers around Minneapolis. From Jenna: “You don’t even have the right to talk about it. You don’t even know who’s coming in. You have no idea. You’ll find out. You’ll find out,” Trump said. He mentioned a recent case in which 10 people were stabbed at a Minnesota mall. The attacker was a Somali man who had immigrated to the United States with his parents when he was 2. A news agency tied to the Islamic State later claimed responsibility for the attack, saying the man was a “soldier” for the group. “You’ve suffered enough in Minnesota,” Trump said. He said Clinton would allow more refugees to enter: “Her plan will import generations of terrorism.”
-- Mike Pence said Chris Christie’s role as the head of Trump’s White House administration team will remain unchanged, despite the criminal convictions of two top former aides. "Well, what I would tell you is Chris Christie has continued to strongly state his position that he had no knowledge of those actions taken," Pence said on "Fox News Sunday."
-- Sarah Palin drew 400 in northern Michigan as a Trump surrogate, according to the Traverse City Fox affiliate.
-- Deep dive by the New York Times, “Inside Trump’s Last Stand: An Anxious Nominee Seeks Assurance,” by Maggie Haberman, Ashley Parker, Jeremy W. Peters and Michael Barbaro: “On the surface, there is the semblance of stability that is robbing [Clinton] of her most potent weapon: Mr. Trump’s self-sabotaging eruptions, which have repeatedly undermined his candidacy. Underneath that veneer, turbulence still reigns, making it difficult for him to overcome all of the obstacles blocking his path to the White House.” Five nuggets:
The operation is embarrassingly unsophisticated: “Over a cheeseburger, fried calamari and an ‘Ivanka Salad’ at the Trump Grill in the basement of Trump Tower last week, several aides flipped open a laptop and loaded the popular website 270towin.com, which allows users to create their own winning electoral maps. For 10 minutes, they clicked through the country, putting Democratic-leaning states won by Mr. Obama four years ago, like New Mexico and Colorado, into Mr. Trump’s column. Their analysis seemed more atmospheric than scientific.”
Trump aides have wrested control of his Twitter account, which he has often used to shoot himself in the metaphorical foot, in order to help him stay on-message.
Advisers pleaded with Trump not to threaten to sue his female accusers during last month’s Gettysburg speech, warning that such threats could make him appear “small.” But Trump was adamant, telling staffers there had to be a “severe penalty” for those who dare attack him. It predictably backfired.
Great color: Sitting outside a Manchester campaign event right after Comey's announcement the Friday before last, Trump advisers sent Michael Flynn on stage to “stall” while they scrambled to craft a last-minute speech. They became so engrossed that Steve Bannon’s pants caught on fire.
The groping accusations dashed GOP morale on the Hill: “Some despondent young (RNC) staff members … who usually work late into the night in the final stretches of a campaign, took to leaving their desks early, in time for happy hour at bars."
-- USA Today, “Following scare at Trump rally, life is now different for protester,” by Seth A. Richardson: “Life was fairly normal for Austyn Crites until Saturday night. The 33-year-old, Eagle Scout and high-altitude balloon inventor was by his own account a fairly average guy. He wasn’t famous … until the [Trump] rally on Saturday in Reno. Crites, who identifies as a Republican, went to the rally … with the intention of protesting … He never expected what would transpire. As Trump called him out from the podium, accusing him of being a Democratic plant, Crites made his way to the front. Someone yelled he had a gun. … [Since then], Trump staffers, supporters and alt-right websites wasted no time in attacking Crites.” Kellyanne Conway called him a Democratic plant on national television. Trump Jr. retweeted a false claim calling it an assassination attempt. 'For someone like me, this particular event will in fact change the rest of my life,' Crites said. His parents’ information was released online, and his brother and sister in law were targeted: 'We’ve been getting a lot of direct messages with threats saying they’re going to come get us and our family and when Trump becomes president he’s going to have us killed. Threats like that,' said Crites’ 33-year-old sister-in-law."
THE DAILY HILLARY:
-- Khizr Khan campaigned alongside Clinton in New Hampshire last night, castigating Trump for being an “embarrassment” to the U.S. and contrasting his rhetoric with Clinton’s promises to work for “healing and reconciliation. “This election will decide the future of America and the future of the world,” Khan said. “On one hand, we have Donald Trump and his policies of hate, exclusion, intimidation and division,” he said. “On the other hand, we have Hillary Rodham Clinton and her lifelong public service to the country.” (Anne Gearan)
-- Libertarian VP candidate Bill Weld -- giving more headaches to Gary Johnson -- praised Clinton on CNN, saying Trump is “unfit” to lead the country while Clinton is “a perfectly reputable, professional, responsible candidate” for commander in chief. This is just the latest in a string of interviews in which the third-party nominee has vouched for Clinton, John Wagner notes.
-- Also making appearances for Clinton is “Game of Thrones” author George R.R. Martin, who encouraged early voting and spoke to campaign volunteers in New Mexico. He has previously expressed support for the Democratic nominee in several online posts. (CNN)
-- Clinton, Inc. --> “Chelsea’s husband allegedly used foundation ties to boost hedge fund,” by Politico’s Ken Vogel: “Chelsea Clinton’s husband used his connections to the Clinton family and their charitable foundation to raise money for his hedge fund, according to an allegation by a longtime Clinton aide made public Sunday [in the Wikileaks email trove] … Marc Mezvinsky extended invitations to a Clinton Foundation poker event to rich Clinton supporters he was courting as investors in his hedge fund, and he also relied on a billionaire foundation donor to raise money for the fund … They also assert that he had his wife Chelsea Clinton make calls to set up meetings with potential investors who support her family’s political and charitable endeavors.” The documents were written in late 2011 and early 2012 by ex-Clinton aide Doug Band. Mezvinsky, a former investment banker at Goldman Sachs, was working with two partners to raise capital to launch a hedge fund of their own called Eaglevale Partners at the time. (Read more)
-- Being there: “The final days of the Clinton campaign: ‘exciting,’ rainy and blaring with ‘Roar,’” by David Maraniss: “It was a long way to fly for just seven minutes of action, coming down from Cleveland the night before and up to Philadelphia immediately after. But that is part of the deal during presidential campaigns. It is all about being there, whatever that means and wherever ‘there’ is. Being in battleground states. Being on television. Being in perpetual motion. Being up on the latest. And a whole lot of being up in the air. Being there with the goal of actually getting there. There is also a strong component of being with in these closing days — celebrity on celebrity, famous people being with her, this famous woman, and the rest of us watching … If the nation at some point became hooked on reality TV, and [Trump] somehow emerged from that subculture, Hillary has her own version of ‘The Voice’ going.”
DISPATCHES FROM THE SWING STATES:
-- Dave Weigel, in Colorado Springs, notes a stark contrast between Democratic and Republican get-out-the-vote efforts: “In COLORADO, which has not voted for a Republican for president since 2004 or for governor since 2002, a taut local Democratic Party has linked arms with a cautious and free-spending Clinton campaign. The state’s Republicans, divided and outnumbered in voter registrations, are counting on voters to come home; the Democrats are simply counting voters.”
-- Trump’s chances in PENNSYLVANIA are likely to hinge on whether enough voters are willing to abandon their usual voting patterns in favor of disruption, our Robert Costa writes after a road trip across the state: “The journey through Pennsylvania revealed that while Trump signs dot countless lawns throughout the industrial region, they do so progressively less as you move east, as if Trump’s support were a fading red swath on the map. For Trump — who rallied Sunday in Moon, Pa., near Pittsburgh and plans to be in Scranton on Monday — the hurdle remains wary voters, including moderates in his own party, who see his rowdy populism as an unwelcome upending of American life.”
-- The mood at Penn (Trump’s alma mater) is “closer to terrified,” says Politico’s Dan Spinelli: “At Wharton, one of the world’s most respected (and demanding) business schools, students have recoiled at being linked to a wheeler-dealer whose business record suggests more skill at financial chicanery than genuine company-building. … Perhaps the most galling moments for Penn arrived when Trump tried to play the Wharton card to excuse his pantomimed mocking of a disabled reporter. ‘Who would mock a disability?’ Trump told Jake Tapper. ‘I would never. I’m a smart person. I went to the Wharton School of Finance.’”
-- Jonathan Mahler takes the pulse of the baby boomer generation: “If Bill Clinton was their white-haired id, Hillary Clinton is their superego in a pantsuit. A shared history binds the boomers — as do, broadly speaking, some shared traits. Their parents suffered through the Depression and World War II before rearing them in the most prosperous society the world had ever seen. Inevitably, perhaps, they were guided by two polestars: responsibility and entitlement. Those dueling impulses powered the rise of both Clintons: one impulse galvanizing supporters who deeply admired their commitment to public service, the other galling critics who saw them as playing by their own rules … [The Clintons] would be bookends on their cohort, one seizing the national stage on behalf of their generation in its prime, the other, who now qualifies for Medicare, vying to lead it into its dotage.”
-- “Jewish Voters, Prized in Florida, Tell What Drives Them,” from The Times’ Rick Rojas: “Republicans are sending around cards showing a glowering Hillary Clinton, an Iranian flag and missiles, and saying: ‘The Obama/Clinton Iran Deal Puts Israel at Risk.’ … Then there is the Facebook ad and robocall campaign puckishly titled ‘WWJD.’ It answered the question many Jews here were wondering: What would Joe (as in Lieberman) do? One of the most prized groups of voters in the Sunshine State is its hundreds of thousands of Jews … Layered on top of [typical concerns about the nominees] are specific concerns over support for Israel; the nuclear arms agreement with Iran, which is unpopular with Jewish conservatives; and unease over anti-Semitism that has surfaced among segments of Mr. Trump’s supporters.”
-- “Civil rights advocates work to prevent polling chaos,” by Janell Ross: “Behind the locked glass doors of a downtown Washington office … volunteers are fielding phone call after phone call. ... It is one outpost of the Election Protection Coalition voter hotline, a volunteer-staffed nonpartisan network of organizations devoted to protecting the right to vote. The advocates behind the operation say they are worried that more than any presidential election in the past 50 years, the 2016 contest carries a pronounced risk for impropriety and mischief. They, too, like Trump, worry that the election could be rigged. In response, the coalition has set up 23 call centers across the country for what it thinks will be a fractious and contentious Election Day.”
-- “For some Syrian women, refugee life proves unexpectedly liberating,” by Kristen Chick: “Samar Hijazi stood in front of the judge of the Sunni sharia court … last month as he addressed her in rapid-fire bursts from behind an imposing desk. ‘This is against God’s will,’ he said. ‘If you divorce, you’ll have problems with your children. God will be against you. Will you reconsider?’ ‘No,’ she said firmly. Just like that, Hijazi, 45, was freed from a 33-year marriage to a man she described as abusive and domineering. The refugee from Syria’s war had long wished for such an ending, but it had never seemed possible … That changed when the family fled to Lebanon two years ago. … For some Syrian women living in Lebanon, the bitter realities of life as a refugee have nourished an unexpected side effect: empowerment. Uprooted from some familiar social constraints and exposed to programs promoting women’s rights through contact with aid groups, some of them have obtained a degree of personal autonomy they never experienced in Syria.”
-- “As the most frightening election of my lifetime draws to a close, I find myself thinking of a teenager I met many years ago in Siberia who was moved to tears after sitting for an exam to win a U.S.-sponsored study trip to the United States,” editorial page editor Fred Hiatt writes in a first-person column. “She didn’t yet know whether she had won or lost — but it was the first time she had ever felt she was competing for something on her merits, where bribes or connections to people in power would have no effect. That alone made her grateful and admiring of the United States. She was seeing what, to me, is the real America. To me, America is not at heart selfish, petty, hateful or bigoted. One candidate for president may be all of those things, and may suggest that we are like him. But I don’t believe most Americans — including most Americans voting for him — share those ungenerous traits. I don’t believe we will elect such a man, either. But if we did, I believe the real America would be strong enough to survive and outlast him and remain — or once again become — the kind of place a teenager in Siberia can admire."
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
— ZIGNAL VISUAL
Tom Toles's last cartoon before the election laments the dearth of substantive debate about policy:
Demonstrators vandalized the FBI building (click to watch):
GOP strategist John Weaver, an adviser to John Kasich, said the FBI should investigate its own "politicalization":
Now that Comey and crew have finished that, must do internal investigation into politicalization of his agency.— John Weaver (@JWGOP) November 6, 2016
Long lines of early voters in Nevada:
The chairman of the Nevada GOP drew criticism when he said polls were kept open (which is allowed) in Clark County until 10 PM so a "certain group" could vote:
Paul Ryan said he would not campaign with Trump. Then he said he would. Then Trump canceled his scheduled Wisconsin stop. So he appeared with Mike Pence instead.
Clinton hung out backstage with Beyonce and Jay Z:
Trump campaigned with Ted Nugent, known for anti-Semitic posts like this one:
Here's a first-person account from Austyn Crites, the man detained for supposedly pulling a gun at a Trump rally (there was no gun):
Here's what happened to Austyn Crites, the man who raised a "Republicans Against Trump" sign & was detained after someone shouted "gun" pic.twitter.com/OG6FYtqIWn— Jeremy Diamond (@JDiamond1) November 6, 2016
Check out video from our colleague Jose DelReal:
Here is video I took from the floor as Secret Service and SWAT subdued the man and then led him out. Apologies for the poor quality. pic.twitter.com/wrNbX39J4O— Jose A. DelReal (@jdelreal) November 6, 2016
Trump aide Dan Scavino fueled rumors it was an assassination attempt (it wasn't):
Trump social media director retweeted a tweet claiming this was an assassination attempt pic.twitter.com/TTUCH4Zbb8— Rosie Gray (@RosieGray) November 6, 2016
A thought from an Atlantic senior editor:
The Trump campaign spinning a protester holding a sign as an assassination attempt is pretty classic manipulative, authoritarian behavior— Mazel Tov Cocktail (@AdamSerwer) November 6, 2016
Trump crowds are getting more aggressive in their chanting:
Per pooler @EliStokols, the crowd at Trump's rally in NH has graduated from "lock her up" to "execute her."— Phil Elliott (@Philip_Elliott) November 4, 2016
Obama met a young man with cerebral palsy who was removed from a Trump rally:
Yesterday, this young man was kicked out of a Trump rally. As he was leaving, people kicked at his wheelchair. Today, he met his President. pic.twitter.com/VI4g2tKANG— Steve Schale (@steveschale) November 6, 2016
Looks like Trump's campaign regards Corey Lewandowski as part of the team (yet CNN keeps him on the payroll...):
This story about Trump is being shared on Facebook by an apparent former roommate of Don Jr.:
Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship endorsed Trump:
In 1980 Americans elected Ronald Reagan to tear down a wall. On Tuesday Americans need to elect Donald Trump to build a wall.— Don Blankenship (@DonBlankenship) November 6, 2016
Spotted in NYC:
Madonna will play an acoustic concert in support of Clinton on Monday night:
Here are posts from other celebrity Clinton supporters:
Finally, this photo of Lady Gaga as modern suffragette:
GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:
-- Politico, “Fiorina tops GOP list for potential Virginia Senate contest,” by Maggie Severns: “Virginia Republicans could be about to start a mad dash for Sen. Tim Kaine’s Senate seat in Virginia — and Carly Fiorina could soon be leading the pack. Whether or not Kaine wins the vice presidency this week, his term is up in 2018. But if he has to resign, there will also be a special election in 2017, and Fiorina, who resides … in Mason Neck, Virginia, is considering entering the race — but won’t make a decision on whether to do so until after Election Day … Republicans in the state are urging Fiorina to run because she would bring immediate star power and fundraising ability to the expensive, back-to-back races for Kaine’s seat that will take place if he becomes vice president. Fiorina is not the only Republican interested … But her national name recognition after the 2016 presidential campaign would make Fiorina particularly formidable in a GOP primary. ‘It’s something she’s taking a very strong look at,’ a Virginia GOP operative said. ‘She’s not just name ID, she’s got serious definition. People have seen her, they know what she can do.’”
On the campaign trail: It's the final day to campaign. Clinton hits Raleigh, N.C., Grand Rapids, Mich. and meets up with President Obama, Michelle Obama and Bill Clinton for an event in Philadelphia. Kaine stops in Wilmington, N.C., Fairfax and Richmond, Va. Before Philadelphia, Obama is in Ann Arbor, Mich. and Durham, N.H. Trump has a marathon day, stopping in Sarasota, Fla., Raleigh, N.C., Scranton, Pa., Manchester, N.H. and Grand Rapids, Mich. Pence is in Duluth, Minn., Traverse City, Mich., Erie, Pa., Manchester, N.H. and Grand Rapids, Mich.
At the White House: See above.
On Capitol Hill: The Senate and House are out.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "If you had an emergency and had to go to the hospital, you wouldn’t want me driving, right?” – Stevie Wonder on why Trump shouldn’t be president
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
-- Just a few more nice days left to enjoy before the weather drops, per today’s Capital Weather Gang’s forecast: “Many of us start the day with some frost and temperatures in the 30s. Despite wall-to-wall sunshine, highs probably hit their ceiling around 60, several degrees cooler than yesterday. Still, it feels pretty good in the afternoon sun, with just a light breeze from the north.”
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
Voters in several states told our videographers that they're ready to move on from this election:
The Clinton campaigned released another mini-documentary, a six-minute biographical piece called "the story of her":
Jay Z performed "Hard Knock Life" at a concert for Clinton:
LeBron James spoke at Clinton's rally in Cleveland:
Kaine accompanied Jon Bon Jovi on the harmonica (click to watch):
Meanwhile... here's Tim Kaine in Florida rocking his harmonica tonight to Bon Jovi's "You Give Love A Bad Name" pic.twitter.com/zXY81CNPrX— Kailani Koenig (@kailanikm) November 6, 2016
Trump is again trying to make dramatic entrances by pulling his plane into hangars for the final rallies. This was the scene in Pennsylvania yesterday:
Rebuilding America Now, the pro-Trump super PAC, invokes the Washington Redskins’ name in an ad aimed at Virginians, attacking Clinton for characterizing the controversial name as insensitive. “Yeah, you thought you were safe,” the narrator says begins, “sitting in your recliner in your man cave, cold beer and a bowl of chips. Ha, you thought you’d escaped politics by focusing on football. Wrong. Hillary Clinton wants to mess up your football, too. Hillary wants to change the name of the Redskins. Hillary’s priorities are not your priorities." Cindy Boren has the story. Watch:
Seth Meyers talked about the GOP's threat to shoot down any of Clinton's court nominees if she wins:
Bill Maher apologized for "crying wolf" about past Republican presidential candidates:
Here's Obama's full interview with Maher:
Conan O'Brien spoofed Hamilton:
BuzzFeed asked people in Los Angeles: who are you supporting on Election Day?
In case you missed it, "SNL" did one last Clinton/Trump cold open (NBC tonight will air its quadrennial "SNL" election special):
Bill Murray made an appearance with three Chicago Cubs players on "SNL":