Electorate rapidly moving in opposite directions at once

Voters swinging for Trump or for Clinton? (Getty Images via NY Post)

The polls have spoken and now we clearly know which way the electorate is veering.

The story in the morning paper tells us a new McClatchy-Marist poll shows Democrat Hillary Clinton’s head-to-head lead over putative Republican Donald Trump has shrunk to a mere 3 percentage points in a poll with a margin of error of 3 points. She led Tump by 9 points in an April poll by the same group.

In a four-way race the poll shows Clinton 40 percent to Trump’s 35 percent, with Libertarian Gary Johnson at 10 percent and Green Party candidate Jill Stein at 5 percent.

At the same time, a Reuters/Ipsos shows Clinton has extended her lead over Trump to 13 points (46-33), up from a 10-point lead (45-35) earlier in the month.

Meanwhile, a week-old Rasmussen Reports poll shows Trump leading by 2 points — Trump 42 percent, Clinton 40 percent, another candidate 13 percent and 5 percent undecided.
According to Real Clear Politics, most recent polls show Clinton leading by a couple of points.
Now along comes a Quinnipiac University poll of swing states that shows Trump has overtaken Clinton in Florida and Pennsylvania.
In Florida Trump is ahead of Clinton 42-39, an 11-point swing from June when Clinton led 47-39. In Pennsylvania Trump leads 43-14, a change from this past month’s Clinton lead of 42-41. They are tied in Ohio at 41 percent each, while the previous month’s poll had them tied at 40 percent each.
So, that settles that.

How a contested convention really works

Ramirez cartoon

Contested Republican Convention? Been there, done that.

Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book, “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln,” recounts the balloting at the May 1860 Republican National Convention in Chicago:

The convention finally settled down and the balloting began. Two hundred thirty-three votes would decide the Republican presidential nomination. The roll call opened with the New England states, which had been considered solidly for (William) Seward. In fact, a surprising number of votes went for Lincoln, as well as a scattering for (Salmon) Chase. Lincoln’s journey through New England after the Cooper Union speech had apparently won over a number of delegates. As expected, New York gave its full 70 votes to Seward, allowing him to leap far ahead. The Seward men relaxed until Virginia, which had also been considered solid for Seward, split its 22 votes between Seward and (Abraham) Lincoln. Chase had assumed that Ohio, which came next, would give him its full 46 votes, but the delegation was divided in its vote, giving 34 to Chase and the remaining 12 to Lincoln and (John) McLean. Perhaps the greatest surprise was Indiana, which (Edward) Bates had assumed was his territory; instead, Lincoln gathered all 26 votes. …

At the end of the first ballot, the tally stood: Seward 173 1/2; Lincoln 102; Chase 49; Bates 48. …

The second ballot revealed a crucial shift in Lincoln’s favor. In New England he picked up 17 more votes, while Delaware switched its 6 votes from Bates to Lincoln. Then came the biggest surprise of all, “startling the vast auditorium like a clap of thunder”: Pennsylvania announced 44 votes for Lincoln, boosting his total to 181, only 3 1/2 votes behind Seward’s new total of 184 1/2. … The race had narrowed to Seward and Lincoln. …

Spectators sat on the edge of their seats as the third ballot began. Lincoln gained 4 additional votes from Massachusetts and 4 from Pennsylvania, also adding 15 votes from Ohio. His total reached 231 1/2, only 1 1/2 votes shy of victory. “There was a pause,” (Murat) Halstead recorded. “In about ten ticks of a watch,” David K. Cartter of Ohio stood and announced the switch of 4 votes from Chase to Lincoln. “A profound stillness fell upon the Wigwam,: one eyewitness wrote. Then the Lincoln supporters “rose to their feet applauding rapturously, the ladies waving their handkerchiefs, the men waving and throwing up their hats by the thousands, cheering again and again.”

That is how a contested convention works. The person with a plurality doesn’t necessarily win. The delegates that first supported a losing candidate may choose to switch their votes on subsequent ballots to the second-place finisher or some other candidate.

But GOP front-runner Donald Trump told CNN a month ago: “I think we’ll win before getting to the convention, but if we didn’t and we’re 20 votes short, or we’re, you know, a hundred short, and we’re at 1,100 and somebody else is at 500 or 400, ’cause we’re way ahead of everybody, I don’t think you can say we don’t get it automatically. I think you’d have riots.”

Scottie Nell Hughes, a part of Trump’s campaign, told CNN: “The majority, the plurality, the people, the majority of the population have voted for Mr. Trump. … So you know, riots aren’t necessarily a bad thing if it means we’re fighting the fact that our establishment Republican party has gone corrupt and decided to ignore the voice of the people and ignore the process.”

On the first ballot in Chicago in 1860, of the four front-runners, Seward had almost 47 percent of the vote to Lincoln’s mere 27 percent and Chase and Bates at 13 points each.

The current delegate count of the four Republican front-runners, according to Real Clear Politics, shows Trump with almost 47 percent, followed by Ted Cruz with almost 38 percent, Marco Rubio with more than 10 percent and John Kasich with 9 points.

Cruz has more delegates than Lincoln did.



Wisconsin may provide a peek into GOP future

Wisconsin voters turn out today to select presidential nominees for each party. The GOP race is being closely watched as a make or break for both Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, though John Kasich is still in as a spoiler. There are 42 delegates at stake.

Trump currently has 737 delegates, but Cruz, Kasich and Marco Rubio have a combined 789.

Some polls, posted by Real Clear Politics, show Cruz winning Wisconsin and some Trump:


By most news accounts Trump has had a rough week. His campaign had to walk back his statement that women who get illegal abortions should be punished, and he then suggested Japan South Korea should have nukes to defend themselves.

How quickly will voters catch on to Trump’s shoot-from-the-lip lack of seriousness and outright laziness in failing to even try to be prepared to answer simply questions?

Thomas Sowell concludes in IBD today:

Instead of offering coherent plans for dealing with the nation’s problems, Trump skips that and boasts of the great things he will achieve. Those who dare to question are answered with cheap put-downs, often at a gutter level.

A man in his 60s, who is still acting like a spoiled adolescent, is not going to grow up in the next four years. And, as president, he would have the lives of us all, and our loved ones, in his hands, as well as the fate of this great nation at a fateful time.

There are signs that some people are belatedly waking up to the dangers that Donald Trump represents. We can only hope that the voters in Wisconsin are among them — and that voters in New York, California and elsewhere wake up before it is too late.

But some polls show Trump with a majority in New York.

Trump wants to make it easier to sue for libel when the media hurts his feelings

The GOP in Houston (Zuma photo via WSJ)

Donald Trump can dish it out but he can’t take.

In Fort Worth Friday he called for shredding the First Amendment and making it easier for thin-skinned politicians like himself to sue newspapers and others who criticize him by telling the truth.

Apparently with a stroke of his presidential pen or a call on the phone — but not an iPhone because he is boycotting Apple — he plans to “open up libel laws” to make it easier and more profitable to sue the media.

Never mind that the Supreme Court in N.Y. Times v. Sullivan held: “A State cannot, under the First and Fourteenth Amendments, award damages to a public official for defamatory falsehood relating to his official conduct unless he proves “actual malice” — that the statement was made with knowledge of its falsity or with reckless disregard of whether it was true or false.” But Trump never lets case law or the Constitution get in the way of one of his rants.

Here is a bit of what Trump had to say as reported by Real Clear Politics:

I’ll tell you what, I think the media is among the most dishonest groups of people I’ve ever met. They’re terrible. The New York Times, which is losing a fortune, which is a failing newspaper, which probably won’t be around that much longer, but probably somebody will buy it as a trophy, keep it going for a little longer. But I think The New York Times is one of the most dishonest media outlets I’ve ever seen in my life. The worst, the worst. The absolute worst. They have an agenda that you wouldn’t believe. And they’re run by incompetent people. They are totally incompetently run. Washington Post, I have to tell you, I have respect for Jeff Bezos, but he bought The Washington Post to have political influence and I got to tell you, we have a different country than we used to have. We have a different — He owns Amazon. He wants political influence so that Amazon will benefit from it. That’s not right. And believe me, if I become president, oh, do they have problems. They’re going to have such problems.

And one of the things I’m going to do, and this is only going to make it tougher for me, and I’ve never said this before, but one of the things I’m going to do if I win — and I hope I do and we’re certainly leading — is I’m going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money. We’re going to open up those libel laws. So that when The New York Times writes a hit piece, which is a total disgrace, or when the Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they’re totally protected. You see, with me, they’re not protected because I’m not like other people but I’m not taking money. I’m not taking their money. So we’re going to open up those libel laws folks and we’re going to have people sue you like you never got sued before. We have many things to do. We have many, many things to do.

Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal, who Trump has threatened to sue for pointing out his utter ignorance on various topics, said in an editorial today: “Ripping the press is old political hat, but it’s not every day that a potential President promises to use government power to punish critics. This follows his attack earlier this week on the Ricketts family of Chicago for donating to a Super Pac that has criticized him. ‘They better be careful, they have a lot to hide!’ he tweeted. Does he plan to sic the IRS on them?”

Trump is little more than a bully who can’t take the insults he is so frequently and vilely dishing out.

Now Trump has been caught in still another lie. He claims he can’t release his “beautiful” tax returns because he is being audited. NPR, among others, checked with various authorities and found there is nothing stopping him from releaseing his IRS form, whether he is being audited or not. Perhaps, he fears the embarrassment of the voters learning he is not such a fabulous and successful businessman after all.

Marco Rubio also caught Trump in being two-faced on immigration. As that WSJ editorial points out, despite his railing about illegal immigrants taking American jobs, he is one of those hiring those illegals.

“According to a New York Times report, some 300 Americans have applied or were referred to work at Mar-a-lago, his private club in Palm Beach, Florida, but 94% were turned down,” the editorial notes. “The resort filled the slots with foreign guest workers. Mr. Trump explained there aren’t enough ‘qualified’ Americans to go around, especially in season, and that without these foreign workers ‘you hurt your business.’ Wait a minute. That’s our argument for immigration reform and more legal immigration. Mr. Trump fails his own immigration test.”

Rubio also challenged Trump on hiring illegal Polish workers for a demolition project in New York and paid a settlement for doing so, but it is under seal. He uses the courts to hide his misdeeds. On stage he just stammered, denied and called everybody in sight liars.

George Will writing in Investor’s Business Daily notes that born-again conservative Trump is really running to the left of Bernie Sanders by promising, without any substance or details, to take care of everybody.

“Donald Trump, unencumbered by any ballast of convictions, would court Bernie Sanders’ disaffected voters with promises to enrich rather than reform the welfare state’s entitlement menu — Trump already says, ‘I am going to take care of everybody’ — and to make America great again by having it cower behind trade barriers,” Will writes.

Train wreck.