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Washington Report October 14, 2016
14 Oct 2016

Washington Report October 14, 2016

Only 25 days till Election Day. And other news of the week.
PS. Last call to register to vote if you live in New York, North Carolina, Idaho, Oklahoma, Delaware, or Virginia.

WHAT TO SAY WHEN YOU THINK 2016 CAN’T GET ANY WORSE Skimm “Just wait. Yesterday, four women said Republican nominee Donald Trump made unwanted sexual advances on them in the past. One woman said Trump groped her. Another said he kissed her on the mouth outside an elevator in Trump Tower moments after she introduced herself. A third said Trump inappropriately touched her while sitting next to each other on a flight. And a fourth said Trump pushed her against a wall and kissed her without her consent when she was interviewing him for People magazine. Trump denies all of the allegations. This all comes less than a week after a 2005 video recording surfaced where Trump is heard talking about making sexual advances toward women. Then at last weekend’s second presidential debate, he explained that this was just “locker room talk.” Moderator Anderson Cooper asked Trump if he’d ever actually done any of the things he describes in the tape. He said “no, I have not.” These women beg to differ. The 2005 recording led a lot of GOP leaders to un-endorse Trump. TBD on whether this latest news does the same.”
— @rulajebreal : “Ten women made allegations of sexual assault against Trump in one day: 4 in BuzzFeed 2 in NYT 2 Guardian 1 in Palm Beach Post 1 on FB”

NYPost Cover: “Trump vs. His Accusers … The Media … Republicans … Democrats … The World …

NEW YORK TIMES JUST DARED DONALD TRUMP TO SUE NYTs letter to Donald Trump’s legal team in response to a retraction request about The Times’s article Two Women Say Donald Trump Touched Them Inappropriately


IT’S NOT THE ‘LOCKER ROOM’ TALK. IT’S THE ‘LOCK HER UP’ TALK Charles Krauthammer in the WaPO “Such incendiary talk is an affront to elementary democratic decency and a breach of the boundaries of American political discourse. In democracies, the electoral process is a subtle and elaborate substitute for combat, the age-old way of settling struggles for power. … Vladimir Putin, Hugo Chávez and a cavalcade of two-bit caudillos lock up their opponents. American leaders don’t. One doesn’t even talk like this. It takes decades, centuries, to develop ingrained norms of political restraint and self-control. But they can be undone in short order by a demagogue feeding a vengeful populism.” (The earth has stopped spinning, I agree with Charles Krauthammer.)


TWO SPEECHES CRYSTALLIZE THE STATE OF CAMPAIGN 2016 WaPo “Two speeches. Two Americas. A pair of apocalyptic arguments and one call to burn down the house. That’s the summation from just two remarkable hours Thursday that crystallized the final month of Campaign 2016. In back-to-back appearances, in what might be the two most compelling hours of the entire election, Michelle Obama in New Hampshire and Donald Trump in Florida delivered the fiercest, most provocative and hardest-hitting speeches of an election cycle that has been without precedent in hot rhetoric. …

“Obama’s was a scorching takedown of the Trump who was revealed in the ‘Access Hollywood’ hot-mic video, a sexual predator who bragged about using his celebrity status to go after women. The impassioned first lady said that, no matter one’s political affiliation, Trump’s language is an affront to women and girls – and to men and boys as well. She pleaded with voters not to allow him to occupy the highest office in the land.

“Trump’s was an angry and all-out defense against overnight charges of sexual assault by multiple women coupled with a blistering attack on an establishment that he charged is led by Hillary and Bill Clinton, protected by a complicit news media and so totally corrupt that it threatens the very future of country.”


TRUMP’S VERY BAD MORMON PROBLEM The Fix “Most of the very first Republican lawmakers to disown Donald Trump and call for him to drop out of the presidential race … came from one relatively small state: Utah.That was no surprise. This reliably Republican state hates Donald Trump. And the reason is clear and unmistakable: It’s because of Mormons, who are very conservative and normally very Republican, but who are also very anti-Trump (Trump’s fav is 19%, UnFav 69% among Mormons). Now, these Mormon voters aren’t going to Clinton, mind you — despite a new push this week aimed specifically at that demographic — but they have found a home with [3rd party candidate Evan] McMullin, a Mormon and Utahn who is focusing intently not just on Utah as a state, but on fellow Utah Mormons. In fact, McMullin remains basically unknown to everybody but Utah Mormons.”

What’s pretty clear right now is that, if casting a ballot for Evan McMullin weren’t essentially a protest vote, he’d likely be winning Utah and depriving Trump of 6 electoral votes right now. He still may do it, of course. It just depends on how much Mormons decide they really dislike Trump.


POLITICAL CONTORTIONISTS Politico “Republicans who swore off Trump pledge to still vote for him’ “A growing stream of congressional Republicans are performing an Olympic-level political contortion over Donald Trump: They’re still pledging to back their nominee for president, even after calling on him to step aside. South Dakota Sen. John Thune, the third-ranking Senate Republican, said in a local interview late Tuesday night that he plans to vote for the GOP’s nominee – a stance that would seem to contradict the senator’s anti-Trump statement from Saturday, when he called for Trump to step aside and let Mike Pence assume the top of the ticket … AND THEN “Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) was forced to explain that she was still supporting the Trump-Pence ticket, although she said in no uncertain terms Saturday that Trump should withdraw from the ticket and let Pence take over. On Tuesday, Fischer acknowledged that Trump wouldn’t budge and added, ‘I respect his decision.’ ‘I plan to vote for Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence on Nov. 8,’ she said on Nebraska’s KLIN. ‘I put out a statement … with regard to Mr. Trump’s comments. I felt they were disgusting. I felt they were unacceptable and I never said I was not voting for our Republican ticket.'” More, including the GOP nominee for Senate in Colorado, Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) and Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.)

NOT EXACTLY RAINBOWS AND BUTTERFLIES Politico “Donald Trump said Paul Ryan made a ‘sinister deal’ to undermine him … [he] was especially miffed that Ryan had not called to congratulate him on Sunday night’s debate, which most scientific polls showed Trump losing. MEANWHILE… — “Ryan sounds alarm on Trump: The speaker tells donors that the GOP nominee is doing worse than McCain in ’08, when Republicans lost 21 seats. “During a conference call, [Speaker Paul] Ryan said he believed that House Republicans had taken a serious hit amid Donald Trump’s freefall following release of the now-infamous ‘Access Hollywood’ video, according to a person who was on the call. Ryan noted that Republicans lost more than 20 seats in 2008, when John McCain lost to Barack Obama by seven percentage points. By comparison, Ryan pointed out grimly, Trump is trailing by around 10 percent nationally.”
REPUBLICANS SAY CUT IT OUT Politico “It’s not just the Democrats who are frustrated by Donald Trump’s “rigged election” talk. Republicans have started warning their increasingly ostracized nominee to stop stoking his supporters with claims that the 2016 election will be stolen, daring him to show proof or put a lid on it. … Such sustained and supercharged rhetoric, coming on the heels of a heated debate over restrictive voter ID laws across the country and the U.S. government’s Friday announcement accusing Russian hackers, on orders from the Kremlin, of trying to meddle with the election, has raised alarm bells in election offices nationwide. States already bracing for record turnout in the presidential race are also dealing simultaneously with an unprecedented series of cyberthreats, including what the Homeland Security Department has confirmed as attempted hacks on more than 20 voting registration systems across the country. While the balloting itself is largely seen as safe from cybersleuths because the bulk of the actual voting process takes place offline, the state officials doing the grunt work complain that charges of election rigging, on top of the complaints they hear about ballot security, make their jobs that much tougher.””


ATTN: TRUMP TOWER Politico “RNC TV ad spending for Trump: $0” “The [RNC] insists that it’s doing everything in its power to elect Donald Trump, but as Trump gets clobbered on the TV airwaves by his well-funded Democratic rival, the RNC has been conspicuously absent. [An] analysis of campaign finance records reveals that the committee has not spent anything on commercials boosting Trump since he emerged as the party’s likely nominee. That’s a stark departure from recent elections. … The lack of air cover has prompted grumbling from Trump aides and allies, many of whom believe that the RNC was never fully supportive of their candidate and that it’s now turning its back completely on the anti-establishment nominee as his poll numbers crater.”


[M]embers of the traveling press were called ‘whores’ and ‘press-titutes’ as they filed out of a Thursday afternoon rally in West Palm Beach. … Crowds that once booed and shouted at the press mainly at Trump’s prompting … have now begun spontaneously targeting the press on their own, at a scale not yet seen in this campaign, or any in memory on American soil.” (Politico)

-Seema Mehta (@Seema): “Press at Trump evening rally getting escorted to motorcade under watch of cops in riot gear, per pool. This is getting increasingly scary.”


NUMBERS DON’T LIE Politico “The Florida Dems are beating the GOP in voter-registration forms submitted by 503,000 to 60,000.” (FYI … Keep in mind that Obama won Florida in 2012 by .01%. So, this increase in voter registration and turning them out at the polls could easily be the deciding factor in the state.)


2016-10-09_senate_map                                    2016 Senate Ratings Map – Sabato’s Crystal Ball (UVA Center for Politics)

WISHFUL THINKING OR BONA FIDE PREDICTION? The Fix “At this point, it’s more the former. Democrats taking over the House is still in the realm of the hypothetical — with little polling data to back it up — but it’s also not as outlandish as it may have once seemed, given Donald Trump’s mushrooming problems. The Fix has just updated its 2016 House race ratings, and while some races have moved in Democrats’ favor, several others have moved in Republicans’ favor. It’s just too early to know the full effect of Trump’s terrible two weeks and how much it filters downballot; it takes time to conduct polling, and polling of House races is scattershot as it is.” WHAT WE DO KNOW To take over the House, Democrats need to pretty well run the table. We currently rate 52 seats as at least somewhat competitive, and Democrats would need to win 38 — 71% — of them to get to 218 seats and a House majority. To do that, they would need to hold all 12 seats we currently rate as “lean Democratic,” all 17 we currently rate as “toss-up,” and nine of the 23 seats we currently rate as “lean Republican.” In other words, they probably need to see those “lean Republican” seats shift into the “toss-up” category in the coming weeks. As of now, not even Democrats are saying that has happened.”


WHAT’S NEXT FOR PAUL RYAN Politico “Paul Ryan has had a charmed political career. Congressman at 29, then chairman of two powerful committees, vice-presidential nominee and speaker of the House by 45. NEWSFLASH TO JANESVILLE: Ryan’s post-election career could take a number of different turns after Nov. 8 – none of them especially attractive. And as Ryan goes, so will Washington governance over the next few years. … [A] look at the three strongest possibilities for his immediate future … Ryan retains slim House majority … Ryan leaves Congress … Minority leader Paul Ryan.”FULL ARTICLE

RYAN BRINGS IN MASSIVE FUNDRAISING HAUL the Speaker’s team raised $15.4 million in the most recent quarter. (The Hill)


TRUMP INC. “Can Trump the brand survive Trump the man?” Politico “Market-tracking reports from companies such as Redfin, Hipmunk and Foursquare have already found that Trump-branded properties were suffering well before his infamous comments aired last week and new accusations of assault emerged. Their research, albeit incomplete, covered everything from condo prices and hotel bookings to foot traffic at his leisure properties. It’s tricky to have a founder’s name on a brand when its founders or heirs go sideways. Martha Stewart Living learned that the hard way. Partying Paris Hilton famously caused her family headaches.”


INSURERS NOT INTERESTED IN SELLING OBAMACARE ACROSS STATE LINES The Hill ” Donald Trump had one response when asked about how he would replace ObamaCare at this week’s presidential debate: He’ll allow companies to sell insurance across state lines.The GOP’s decade-old talking point has gained momentum since the healthcare law passed six years ago. But Republicans rarely — if ever — acknowledge that the crux of what they want is already allowed under ObamaCare. For the last 10 months, states have been legally allowed to let insurers sell plans outside their borders. Despite the idea’s enduring popularity, no states have signaled interest in the policy, insurance experts and regulators say. And the federal government never even finished writing the rules for how it would work. “Insurers aren’t interested at this point,” Linda Blumberg, a senior fellow on health policy at the Urban Institute, said in an interview. “It’s kind of a lot of effort for no necessary return. ObamaCare’s little-known provision that allows insurers to sell plans across state lines was tucked inside the 1,000-page law at the time of its passage, though it didn’t go into effect until January 2016. Under the law, two or more states can band together into what’s called a “healthcare choice compact.” That means people can buy health coverage from another state that wouldn’t be subjected to the rules of their home state, as long as those states agree.”


WHAT ELIZABETH WARREN IS READING -“Wells Fargo’s Textbook Case of Botched Crisis Management: CEO John Stumpf was slow to respond to outrage over employee misdeeds, stonewalling senators and irking No. 1 shareholder Warren Buffett,” by WSJ. “The botched response, a textbook example of how not to handle a crisis, reached a peak when Mr. Stumpf stepped down Wednesday after nearly 35 years at the bank and nine years as CEO. It was an ignominious end to a chief who had overseen Wells Fargo as it grew, at one point, to be the largest bank in the world by market value.”


WHAT D.C. IS REALLY TALKING ABOUT — Michelin’s FIRST dining guide to D.C. came out yesterday. No three-star restaurants. TWO STARS: Jose Andres’ Minibar, Aaron Silverman’s Pineapple and Pearls and Patrick O’Connell’s The Inn at Little Washington. ONE STAR: Rose’s Luxury, The Dabney, Blue Duck Tavern, Kinship, Plume, Tail Up Goat, Masseria, Fiola and Sushi Taro.”


@NobelPrize: “BREAKING 2016 #NobelPrize in Literature to Bob Dylan ‘for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition'”

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