The Morning Jolt

The ‘Toss Up’ States That Don’t Really Look Like Toss-Ups Anymore

USA Today’s projection of the Electoral College map currently has Hillary Clinton winning 263 electoral votes, Donald Trump winning 180, and 95 in the “toss up” category.

Much to the frustration of everyone hoping to see Hillary Clinton defeated, this map is probably too skeptical about her chances in some key states. The map lists Wisconsin as “toss up” but Clinton has never trailed there, or even been tied with Trump. The map lists North Carolina as “toss up,” but Clinton has led the last 13 polls. Florida is also listed as a toss up; Clinton has led the last eight polls there. The last eight polls in Nevada show Clinton leading in seven and a tie in the eighth; that state is listed as a “toss up.”

Utah is in the Trump pile, even though the last three surveys in that state show Evan McMullin down by one point, ahead by 4 points, and down by one point.

In short, the map is just about as bad as it can get for a Republican nominee. Even in the worst moments of the McCain campaign in 2008, the GOP never feared losing Texas. A new CBS poll puts Trump up by 3 points in the Lone Star State. Only two polls have been conducted of Arizona this month; one puts Clinton ahead by 5 points, the other by 2 points.

Trump fans can insist that every poll by every pollster is rigged; that every poll is failing to sample all of those notoriously shy Trump voters, and that Alex Jones has the real scoop on what’s really going on:

Jones repeated his mantra that Trump’s internal polls show him winning in a landslide and that all those public polls you read about that show Clinton ahead were disinformation to make a Democratic theft of the election look plausible.

Maybe all of those women voters are partaking in early voting because they concur with Trump’s assessment that “nobody has more respect for women than I do.”

In three crucial battlegrounds — North Carolina, Florida and Georgia — women are casting early ballots in disproportionate numbers. And in North Carolina, a must-win state for Trump with detailed early voting data available, it’s clear that Democratic women have been particularly motivated to turn out or turn ballots in.

Nearly 6 million people have voted in the 2016 election already.

Spouses of Politicians Should Not Investigate Political Corruption Allegations

Well, this stinks to high heaven.

The political organization of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, an influential Democrat with longstanding ties to Bill and Hillary Clinton, gave nearly $500,000 to the election campaign of the wife of an official at the Federal Bureau of Investigation who later helped oversee the investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s email use.

Campaign finance records show Mr. McAuliffe’s political-action committee donated $467,500 to the 2015 state Senate campaign of Dr. Jill McCabe, who is married to Andrew McCabe, now the deputy director of the FBI.

The Virginia Democratic Party, over which Mr. McAuliffe exerts considerable control, donated an additional $207,788 worth of support to Dr. McCabe’s campaign in the form of mailers, according to the records. That adds up to slightly more than $675,000 to her candidacy from entities either directly under Mr. McAuliffe’s control or strongly influenced by him. The figure represents more than a third of all the campaign funds Dr. McCabe raised in the effort.

Mr. McAuliffe and other state party leaders recruited Dr. McCabe to run, according to party officials. She lost the election to incumbent Republican Dick Black.

Andrew McCabe might be the straightest arrow in the entire quiver of the Bureau, and Mrs. McCabe might have never even discussed the Clinton prosecution with him. But if your spouse is going to be involved in politics, you should not oversee criminal investigations of political figures. It will always present the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Is everybody at the FBI married to a partisan political figure?

Time for ‘America’s Dad’ to Send Some People to Their Room

This weekend on Saturday Night Live, Tom Hanks, recently called “America’s Dad” by some magazine, gave a tongue-in-cheek fatherly pep talk to the nation.

I think he could have offered a sterner tone. CNN’s Sara Murray details what she’s seen on the campaign trail with Trump, from both his grassroots supporters and his grassroots opponents:

When we arrived in San Jose in June, I wanted to see the Trump event from the other side. I was roaming the streets on protest duty — an assignment that was largely quiet until Trump’s rally started to disperse.

Anti-Trump protesters started hunting for people in the signature “Make America Great Again” hats and t-shirts.

A flash caught my eye. It was a teenager in Trump gear, sprinting with a mob in pursuit. The kid didn’t stop running until he was safely ensconced behind a wall of police officers wearing riot gear.

I interviewed him and his father afterward. They held up a pile of Trump campaign signs they hoped to bring home from the rally that night; each one had been ripped out of their hands, shredded by protesters who reviled Trump.

Over the course of a year and a half, I’ve seen Trump supporters who have spit in protesters’ faces. I’ve seen them hurl racial slurs with abandon.

I’ve also watched protesters cold-cock Trump supporters — and vice versa — in fits of rage. And I’ve watched Trump opponents harass a woman and pelt her with eggs.

This behavior is a national scandal and embarrassment. This kind of violence, intolerance, and free-floating rage is the sort of thing we associate with the anarchic corners of the third world, not the leader of the free world, a constitutional republic that has seen spirited debates all the way back to the founding.

It would be great if both candidates could give an impassioned denunciation of any acts of violence or bullying of the opposition, and it would be even better if either candidate had the moral authority to actually shame their supporters.

ADDENDA: The New York Times observes that the Middle East is a flaming disaster, and the next president will have limited options:

The 45th president will inherit problems associated with the region that are vastly more challenging than any in a generation as the old order has given way to a kaleidoscopic mix of alliances, rivalries and overlapping crises. In the past, presidents have viewed the region through the prism of the Cold War, terrorism or Israel, but those paradigms have shifted dramatically.

Today there is no single overarching issue but multiple ones. Syria, Iraq and Yemen are caught up in war. Turkey and Jordan are inundated by refugees. Russia has reasserted itself as a major player in the region. Libya is searching for stability after the fall of its longtime dictator. The Kurds are on the march. Egypt is fighting off a terrorist threat at home. And Saudi Arabia and Iran are waging a profound struggle for the future of the region.

Gee, that almost sounds like the results of a failed foreign-policy from a failed president, doesn’t it?

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