The Morning Jolt

It’s Like No One Remembers Who John Warner Is

Most of the Washington media is acting like it’s an enormous surprise that former senator John Warner of Virginia is endorsing Hillary Clinton.

People, people . . . Sometimes I feel like the only man with memory in land of amnesiacs. It was just two years ago that Warner was endorsing the Democrat in the Senate race.

Retired Republican Sen. John Warner endorsed his Democratic successor and onetime rival Mark Warner on Monday in his race against Ed Gillespie.

The 86-year-old told POLITICO that the state benefits from the seniority in the Senate that the 59-year-old Warner (the two are not related) is accumulating. The former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee also praised the younger Warner – with whom he has developed a friendship since the two squared off in a race nearly two decades ago – for effectively advocating on behalf of the state’s large military presence.

John Warner is the kind of Republican who supported Roe v. Wade and embryonic stem cell research, voted for the Brady Bill, sought to extend the Assault Weapons Ban, voted to reject the nomination of Robert Bork, voted against Bill Clinton’s impeachment, broke with the rest of the party on the Terry Schiavo case, was part of the Gang of 14 on the “nuclear option,” co-sponsored a resolution opposing the 2007 surge of additional U.S. troops in Iraq, and cosponsored cap-and-trade legislation.

John Warner is exactly the kind of Republican you would expect to see endorse Hillary Clinton.

Who Will Win More Votes Where It Counts, Trump or GOP Senate Candidates?

The piece of data that will most illuminate 2016 is Donald Trump’s vote total in key states compared to the vote totals of the Republican Senate candidates in those states.

The easy, lazy narrative is that a tired, unappealing Republican establishment was sputtering, and then Trump came along, energizing working-class white voters, and he represents a better, more broadly-appealing agenda for the party and represents the GOP future.

The current RealClearPolitics averages in each state tell a completely different story.

Right now, Trump is running a little ahead of GOP Senate candidates in a couple of states . . .

Trump’s current level in the RCP average in Colorado: 41 percent.

Darryl Glenn’s current level in the RCP average in Colorado: 40.4 percent.

Trump’s current level in the RCP average in Indiana: 45 percent.

Todd Young’s current level in the RCP average in Indiana: 40.5 percent.

Trump’s current level in the RCP average in Missouri: 46.7 percent.

Roy Blunt’s current level in the RCP average in Missouri: 44.6 percent.

Trump’s current level in the RCP average in North Carolina: 42.3 percent.

Richard Burr’s current level in the RCP average in North Carolina: 42.2 percent.

Trump is running a little behind GOP Senate candidates in a bunch of states . . .

Trump’s current level in the RCP average in Florida: 43.3 percent.

Marco Rubio’s current level in the RCP average in Florida: 46.4 percent.

Trump’s current level in the RCP average in Georgia: 45.4 percent.

Johnny Isakson’s current level in the RCP average in Georgia: 49 percent.

Trump’s current level in the RCP average in Illinois: 34.5 percent.

Mark Kirk’s current level in the RCP average in Illinois: 37.5 percent.

Trump’s current level in the RCP average in Nevada: 42.8 percent.

Joe Heck’s current level in the RCP average in Nevada: 45 percent.

Trump’s current level in the RCP average in Pennsylvania: 41.8 percent.

Pat Toomey’s current level in the RCP average in Pennsylvania: 42.2 percent.

Trump’s current level in the RCP average in Wisconsin: 38 percent.

Ron Johnson’s current level in the RCP average in Wisconsin: 41.3 percent.

And Trump is running way behind GOP Senate candidates in another couple of states.

Trump’s current level in the RCP average in Arizona: 40.4 percent.

John McCain’s current level in the RCP average in Arizona: 49.7 percent.

Trump’s current level in the RCP average in Iowa: 42.8 percent.

Chuck Grassley’s current level in the RCP average in Iowa: 52 percent.

Trump’s current level in the RCP average in New Hampshire: 37.3 percent.

Kelly Ayotte’s current level in the RCP average in New Hampshire: 47.3 percent.

Trump’s current level in the RCP average in Ohio: 42.7 percent.

Rob Portman’s current level in the RCP average in Ohio: 49.3 percent.

All appropriate caveats apply: polls can be wrong, a bad sample can throw off the RCP average, et cetera. After the election, when all the votes are counted, we’ll have real data. Some will argue that this is an imperfect measuring stick, because Trump is competing against Clinton as well as Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, and most third-party candidates in Senate races are minimally consequential. Of course, this is part of the point. Trump alienates and repels a portion of the electorate that is usually more open to voting for a Republican nominee.

Hey, Remember Education?

The American Enterprise Institute’s education policy wonk Rick Hess makes a key point on how a more partisan political atmosphere erodes cooperation on the most basic and previously-unifying policy areas:

For the past quarter-century, schooling has played a significant symbolic role in presidential contests. For Republicans, education was a way to demonstrate sincerity when talking about an opportunity society. Absent meaningful educational opportunity, talk of liberty and personal responsibility can ring hollow. Thus, a pledge to leave “no child behind” became the signature of George W. Bush’s “compassionate conservatism” in 2000. For Democrats, education helped mark a break with the tax-and-spend liberalism of the 1970s and 1980s. By talking of “investing” in schools and colleges, 1990s Democrats argued that they wanted only to ensure that hard-working Americans had a fair shot.

In an election season where such centrist appeals seem quaint, education has mostly stayed on the sidelines. That hints at what’s ahead for education, but it also says even more about this race and the state of American politics today.

Education was barely mentioned at all in Monday’s debate.

ADDENDA: Thanks to the 13,000 or so people who watched yesterday’s Facebook Live discussion; you can find it here.

There are no good guys. Trump’s comments to Alicia Machado were crude, snide, and the story of him referring to her as “Miss Housekeeping” is probably going to play very, very badly with Latino voters.

But is indeed worth noting that Machado also allegedly drove the getaway car in a shooting in Caracas, Venezuela and threatened to kill a judge.

Her response to Anderson Cooper last night: “That moment in Venezuela was wrong . . . The point is, that happened, 20 years ago.”

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