October 8, 2016


Disappearing Act: Mike Pence Leaves the Campaign Trail as Trump Struggles (Emily Zanotti, October 8, 2016, Heat Street)
Republican Vice Presidential contender Mike Pence won't be making appearances on behalf of the Republican ticket and he's so far declined to defend publicly Donald Trump's lewd comments from a 2005 audio tape.

After canceling an event in Wisconsin this morning -- a joint event with House Speaker Paul Ryan, where he was replacing a disinvited Donald -- all of Pence's scheduled appearances were scrubbed from Trump's campaign website.

Watching Donald try to kick him off the ticket for not defending serial sexual assault might be the greatest reality tv ever.

Donald Trump to Howard Stern: It's okay to call my daughter a 'piece of [***]' (Andrew Kaczynski, Chris Massie, and Nate McDermott, 10/08/16, CNN)

(CNN)Warning: This story contains graphic language.

Donald Trump engaged in crude and demeaning conversations about women over a 17-year-period with radio shock-jock Howard Stern, according to a review by CNN's KFile of hours of newly uncovered audio.

Among the topics Trump discussed: his daughter Ivanka's physique, having sex with women on their menstrual cycles, threesomes, and checking out of a relationship with women after they turn 35.

The Bottom Could Fall Out For Trump (Nate Silver, 10/08/16, 538)

The story has broken through the news cycle in a big way. Since Friday afternoon, Google searches for Trump are somewhere around four times as high as their already-insanely-high levels -- in line with the sort of spike that usually occurs around a debate.

But if we knew on Friday night that this would be a big story, it's become an even bigger story throughout the day today (Saturday) as dozens of GOP elected officials have either repudiated Trump, or unendorsed him, or called for him to resign his position at the top of the ticket. Trump had unusually low levels of support from these "party elites" to begin with, but we'd usually seen only a few prominent Republicans repudiate him at a time after past controversies. Now, the floodgates have opened, and the whole party is fleeing him. We've never seen anything like this in a modern American election campaign. Republicans in 1996 may have given up on Bob Dole to concentrate on saving the Congress, but they weren't calling for Dole to drop out 30 days before the election. [...]

Perhaps the most relevant piece of context, however, is that Trump was extremely unpopular to begin with. In our national polling average, he's varied between having 36 percent of the vote and 41 percent and was at about 40 percent heading into the weekend. That's awfully low for our modern, highly partisan era, in which all major-party nominees since 2000 have received at least 46 percent of the vote. Clinton isn't doing great either, but at about 45 percent in national polls, she's closer to the normal range.

True, both candidates also figure to pick up some undecided or third-party support and finish higher than their current raw numbers -- but put a pin in that thought for a moment.

On the one hand, the fact that Trump's support was so low to begin with could presumably mitigate the damage to him. If you're only getting 40 percent of the vote, the voters you do have are probably pretty committed to you -- and Trump has some passionate supporters.

On the other hand, the fact that Trump has only 40 percent of the vote means that the downside for him is awfully far down. What if he doesn't win over any undecideds, and 40 percent turns out to be more of a ceiling than a floor? Trump's unfavorable rating was approaching 60 percent even before the "hot mic" tape surfaced, which means he was already running into a headwind in terms of picking up additional support. Furthermore, he's targeted a narrow slice of the electorate instead of a majority coalition. He doesn't have much of a ground game to turn out his marginal voters, and, especially if he's losing in the polls, they could decide that it just isn't worth the time to vote.

If Trump gets stuck at 40 percent of the vote, you could wind up with an outcome like Clinton 51 percent, Trump 40 percent, Gary Johnson 7 percent, Jill Stein and others 2 percent, or something of that nature. That is, a double-digit win for Clinton, which could potentially yield somewhere around 400 votes for her in the Electoral College, and make states as exotic as Texas and Alaska competitive.

GOP Scrambles to Salvage Election After Donald Trump's Latest Imbroglio (JANET HOOK,  BETH REINHARD and  REID J. EPSTEIN, Oct. 8, 2016, WSJ)

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus on Saturday told party officials to redirect funds away from nominee Donald Trump to down-ballot candidates, according to an official informed of the decision. In practical terms, the party will be working to mobilize voters who support GOP House and Senate candidates regardless of their position on the presidential race.

That means the RNC will push Floridians who support both Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio to vote. Before today, the RNC wouldn't have sought to turn out Clinton voters, leaving split-ticket voters for Senate campaigns to target.

Posted by at October 8, 2016 8:30 PM