Sunday, August 28, 2016

Week 36: "Clowns to the Left of Me, Jokers to the Right..." (August 28, 2016)

Dear Readers,

The great chaos that is the 2016 election season keeps hurtling at us, and I’ll help you make sense of it all. Remember, all newsletters (and more) are available at
Days until General Election: 72

What Is Up With Paul LePage?
Paul LePage, Governor of Maine, has been often mentioned as a cabinet appointment for Trump. He was (relatively) quick to endorse Trump in the Republican primary. And this week, he went off the rails. He started by making racist remarks regarding blacks and Hispanics, saying

“I don’t ask them [drug dealers] to come to Maine and sell their poison, but they come. And I will tell you that 90-plus percent of those pictures in my book, and it’s a three-ring binder, are black and Hispanic people from Waterbury, Connecticut, the Bronx and Brooklyn. I didn’t make the rules – I’m just telling you what’s happening.”

After a fellow Maine lawmaker, who happened to be a Democrat, called him out - rightfully - for saying this, he defended his remarks at a town hall and then left the lawmaker a profane voicemail message.

“I’ve spent my life helping black people and you little son-of-a-****, socialist ****, I want you to record this and make it public because I am after you.”

LePage then told a reporter that he’d like to shoot the lawmaker “right between the eyes” in a gun duel.

The Clinton Foundation

This week, the AP found that Hillary Clinton was especially nice to Clinton Foundation donors while Secretary of State. She held a high amount of meetings with high-profile donors and listened to their concerns. This seems like a huge scandal - Why is it not?

That’s because very, very few of the donors’ suggestions ever went anywhere. Clinton may have listened to their concerns, but she merely listened and didn’t do anything about them or give them preferential treatment. She just held dinners with people who’d given money to the Clinton foundation, which does great work and shouldn’t be criticized like this.

Shocking Revelations

Last week, the world met Steve Bannon, Trump’s new campaign CEO. After only a week of media scrutiny, we now know how terrible he is. Some of this information comes from Bannon’s ex-wife, who claims that when choosing schools for his daughters, he decided to choose one school because he “didn’t want them going to school with Jews”. At a school tour, he also asked why there were so many Hanukkah books in the library. He also went to court over domestic violence allegations, though the case was dismissed.

Trump Walks Back His Main Campaign Message - Twice

From the beginning, Donald Trump made it known that his campaign was going to be about building a wall. Between mass deportation, tough border security, and the yuuuuge wall, Trump’s main message was that he was going to be tough on immigration. Guess what he did this week? Well, first, Mike Pence said that he wasn’t sure Trump would actually deport 11 million illegal immigrants, and people in the campaign confirmed this. Then, Trump walked this back, and other people in the campaign confirmed this as well. So, as of now, we have no idea whether Trump will deport anyone, but one thing we do know is that...

Trump’s Amazing Plan to Win Black Voters

...Trump’s new plan about communicating to black voters is terrible and basically overtly racist. After Trump’s bizarre boast that in his re-election campaign, he would win 95% of black voters, was backed up by Trump’s horrendous tweet: “Dwyane Wade's cousin was just shot and killed walking her baby in Chicago. Just what I have been saying. African-Americans will VOTE TRUMP!” His other message to African-Americans was along the lines of “your lives are already terrible - vote for me: what do you have to lose?”
This is, of course, terrible, and will certainly not work.

Clinton Addresses Alt-Right

In Reno this week, Hillary Clinton made a speech about the terrifying conservative movement that has recently grown thanks to Trump’s candidacy, the alt-right.

Some quotes:

“let’s not forget Trump first gained political prominence leading the charge for the so-called ‘Birthers.’”

“This is someone who retweets white supremacists online, like the user who goes by the name “white-genocide-TM.” Trump took this fringe bigot with a few dozen followers and spread his message to 11 million people.”

“The Trump campaign has also selected a prominent white nationalist leader as a delegate in California, and they only dropped him under pressure.

When asked in a nationally televised interview whether he would disavow the support of David Duke, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, Trump wouldn’t do it. And only later, again, under mounting pressure, did he backtrack.”

“The latest shake-up was designed to – quote – “Let Trump be Trump.” To do that, he hired Stephen Bannon, the head of a right-wing website called, as campaign CEO. To give you a flavor of his work, here are a few headlines they’ve published”

Senate Preview #7

Normally, a state like Missouri shouldn’t have a competitive senate race. However, Jason Kander is only about 5 points behind Roy Blunt in the polling average. Kander, the secretary of state, is a moderate, and there is a small possibility he can defeat sitting Senator Blunt.

Rating: Likely R


Nevada is the only competitive senate race currently held by a Democrat. Harry Reid, current Senate Minority Leader, is retiring. Running to fill his seat are Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez-Masto and Representative Joe Heck. Polling is competitive, but Nevada polls are notorious for being wrong and inexact.

Rating: Tilt D


Senator Kelly Ayotte’s re-election chances are in danger. Governor Maggie Hassan currently leads in most polls, and is receiving a lot of funding from Democrats nationwide. Trump’s disastrous margin in New Hampshire could spell the end of Ayotte.

Rating: Lean D

Seat Count:

This Week In World Elections

Gabon: The Gabonese election was held this week, but both president Ali Bongo Ondimba and diplomat Jean Ping are claiming victory. Results are not yet known, and there are insults being hurled by both sides.

Thanks for reading! As usual, comments are welcome!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Week 35: "#WheresHillary? Sleeping!!!!" (August 21, 2016)

Dear Readers,

The great chaos that is the 2016 election season keeps hurtling at us, and I’ll help you make sense of it all. Remember, all newsletters (and more) are available at
Days until General Election: 79

Trump’s New Campaign Manager

This week in Trump’s campaign has been - hectic, to say the least. It all started last Sunday when Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort was found having received a little bit of money from Ukraine. And by a little bit, I mean upwards of $10 million. Following this, and Trump’s recent comments regarding Russia, it was announced that the FBI has been investigating the companies who had sent the money to Manafort. There have also been some ties between Manafort and the invasion of Crimea, as well as between him and corrupt former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. (Read more here, here, and here). After all this, Manafort resigned. So, Trump needed a new campaign manager.

Where did he turn? To start, he named his campaign CEO, Stephen Bannon! Who is that?
“Stephen Bannon is an Irish-born British film director, film producer and music video director. He is best known for directing the films Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990), Coneheads (1993) and the innovative music videos for a-ha's "Take on Me" and Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean".”

Wait, never mind. That’s Steven Barron. Bannon is the owner of Breitbart, an alt-right pro-Trump site that features terrible people like Milo Yiannopoulos (that’s not just me being biased - just this week Yiannopoulos stole $100,000 that was supposed to go to charity!) He was also involved in the making of Clinton Cash.

For his campaign manager, he chose Kellyanne Conway. Conway had been one of Trump’s advisors for a total of a month and a half, and is also the head of the “Defeat Crooked Hillary PAC”. She also defended Todd Akin after he made an absolutely horrible statement about rape, and said the Republicans were wrong to criticize him.

Trump Is Still Mad at the Media

“I have been drawing very big and enthusiastic crowds, but the media refuses to show or discuss them. Something very big is happening!”

“The reporting at the failing @nytimes gets worse and worse by the day. Fortunately, it is a dying newspaper.”
And this doesn’t have to do with the media, but another couple of A+ quotes from his Twitter:

“They will soon be calling me MR. BREXIT!”
“#WheresHillary? Sleeping!!!!!”

Guess Who’s Back?

Trump’s new foreign policy advisor is... Michele Bachmann! “Former Minnesota Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann said she has been advising Trump on foreign policy and issues of concern to Christian conservatives. She said Trump is right to call for more restrictive immigration policies.

“He also recognizes there is a threat around the world, not just here in Minnesota, of radical Islam,” she said.”  (MPR News) Bachmann, a former 2012 presidential candidate, has about as much foreign policy experience as I do, and demonstrated that here by implying radical Islam is a major problem in Minnesota, and also the world.


Another twist in the non-issue that is Hillary Clinton’s email server happened this week when Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ruled that Clinton must “provide written testimony under oath about why she set up a private computer server to send and receive emails while secretary of state” (NYTimes). This is bad news for all of us who thought we were done with this after Comey’s decision, but I don’t believe this questioning will lead to any great revelations one way or another.

Polling Outlook

Averages in key swing states:
Arizona: Trump +2
Georgia: Trump +0.5
Iowa: Clinton +0.3
Nevada: Clinton +1.7
North Carolina: Clinton +2.2
Ohio: Clinton +3
Florida: Clinton +4.1
Pennsylvania: Clinton +8.7
Virginia: Clinton +10.3
New Hampshire: Clinton +11.3

Senate Preview #4

Senator and former presidential candidate Rand Paul faces a tougher battle than he should in a state like Kentucky. His challenger is Jim Gray, mayor of Lexington. Polling shows Paul modestly ahead of Gray, but Kentucky has a history of electing moderate Democrats (just ask Steve Beshear).

Rating: Likely R


David Vitter, who lost the 2015 gubernatorial race to John Bel Edwards thanks to brilliant attack advertising, is not running for a third term. Now, Louisiana’s elections work differently than most. On November, candidates from every party will be on the ballot, and the top two will advance to a runoff. Because of the magnitude of the field this time, there is thus a distinct possibility that white supremacist, former Klan leader, and former State Senator David Duke does a good enough job to make the runoff. So far, polling shows John Neely Kennedy with a large lead, but that was before Duke’s announcement, which cited Trump as a major factor in his decision to run.

Rating: Safe R, but if it’s Duke vs. a Democrat that could change


Barbara Mikulski’s years in the Senate have ended, and her successor will likely be Chris Van Hollen. Van Hollen, a US Representative, fought a tough primary against Donna Edwards, another Representative. Van Hollen ultimately won by 15 points and faces Kathy Szeliga, State Delegate.

Rating: Safe D

Seat Count:

This Week In World Elections

Gabon: Next Saturday, Gabon heads to the polls to vote for their next president. Their campaign season of 2 weeks makes ours look... very, very, very long. President Ali Bongo Ondimba is expected to win re-election. Other than some question on whether Ondimba is legally allowed to be president, since there are rumors that he was adopted, he should be able to win easily.

Thanks for reading! As usual, comments are welcome!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Week 34: Obama and Clinton Founded ISIS!? (August 14, 2016)

Dear Readers,

The great chaos that is the 2016 election season keeps hurtling at us, and I’ll help you make sense of it all. Remember, all newsletters (and more) are available at
Days until General Election: 86

Evan Who!?
Evan McMullin decided to launch an independent bid for president this week. The following dialogue takes place between you and I

You; Wait - Adam... Who the hell is Evan McMullin?
Me: Evan Who? Oh, right, McMullin. Well you see, he’s a 40-year-old former CIA officer
You: Well, why should I care?
Me: Well, apparently, he has backing from many prominent republicans, some of whom might even exist!
You: Wow! That’s impressive. But how can he appeal to voters?
Me: You see, the important part of this is that he’s a Mormon from Utah. If he gets on the ballot in Utah he can get tons of anti-Trump protest votes!
You: How’s he polling?
Me: No pollsters have included him yet!
You: He must be doing well, to have numbers like that.
Me: Yeah
You: Wait, why should I care again?
Me: Uh, I dunno. You shouldn’t.

McMullin was also chief policy director of the Republican House Conference. He is on the ballot in Colorado and Arkansas, and is - predictably - against both candidates.

Trump Flips Out at Media For Some Reason

Trump got really worked up over the course of 12 hours. He started by chastising the New York Times and wound up yelling vague falsehoods at “the media”. Here are some highlights:

“If the disgusting and corrupt media covered me honestly and didn't put false meaning into the words I say, I would be beating Hillary by 20%”

“Crooked Hillary Clinton is being protected by the media. She is not a talented person or politician. I am not only fighting Crooked Hillary, I am fighting the dishonest and corrupt media and her government protection process. People get it!”

“It is not "freedom of the press" when newspapers and others are allowed to say and write whatever they want even if it is completely false!”

“"Stay on message" is the chant. I always do - trade, jobs, military, vets, 2nd A, repeal Ocare, borders, etc - but media misrepresents!”

Second Amendment People
“If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people — maybe there is, I don’t know.” Or so said Mr. Trump. Now, we all know what the 2nd amendment is, and we all know what he means by this. Obviously, he was telling the NRA members to vote for him!
Well, yes, that was the excuse he used. But it’s fairly obvious this was a violent call for the assassination of Hillary Clinton. This rhetoric is completely not ok, and thankfully, Donald seems to be bleeding votes because of it. But it’s unfathomable for a major party candidate to call for the assassination of their opponent.

Obama Founded ISIS...
...Or so said Donald Trump. “Wait - What!?” You say. At a rally in Fort Lauderdale, Trump claimed “ISIS is honoring President Obama. He’s the founder of ISIS. He founded ISIS. I would say the co-founder would be ‘Crooked’ Hillary Clinton.” Now, Donald has both claimed that he was serious and that he was joking.

If he was joking: Yet another unfunny “joke” from Mr. Trump! This rhetoric, even in jokes, shouldn’t be used.
If he wasn’t: ISIS was founded in 2002, when Obama was a State Senator. If Obama’s blunders in the Illinois Senate founded an international terrorist organization, we have more to talk about here than Mr. Trump’s comments.

Polling Outlook

Averages in key swing states:
Georgia: Trump +0.5
Iowa: Trump +0.5
Nevada: Clinton +1.5
Ohio: Clinton +1.7
Florida: Clinton +3
North Carolina: Clinton +3.2
Pennsylvania: Clinton +8.9
New Hampshire: Clinton +11.4
Virginia: Clinton +12

Senate Preview #4
Todd Young seemed like a layup for the seat until Evan Bayh declared his candidacy. Former Senator Bayh might be the most popular politician in Indiana, and polling shows him leading by about 25 points.

Rating: Likely D

Chuck Grassley may be 83, but he’s running for election to a 7th term. Grassley has won each of his last 5 elections with landslide margins, and there’s no reason Democratic candidate Patty Judge, former Lieutenant Governor, will make this one different. Grassley should win comfortably come November

Rating: Likely R

Kansas’ Sen. Jerry Moran faces Patrick Wiesner, who, in his 3rd run for Senate, still has no Wikipedia page. Wiesner would only be competitive in the Democratic Party’s wildest dreams.

Rating: Safe R

Seat Count:

This Week In World Elections

Zambia: President Edgar Lungu, of the Patriotic Front, won 51% of the vote, defeating Hakainde Hichilema by 115,000 votes. EU observes remarked on the peaceful election, but claimed the media was biased, Results for the Assembly are not yet known.

Thanks for reading! As usual, comments are welcome!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Week 33: "It's Gonna Be RIGGED" (August 7, 2016)

Dear Readers,

The great chaos that is the 2016 election season keeps hurtling at us, and I’ll help you make sense of it all. Remember, all newsletters (and more) are available at
Days until General Election: 93

Richard Hanna Endorses Clinton
A GOP elected official finally gave in and endorsed Clinton. Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY) endorsed Clinton this week. Hanna, from upstate New York, is retiring after this year, and has no stake in the game politically any more, so it came at little risk for him to cross party lines. That being said, it is still a major moment for Clinton and the Democrats. Hanna remarked, "I think Trump is a national embarrassment. Is he really the guy you want to have the nuclear codes?" In the republican primary, Hanna’s county voted 57% for Trump. Hanna himself refrained from making an endorsement in the primaries.

“I'm telling you, Nov. 8th, we'd better be careful, because that election is going to be rigged"
I’ll give you 5 seconds to guess who said that.
Stumped? That’s right, it was Donald Trump. The man so confident in his greatness and his “winning” has effectively conceded the election to the “rigged” Democratic machine. He ominously added, "The government will be shut down if they attempt to steal this and swear Hillary in. No, we will not stand for it. We will not stand for it." To be fair, Trump did insist the debate schedule was rigged because of a single NFL game, so this is nothing new, but talking about stolen elections is the kind of stuff that leads to rioting.

An assortment of stuff:
-Trump insulted Somali refugees during a rally in Portland, Maine on Thursday, calling them “the great Trojan horse of all time”. The state’s Senator, Susan Collins (R-ME), remarked that “Mr. Trump’s statements disparaging immigrants who have come to this country legally are particularly unhelpful.”
-Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) said it would be very possible for Clinton to carry his state in November.
-For some reason, Trump held out from endorsing Paul Ryan and John McCain in their upcoming primaries

Senate Preview #4

Senator Brian Schatz faces many primary challengers, and various opponents on the Republican side. However, it is doubtful he will lose to any of those, since his primary opponents will split the vote, and Hawai’i is a very liberal state.

Rating: Unbelievably Safe D


Incumbent Senator Mike Crapo ran unopposed for his nomination. Businessman Jerry Sturgill also ran unopposed. Crapo led Sturgill by 37 in the sole poll so far.

Rating: Safe R


In what is sure to be among the closest races of the season, Tea Party senator Mark Kirk faces Representative, veteran, and all-around awesome person Tammy Duckworth. Both candidates have amazing stories and fought disability to run for Senate. Duckworth is permanently wheelchair-bound, and Kirk was until recently. The seat will be very close, and is the first key to the Democrats retaking the Senate.

Rating: Lean D

Seat Count:

This Week In World Elections

Thailand: There was a referendum on the new Thai constitution today. The constitution, reforming the appointing of the Senate, was approved by 61% of voters.

Sao Tome and Principe: President Manuel Pinto da Costa accused winner Evaristo Carvalho of voter fraud and boycotted the second round (meaning Carvalho becomes president)

Zambia: Elections for president and general assembly will be held on Thursday. The incumbent, Edgar Lungu, faces 8 other candidates, the most important being Hakainde Hichilema, a businessman running his 4th consecutive election. It will be joined on teh ballot by a constitutional referendum.

Thanks for reading! As usual, comments are welcome!