Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The First Debate: A Recap

In the first debate last night, there were no great one-liners, no memorable moments, and no major gaffes. However, Hillary Clinton consistently outperformed Donald Trump by remaining calm as Trump shouted angrily about something or another. It didn't help that Trump had some terrible answers, especially on race issues.


Clinton did not have an incredible debate, but she seemed very presidential as her opponent did not. She didn't fall into the traps Trump often laid for his Republican opponents back in the primaries, and set some very good traps that Trump easily fell into.


Trump didn't do awfully, but he gave a lot of non-answers and appeared irritated and often angry. It was clear he was overmatched and underprepared.

However, as usual, we must wait to see what the polls say.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Week 40: The Greatest Show on Earth (September 25, 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 www.electreport.blogspot.com
Days until General Election: 44
Days until 1st Debate: 1

New York Times, Cincinnati Enquirer Endorse Clinton

For the first time in over a hundred years, the Cincinnati Enquirer has endorsed a Democrat. The same paper that published a story asking: “Religion and science: Whose history is right?” in June, the same paper that endorsed Barry Goldwater, has come around to Hillary Clinton. The New York Times, the most read paper in America, also endorsed Clinton this week and published a scathing anti-Trump editorial. (You can read it here, I’d recommend it.) Newspaper endorsement carry a very small amount of weight nowadays, but these are two of the most important ones, and could make a small difference.

Ted Cruz Endorses Trump

The man who got up on stage at the RNC and said “Vote your conscience” to a chorus of boos has finally given in and endorsed Trump. Texan Senator and former 2016 candidate Ted Cruz announced he would be supporting Trump after months of saying the opposite, Cruz described the decision as “agonizing” and wouldn’t tell press whether Trump was qualified to be president, so it’s a very unenthusiastic endorsement, but it will send a signal to some Never-Trump holdouts.

HW Bush Endorses Clinton

In a similar vein, it was announced this week that former president George H.W. Bush will be supporting Hillary. He was fairly close with Bill Clinton in their respective times in office, so this isn’t hugely surprising, but it means that 4 of the 5 living former presidents support Clinton, with the other unknown.

Get Ready for the Flying Circus!

But the most important news of all is that the debates are coming: Tomorrow, Trump and Clinton square off in Long Island. The moderator will be Lester Holt. And the ratings will be - shall we say - YUUUUGE. Notably absent will be Gary Johnson, who fell way under the 15% threshold required to appear on stage. No doubt there will be some protest, but this wasn’t very surprising.
Anyway, on to my predictions - I have no idea what will happen. It is clear that Clinton is much more prepared than Trump is, and Clinton, being more used to this medium, should do better. However, Trump has set high expectations very low, and it's possible that he could get away with a poor performance. But we did see that Trump was strong in the debates in the primaries, and it’s possible that he could rattle Hillary and have a very, very good performance. It will mostly come down to expectations, and, as usual, who ever can get the best soundbite.

Senate Preview #11

Senator Mike Lee, a profound voice in the anti-Trump movement, easily won his party’s nomination and should be able to beat Misty Snow with no difficulty. Trump’s lack of success in Utah has barely affected Lee.

Rating: Safe R


Patrick Leahy is the longest serving active Senator, and he is seeking re-election at the age of 76. His opposition, Scott Milne, will struggle to get 30%, especially given that Leahy is very popular.

Rating: Safe D

Seat Count

This Week In World Elections

Russia: Putin’s party earned only 54% of the vote, but won 343 of 450 seats, well more than those needed for a majority. Only 2 other parties received 10%, and we can safely conclude the elections were very rigged.

Isle of Man: Independents won 21 of the 24 seats in the House of Keys last week. The Liberal Vannin party won an additional 3, and the new Labour party won 773 votes and 0 seats.

Thanks for reading! As usual, comments are welcome!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Week 39: "Laughingstock Rag" (September 18, 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 www.electreport.blogspot.com
Days until General Election: 51
Days until 1st Debate: 8

Trump Contradicts 5 Years of Rhetoric, Concedes that Obama Was Born In America

After saying - nay, screaming - the opposite for five years, and pledging $5,000,000 to anyone who could convince him, Trump has finally admitted Obama was born in America. Birtherism, insane as it may be, was what first made Trump a hero of the right and, especially, the alt-right. It’s nothing new for Trump to double back on a position he’s held for a long time, but the way he did this was particularly awful. He started the event an hour late, had thirty minutes of military endorsements, and then said three sentences. All in all, he got almost two hours of coverage for one statement, which contradicted a basic tenet of his campaign..

A Week In Trump Tweets

“Never met but never liked dopey Robert Gates. Look at the mess the U.S. is in. Always speaks badly of his many bosses, including Obama.”

“The failing @nytimes has gone nuts that Crooked Hillary is doing so badly. They are willing to say anything, has become a laughingstock rag! My lawyers want to sue the failing @nytimes so badly for irresponsible intent. I said no (for now), but they are watching. Really disgusting”

“Wacky @NYTimesDowd, who hardly knows me, makes up things that I never said for her boring interviews and column. A neurotic dope!”

“I was never a fan of Colin Powell after his weak understanding of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq = disaster. We can do much better!”

Reince Priebus Attempts to Circumvent Rules...

In order to heal his party, he threatened all 2016 contenders not supporting Trump by saying that if they ran again, they’d have trouble making it on the ballot in South Carolina. Priebus said on Face the Nation: “People in our party are talking about what we’re going to do about this. I mean there’s a ballot access issue in South Carolina. In order to be on the ballot in South Carolina, you actually have to pledge your support to the nominee, no matter who that person is. So what’s the penalty for that? It’s not a threat, but that’s just the question that we have a process in place.”

Senate Preview #9

Pat Toomey’s days in the Senate seem numbered. The incumbent is in one of the closest races in the country, against Katie McGinty, former Secretary of the EPA in Pennsylvania, McGinty defeated 2010 nominee Joe Sestak in the primary, and while polls generally show her leading Toomey, the race is volatile,

Rating: Tilt D


This is one of the most boring races. Tim Scott, a popular incumbent, should easily secure re-election against pastor Thomas Dixon, who has no Wikipedia page, and is not competitive. Scott should win this seat by at least 25 points,

Rating: Safe R


Long-time Senator John Thune could fall asleep for 6 months and still win this election. Thune faces important Yankton County Democrat Jay Williams, who ran unopposed for the nomination. Nobody else will even be on the ballot,

Rating: Safe R

This Week In World Elections

Croatia: Andrej Plenkovic’s HDZ won a plurality of seats, and should be able to form a coalition. Zoran Milosevic withdrew from politics following the loss. The HDZ won by 2.5%, and won 6 of the 10 regions.

Belarus: 93 pro-government “Independents” were elected, followed by 8 Communists, and 8 from other parties. The second-highest vote-getter was none of the above. More proof that the elections are fairly corrupt.

Russia: The State Duma, the lower house of the Russian Assembly, hold an election today. The ruling United Russia party should win easily, which makes sense, since the elections are very not democratic and there have been calls for a boycott.

Thanks for reading! As usual, comments are welcome!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Week 38: "Basket of Deplorables" (September 11, 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 www.electreport.blogspot.com
Days until General Election: 65

The Main Story: Hillary’s Health

The tradition of questioning a candidate’s health dates back to 2008, when people freaked out about John McCain. Now, there was plenty to be worried about. Notably, if McCain were unable to assume the presidency, Sarah Palin would become president. Since then, it’s been use many times, from McCain’s current re-election contest to, in this election, various Trumpsters spreading what we thought were lies about Hillary’s health. It turns out, Hillary was diagnosed with pneumonia last Friday. Today, she fainted of dehydration at the 9/11 Memorial. Now, it has one less element of terror, in that Tim Kaine is less scary, and indeed more popular, than Sarah Palin was.
Now, this is worrying stuff to hear about a 68-year-old. However, Trump, who is 70, hasn’t released his medical records and subsists on a diet of KFC. So the argument about health isn’t one Trump can win, but Hillary’s campaign can certainly not ignore it. This will likely keep her off the campaign trail for a couple of weeks, which is damaging no matter the cause. As well, Trump will grill her on this with a legitimate line of attack (for once). Now, this will bring out sympathy among voters, and finally prove that she is human, but the timing on this is awful.

Basket of Deplorables
“Just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up.” -Hillary Clinton on Saturday

What a strong statement! This statement is being heralded as a gaffe, even though many of the worse things Trump has said haven’t been given that designation. In addition, this is objectively true. Many Trump supporters believe Obama is a Muslim who was born in Kenya. Trump has built his candidacy on racism and hate, and it’s no surprise many of his supporters are thus racist and hateful. Now, Hillary’s campaign rightfully walked back from saying “half.” But the point, that many of his supporters are in this basket, is necessary to make. And while some compare it to Romney’s “47%” gaffe, I believe that this statement was an example of using Trump-style rhetoric against him. Only time will tell how well it worked.

The NBC Commander in Chief Forum

The first debate-like activity was held this week, when Clinton and Trump gathered in the Intrepid in New York to be interviewed by Matt Lauer. Lauer came under a lot of fire for his unfair handling of the candidates, but even with that, Trump clearly showed how unfit he was. When asked about his plan to defeat ISIS, he replied that he had no plan because he didn’t want other nations to find out and also because he hadn’t thought about it one bit and wants to steal other people’s ideas. Later, he said if we’d taken Iraq’s oil, ISIS wouldn’t exist. Meanwhile, half of Clinton’s time was spent discussing emails and other over-discussed subjects, and she wasn’t given time to talk about her constructive plans. But still, I think way too much whining has been done about this.

I’ll Take Middle Eastern Cities for 500

Alex Trebek: “This is the largest city in Syria. It has been continuously inhabited for thousands of years.”

Gary Johnson: “What is Aleppo?”

No, not like that. Gary Johnson was legitimately confused about what Aleppo, Syria was in an interview this was. What a surprise! This, too, was handled as a gaffe, while Trump’s boasting that "[My building] was the 2nd-tallest in Manhattan... And now it’s the tallest." on September 11, 2001 is being largely ignored. What a world we live in! Third-partiers who just want freedom and happiness for all, good or bad as that may be, are criticized for not knowing the names of cities. While, yes, a contender for president should know what Aleppo is, if Trump had said this, the media would’ve put a positive spin on it. To be fair to him as well, Johnson says he confused Aleppo for an acronym (ALEPO, I presume), which is still kind of dumb, but at least makes a little sense.

Senate Preview #8

Ohio was initially supposed to be very close. Rob Portman, the incumbent, faces former Governor Ted Strickland in a tossup state.  However, polling has drifted far apart, and Portman is leading by up to 10 points now. Portman should survive this election no matter what.

Rating: Lean R


James Lankford entered the Senate in a 2014 special election, and is the overwhelming favorite to beat Mike Workman, who was both the only Democrat who ran and the only Democrat at all in Oklahoma. The Libertarians had a competitive primary, and only Workman ran on the Democratic side.

Rating: Safe R


Ron Wyden faced a minor primary challenge and now faces perennial candidate Mike Callahan in the general. There has been no polling, but it’s very likely Wyden will win election to a fourth term.

Rating: Safe D

This Week In World Elections

Hong Kong: The big winner of the Hong Kong elections was... nobody. The seat totals stayed very similar, and the pro-establishment wing retained a considerable majority over the anti-establishment wing. No party won more than 16% of the vote, and many parties won seats.

Seychelles: The liberal National Party defeated the socialist People’s Party 19 seats to 14, although the popular vote was very close.

Croatia: Zoran Milanovic and Andrej Plenkovic, as well as other smaller candidates and all their respective parties, will compete in the Croatian parliamentary election. Milanovic’s SDP currently hold 54 seats, while Plenkovic’s HDZ hold 51. 76 seats are needed for a majority. According to exit polls, the election is basically a tie.

Belarus: The Belarusian parliamentary elections, which are less corrupt this time, will be held today. Many pro-government candidates are running against an anti-government union. We shall see what happens.

Thanks for reading! As usual, comments are welcome!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Week 37: "The Taco-pocalypse is Coming!" (September 4, 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 www.electreport.blogspot.com
Days until General Election: 65

Trump Goes to Mexico; Chaos Ensues

Donald Trump decided to visit Mexico this week. There, he visited president Enrique Peña Nieto. As you can imagine, it was not very friendly. Trump claimed the wall was discussed, but not who would pay. Peña Nieto insists that they did discuss it, and he maintained Mexico would not pay. Trump’s campaign, of course, relented, and moved on to...

Trump Goes to Arizona; Chaos Ensues

... Trump’s speech in Phoenix, immediately following his Mexico trip. His willingness to go down to Mexico and speak, humanely, to their president, means that his speech was all about working together, right? Of course not! Trump’s top surrogates, Rudy Giuliani and Jeff Sessions showed up to the rally to introduce him in “MAKE MEXICO GREAT AGAIN ALSO” hats, a grammatically awkward slogan Trump came up with himself. Trump then spent over an hour railing at illegal immigrants and advocated punishing them. He also said government should be able to “pick and choose” what immigrants come into the country, which may be an acceptable policy for refugees, but for immigrants, no. Left with nothing to defend, the leader of Hispanics for Trump warned of the dangers of Mexican immigration: “There will be taco trucks on every corner!”

Trump Goes to Detroit; Chaos Ensues

Trump turned to outreach to African-Americans next, by going to Detroit, and, among other things, visiting the childhood home of Ben Carson (whose attention span was well documented here). Trump also visited a black church, and received a Jewish prayer shawl, for some reason. In all fairness, he made a legitimately uplifting speech that outlined why African-Americans should vote for him. I guess he’d had enough of alienating minority voters for the week. Oh, and there were a ton of protesters.

Hillary Clinton Releases Her Plan to Stop Drug Pricing Hikes

During all this, Clinton responded to the huge increase in the price of EpiPen by creating a plan to stop drug price increases. This issue first made news when Martin Shkreli, noted Trump endorser, increased the price of an anti-parasite drug by dozens of times its original price. Clinton plans to set up a government team to monitor prices in order to protect consumers, which was not very popular with Shkreli himself. Shkreli said “I think important medicines should be expensive because they’re valuable,” which means that he thinks a company’s profits are more valuable than people’s lives. I can’t say I’m surprised.

Labor Day Swing State Polling Update

Arizona: Trump +3.1
South Carolina: Trump +3
Iowa: Trump +1.4
Georgia: Trump +0.8
North Carolina: Clinton +1.6
Nevada: Clinton +1.9
Ohio: Clinton +2.8
Florida: Clinton +4.1
Wisconsin: Clinton +5.2
Pennsylvania: Clinton +6.4
Virginia: Clinton +7.3
New Hampshire: Clinton +8.6
Colorado: Clinton +9.7

Electoral Vote Count: 341-197

Senate Preview #8

Senator Chuck Schumer, three-term incumbent and a beloved figure in New York and within the Democratic party, has minimal opposition. Republican nominee Wendy Long has continually polled in the low 20s, and Schumer should hit 70% come November,

Rating: Safe D


Richard Burr may be running for a third term in office, but he doesn’t have it easy. He was challenged in his primary by a tea party activist who garnered 25% of the vote, and now in the general Deborah Ross is running a strong campaign. In addition, pizza deliveryman Sean Haugh of the Libertarian Party, who got almost 4% of the vote in 2014, could do well.

Rating: Tilt R


Senator John Hoeven’s only opposition is State Rep. Eliot Glassheim, who is a 78-year-old used book salesman and has no photo on his Wikipedia page. North Dakota is so small, uncompetitive, and hard to poll that we haven’t seen a poll here yet.

Rating; Safe R

Seat Count:

This Week In World Elections

Hong Kong: Today, the controversial Hong Kong election was held. Results are not yet known, but Hong Kong’s complex system involves many, many parties, some of which were disqualified by the government, and different types of constituencies and proportional representation. This is the polling graph.

Gabon: Results have been counted, and Ondimba defeated Ping by 1.5%. Ping claimed fraud, which seems silly until you realize that “the official results from Haut-Ogooue (the Bongo family's native province) showed Bongo receiving 95.5% of the vote on a 99.9% turnout.” Convenient.

Seychelles: This week, Seychelles holds an assembly election. The election will be between the socialists, the People’s Party, and the liberals, the Seychelles National Party.

Thanks for reading! As usual, comments are welcome!