Three Key Swing States That Currently Don’t Look So Bad for Trump
As August approaches its end, Donald Trump’s presidential campaign remains in generally bad shape, but not quite hopeless.
One of the odd aspects of this year is that Trump is collapsing in some key states (Virginia, Colorado) and has managed to put some traditionally Republican states in play (Georgia, Missouri, maybe Arizona) . . . but at the same time, a couple of swing states that have proven difficult for Republican presidential candidates in past cycles don’t look so bad. For example, Hillary Clinton is barely ahead in Iowa. Obama won this state by 6 points in 2012 and by nearly 10 in 2008, and George W. Bush barely won it 2004 and barely lost it in 2000.
Trump was in Iowa this weekend. The state has only six electoral votes, but if Trump won a state that Republicans had lost in three of the past four election cycles, that would represent a victory for Trumpism, at least once piece of evidence that populist Republicanism can win in some places that traditional GOP conservatism hasn’t.
If Trump manages to win the Hawkeye state, some might argue it just represents the state’s demographics; Iowa is 91 percent white. But by that measure, Hillary Clinton should be running away with these other two key swing states. Nevada is another state where Clinton is ahead, but within the margin of error.
Nevada is the most diverse battleground state. On paper, it should be secure for Democrats. But there are enough people like Wheeler, still rattled by the recession and frustrated about other things, to make it one of Trump’s best swing states.
Democrats and Republicans agree that the state’s competitiveness is not just a quirk of public polling, which has a spotty track record in Nevada, but is reflected in private surveys, the tightness of Nevada’s races for the U.S. Senate and House, and the observations of seasoned political operatives.
“Nevada’s a picture of where the country’s at,” said Yvanna Cancela, political director of the Culinary Union, which represents nearly 60,000, mostly immigrant workers in casinos and hotels on the Strip. “It’s increasingly diverse but the ideas of nationalism, open borders are very much at play here.”
Perhaps Nevadans think of Donald Trump as a beloved longtime employer. Obama won this state comfortably both times, and Bush won it narrowly twice. Nevada is another six electoral votes.
Perhaps most significantly, about half the polls in Florida have Trump within a point or two, and without Johnson and Stein, Trump does even better. This morning Arian Campo-Flores and Paul Overberg of the Wall Street Journal identifies a demographic trend that is mitigating the conventional wisdom that growth in Florida’s minority population would make the state unwinnable: white retirees keep moving there.
That trend is partly offset by another set of new residents—white retirees, many from GOP-leaning areas of the country. Though Florida has long been a destination for white retirees, they have arrived in larger numbers in recent years as a stronger economy and rising property values made it easier to move, economists and local officials say.
A net 7,800 white, non-Hispanic residents left Florida in the recession year of 2008, but whites streamed back as the economy picked up, topping a net 94,000 arrivals in 2014.
“The interplay between the share of the white vote and the share of the Hispanic vote will keep the state relatively competitive for a while,” said Democratic strategist Steve Schale, who managed Mr. Obama’s 2008 campaign in Florida.
And the Journal team notes that just because a person moves to a state, it doesn’t mean they’re necessarily going to turn out to vote:
Yet Democrats face a challenge in motivating Hispanic newcomers to register and turn out to vote. “We have folks here who are just worried about landing a job, finding a place to live,” said Samí Haiman-Marrero, who has worked on civic-engagement projects aimed at Puerto Ricans. “There is a certain period of time that is invested in getting that straight before they can think about voting.”
Mind you, few polls show Trump outright leading in these states, and if he doesn’t win North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania, winning these states won’t mean as much.
Anthony Weiner Has Entered His Sixteenth Minute of Fame
It will not surprise you to see that Anthony Weiner is in another sex scandal again, or that he’s managed to find a new creepy depth to reach.
My lone interaction with him was on Real Time with Bill Maher, and behind my polite visage I remember thinking he was one of the saddest people I had ever met: a man incapable of stepping away from the spotlight and inevitable awkward jokes about his humiliation. Life had given him many opportunities, a wife, a child, and yet he refused to go off and live a happy life in private law practice or something. He had to run for mayor, he had to let a documentary film crew follow him around, he has to keep giving interviews to the New York Times and Huffington Post. His wife’s boss and longtime mentor is running for president, and he still can’t stop doing this, or even get off of Twitter — at least until this latest scandal.
The last time Weiner was in trouble for this sort of thing, I pointed out that liberalism and progressivism may help cultivate the mentality that other people are objects that can be used in the name of the greater good:
If you’re socially conservative, your values are likely shaped by a Judeo-Christian teaching that every person is created by God and thus deserving of respect, etc. So besides the usual Biblical/Torah-based teachings — don’t commit adultery, etc. — sexually harassing your underlings, using an employee as a sexual plaything, or using your wife as a human shield during an embarrassing press conference is to objectify them and is pretty obviously not in line with God’s teachings.
If you’re libertarian, one of your core tenets is the value of the individual and the need to protect the rights of the individual -- and sexual harassment undoubtedly represents an infringement upon the rights of an individual. You may have less of an issue with adultery between consenting adults or even with prostitution (freely agreed contracts!) but ultimately whatever happens must be agreed upon by both/all parties. Cheating on one’s wife and humiliating her in a public scandal isn’t usually part of an agreed contract. (Someday we may have a political power couple in an open marriage, and it will be interesting to see what the public reaction will be.)
However, modern liberalism usually defines the world in terms of groups and group rights. The rights of the individual are much less important (see how often the Left criticizes our society as too individualistic or “go it alone”) and their vision of a wise redistribution of money, power, authority, rights, etc. often requires the correct person or group to be in charge. Having the Left’s preferred people in charge is, in fact, the preeminent value on the Left, and any other “rule” can be broken in its name -- i.e., it’s okay to serve on corporate boards and make lots of money, as long as you donate to the party, etc.
The harassment scandal of San Diego Mayor Bob Filner demonstrated that San Diego Democrats prioritized keeping Filner in charge so he can enact their preferred policies over the rights of the women he harassed; when forced to take a side, they sided with the powerful man running the gravy train.
Most of us recoil from that as a soulless and ghoulish way of seeing people, as insignificant cogs whose well-being is easily sacrificed in the name of the “greater good.” But that’s why we’re on this side.
Back then, Emily Zanotti of NakedDC noted:
A lot of these Democratic men use their power and position to cow these women. Sanford was a schmuck, but his affair was consensual. Weiner (and Clinton and Spitzer) all had affairs with women who basically worshiped them. The latest girl revealed to be messaging Weiner kept saying, ‘I can’t believe I’m talking to you!’ ‘wow, you’re so awesome,’ etc. Clinton banged an intern. Spitzer paid sex workers.
It’s a combination of power-broking and power-worship that probably results from the ideology but takes on a really perverse sexual form.
While we’re on the subject . . . dear mainstream media: every disgraced politician wants the kind of soft-focus powder-puff coverage that People gave Weiner and Abedin in 2012 to help their redemption narrative. Don’t give it to them.
“I’m very happy in my present life,” Weiner, 47, tells PEOPLE in an exclusive interview. “The only next dramatic steps I’m planning on are Jordan’s first,” he says, referring to his 6-month-old son and remaining noncommital on whether he will run for office again.
In his first joint interview with wife Huma Abedin, who is deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the couple address how they survived Weiner’s lewd text and photo scandal that led to his resignation, as well as who has diaper duty.
Around the same time as that interview, Weiner was beginning his online relationship with his new 22-year-old object of affection.
Maybe Huma Abedin and Hillary Clinton are so close because they really understand each other’s problems.
ADDENDA: A really beautiful column from Kathryn Jean Lopez about Andrew Breitbart, this election, and modesty:
I won’t pretend to speak for a friend who cannot speak for himself about the choices before the country today. And I don’t pretend, either, to know how he would be running the website that bears his name. But I do feel confident that he would be reminding us to be grateful and feel responsible. We are heirs to a patrimony, and the decisions we make today — or fail to make, through indifference or distraction — could be something we will have to answer for.
Somehow I missed this Los Angeles Times profile of my best friend and co-author, Cam Edwards, back in March. The only thing that would have made that profile any better would be . . . mentioning that excellent book that came out a few months earlier!