Can the Democrats learn and move on from Clinton?

In the US the Democrats are in disarray after not only an embarrassing loss to Donald Trump but also their failure to win majorities in either the Senate or Congress.

Trump should never have been able to win the presidency, but alongside other factors the Democrats managed to make a mess of their selection – Hillary Clinton – and their campaign.

Is there any sign of learning from their mistakes and rebuilding their chances?

Howard Kurtz at Fox: After Hillary: Are the Democrats ready to move beyond Clintonism?

The question now: Has the Democratic Party moved on from Clintonism?

Both the left and right are asking that question as the party tries to rebuild in the Trump era. I have no idea who might emerge for 2020, given the strikingly thin bench, or whether the party wants to go further left or try to recapture the working-class voters that it lost to Trump.

It seems the Democrats haven’t really had that debate, even with the low-profile chairman’s race won by Tom Perez. But some in the media are starting to examine the rubble left by 2016.

It’s not that Hillary herself has a political future. In a Rasmussen poll, 58 percent of likely voters don’t want her to run again, while 23 percent would like to see that.

But a Clinton-like candidate might face the same lack of excitement for a program of incrementally improving government, even without her flaws as a candidate.

On the other hand, a Bernie-style populist could connect on issues like trade, but might simply be too liberal to win a general election.

But surely the Democrats can come up with someone fresher and newer than Clinton or Sanders.

Salon: To win, the anti-Trump resistance must learn from the Clinton campaign’s mistakes

What’s interesting is how Salon sees Clinton as having blundered by pretty much running as the anti-Trump:

“Of all the strategic blunders made by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, the most consequential — apart from neglecting the Rust Belt states — may have been the campaign’s ill-advised decision to portray Donald Trump as an outlier in the GOP who did not represent true Republican values.

“In the early stages of her campaign, Clinton went out of her way to defend the Grand Old Party’s reputation and highlight some of the conservative critiques of Trump, so as to emphasize her opponent’s uniquely ‘deplorable’ nature.”

That “backfired spectacularly,” the piece says, by alienating progressives and boosting Trump’s underdog status.

“The grand irony here, of course, is that liberals — not leftists — are the ones who have started to sound increasingly like alt-right conspiracy theorists. While alt-right Info-Warriors spew their conspiracy theories about the deep state’s planning a coup against Trump or about former President Barack Obama’s wiretapping of Trump Tower, liberals have gone in the other direction, embracing their own overwrought conspiracy theories with an all-powerful Vladimir Putin at the center of it all.

“But Putin is not responsible for the Democratic Party’s losing control of nearly 1,000 state legislature seats and all three branches of government during the Obama years.”

It is yet to be proven whether Russia interfered with the US election but even if they did the Democrats should have been able to benefit from the allegations. Remarkably Trump won despite being linked with Russia.

Clinton was a poor choice but even then a decent campaign is likely to have succeeded. Trump didn’t win by much (a few hundred thousand votes in a few states made the difference).

The Democrats are in a mess of their own making.

Labour in the UK are also in a self inflicted mess.

Labor in Australia have been in disarray for years.

Labour in New Zealand is trying to make a comeback after struggling after Helen Clark lost in 2008 and stood down, but they are still languishing in polls and have conceded reliance on the Greens to try and compete in this year’s election.

Are these all coincidental messes? Or are left wing parties losing their way in the modern world with no hope of success unless they rethink and rebrand?

Irrelevant election numbers

A lot has been said about US election numbers like this:

cz4_zpxuaaajnix

That equates to:

  • Hillary Clinton 48.3%
  • Donald Trump 46.2%

(Poll averages on the overall vote weren’t too far off the mark).

It’s of interest, to an extent. For one thing it demonstrates how Hillary Clinton’s campaign failed where it mattered – she won the overall vote, but lost the election war.

But those numbers are irrelevant in the archaic US democratic system.

The numbers that matter:

  • Donald Trump 302
  • Hillary Clinton 232

And:

  • Donald Trump 1 (president-elect)
  • Hillary Clinton 0 (political history)

Regardless of electoral college disparities, leaked emails, alleged Russian interference and Trump ludicrosity, in about a month’s time the US will have President Trump and they and the world will have to accept that and get used to it for probably at least four years.

Russia, FBI and hacked elections

Two articles of inter from last week on the US election – one saying that the consensus view of the CIA was that “Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected”, and the other a detailed analysis of ’10 crucial decisions’ that affected the presidential election.

Washington Post: Secret CIA assessment says Russia was trying to help Trump win White House

The CIA has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, according to officials briefed on the matter.

Intelligence agencies have identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, according to U.S. officials. Those officials described the individuals as actors known to the intelligence community and part of a wider Russian operation to boost Trump and hurt Clinton’s chances.

“It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected,” said a senior U.S. official briefed on an intelligence presentation made to U.S. senators. “That’s the consensus view.”

During the campaign Trump said a number of times that a rigged election was a serious concern, but he doesn’t seem to think this is a big deal – see Trump: Claim of Russia Meddling “Ridiculous,” Dems Making Excuses.

(With Kim Dotcom claiming that WikiLeaks may target next year’s New Zealand election this should be of some concern here).

Looking back through the presidential campaign Glenn Thrush at Politico: 10 Crucial Decisions That Reshaped AmericaNothing about the most dramatic campaign in memory was a foregone conclusion. The inside story of the pivotal choices that got us to President Trump.

It should be remembered that the election was eventually decided by I think about 50,000 votes in three states, so it was very close.

When deciding whether to contest the presidency Trump rated his chances at 10%.

This is a detailed analysis that’s worth reading if you are interested in what lead up to the result that shocked the world. The ten ‘crucial decisions’:

1. Hillary Clinton copies the Obama playbook. December 12, 2013.

But, in the end, Brooklyn simply failed to predict the tidal wave that swamped Clinton—a pro-Trump uprising in rural and exurban white America that wasn’t reflected in the polls—and his candidate failed to generate enough enthusiasm to compensate with big turnouts in Detroit, Milwaukee and the Philadelphia suburbs.

Either way, there was something missing that technocrats couldn’t fix: The candidate herself was deeply unappealing to the most fired-up, unpredictable and angry segment of the electorate—middle-income whites in the Middle West—and she couldn’t inspire Obama-like passion among her own supporters to compensate for the surge.

2016 wasn’t 2012 because Obama wasn’t the nominee.

2. Jeb Bush decides to run for president. December 16, 2014.

There wouldn’t have been a President Donald Trump without Jeb Bush. A rebel needs a crown to crush, and the wolfish insurgent found his perfect prey in this third Bush to attempt to claim the White House, a princeling of a family that by 2015 had come to represent everything angry GOP voters hated about their own party.

3. Donald Trump taps Corey Lewandowski as his campaign manager. January 7, 2015.

It was probably the single most important decision Trump made early in his campaign for the presidency and, true to form, the candidate made it without much consultation or due diligence, and without quite knowing what he was getting into.

“What do you think of my chances?” Trump asked Lewandowski as soon as he sat down in Trump’s office, according to a person familiar with the interaction.

“Five percent,” Lewandowski replied.

Trump countered with his own assessment: 10 percent.

“Let me propose a deal,” Trump then joked. “Let’s settle on 7½.”

4. Bernie Sanders doesn’t attack Clinton on her “damn” emails. October 13, 2015.

The second problem was more durable, utterly avoidable, entirely self-inflicted and ultimately damning: Clinton’s enemies were starting to weaponize the murky tale of her private email server, an issue that would do her permanent political damage, sap public trust and, eventually, hand Trump a winning issue. “It’s a cancer,” a longtime Clinton insider told meas her campaign was ramping up. “She’s her own worst enemy,” another said.

Lucky for Clinton that Sanders wasn’t her worst enemy. Sanders, an (uncommonly) principled politician who was as intent on running the campaign he wanted as in winning, attacked Clinton on the issues he felt were the most important. Under pressure, he would eventually bash Clinton on her refusal to release the text of her Wall Street speeches, her cozy relationship with fat cat donors, her late-in-the-day conversion to an opponent of trade deals. But that was only in later debates, and only after Clinton and her team had savaged Sanders on his gun control record.

Most of all, he flummoxed his own advisers by steadfastly refusing to attack Clinton on the issue that would hurt her most: the emails.

5. CNN shows Trump’s empty podium for 30 minutes. March 3, 2016.

This was symbolic of how obsessed media became with Trump coverage – in this case remarkable focussing on his absence rather than his presence.

But if Trump’s time was, literally, money for the networks, the cable-Trump marriage was also unprecedented in a way that threw the political coverage dangerously out of balance.

The absurdity of the situation was laid bare on March 3, 2016, when CNN, Fox and MSNBC prepared to air what was billed as Trump’s much-anticipated rebuttal to Mitt Romney’s claim that the GOP front-runner was a “phony” and a “fraud.” Trump was supposed to start talking at 1:30 p.m., but he was strategically, playfully late.

The live shot of a flag-backed podium in Maine sat empty for five, 10, 15, eventually 30 minutes of Donald-free empty space that illustrated the vacuity of the celebrity-driven frenzy that defined Trump’s early campaign. CNN officials dismissed the incident, arguing that the image was just that—a static picture—that provided a backdrop for a stream of talking-head banter, much of it critical of Trump.

For Trump, the point was clear: He was so much more important than any of his rivals that even his absence was more newsworthy than their presence, and the networks did nothing to dispel that view, airing his speeches in their entirety when no other candidate or even President Obama was afforded that privilege.

6. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio play patty-cake with Trump at the debates. August 6, 2015.

The only two candidates who ever really had a real chance to stop him—golden boy hawk Marco Rubio of Florida and Tea Party icon Ted Cruz of Texas—made the calculation that ignoring Trump, and letting him run amok in the early debates, was their best chance at self-preservation.

The decision by the two young senators—they are both just 45 years old today—may well go down as one of the most consequential wimp-outs in recent politics.

But it seemed to make perfect sense in the summer of 2015, when Rubio’s Capitol Hill-based circle and Cruz’s Houston-based operation simultaneously decided on a hands-off-Donald approach.

7. Trump insults the parents of a dead war hero. July 28, 2016.

The final night of the convention was supposed to be Clinton’s big night, and many of the reporters who crammed into the press section in the early evening of July 28 were busily pre-writing their big Hillary speech stories when Khizr Khan and his wife, Ghazala, walked onto the stage.

“Donald Trump: You’re asking Americans to trust you with their future. Let me ask you: Have you even read the United States Constitution?” said Khizr Khan, whose son, a Muslim-American Army captain, had died protecting his fellow soldiers from a suicide bombing in Iraq in 2004.

Khan spoke, in a quavering monotone, about the injustice of Trump’s proposed Muslim immigration ban. By the time he pulled out a tiny dog-eared copy of the Constitution from his suit jacket pocket, the audience was on its feet, and reporters on press row were plucking out their ear buds to hear what he was saying. “I will gladly lend you my copy,” Khan told Trump, as his wife silently stood next to him, fighting back tears.

It was a critical moment in the election, or so it seemed at the time—“an appeal from a regular person for Trump to show some human decency,” in the words of former Jeb Bush adviser Tim Miller, “which he never does.”

Privately, Trump fumed about the Khan speech—he hated to absorb any insult without responding—even as the people around him, including Manafort, encouraged him to let it go. But there was, as always, no controlling Trump.

This is a concern about Trump as president, especially internationally. Some think that Trump a ‘telling it like it is’ tough guy stance will allow the US to dominate countries like China, others dread what it could precipitate.

The public hated it. A Fox News poll taken in the first week of August signaled to GOP leaders (wrongly, as it turned out) that Trump was cooked and could never recover: He dropped from running neck-and-neck with Clinton to 10 points down over the course of two weeks. “I thought that was it,” said one former Trump aide.

“If he loses,” Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager, told me at the time, “his attack on Khans was the turning point.”

But here’s the thing: At that very moment, Mook’s own internal data was showing that Trump’s negative message overall—his “diagnosis of the problem” as Brooklyn called it—was resonating.

Clinton’s team laughed off Trump’s nomination speech. Yet her pollster John Anzalone and his team were stunned to find out that dial groups of swing state voters monitored during the speech “spiked” the darker the GOP nominee got.

8. Clinton decides to take a summer break. August 1, 2016.

Trump wasn’t dead. And the polls clearly showed that whatever he said or did, he still commanded between 36 and 43 percent of the national vote. The partisan divide was simply that stark, the animosity toward Clinton that real.

But it was a genuine boot-on-neck moment for Clinton’s Brooklyn operation.

Too bad it was the height of summer, and the Clintons had made plans they refused to change with their rich friends. So, the race almost, seemingly in the bag, Clinton came off the road, for a work-and-play semi-hiatus to regroup for the big fall push that saw her take four consecutive weekends off the trail, post-convention.

So at this moment of Trump’s maximum vulnerability, Clinton was work-vacationing with the likes of Jon Bon Jovi, Paul McCartney and Jimmy Buffett in the manses of Long Island, Beverly Hills, Martha’s Vineyard and Silicon Valley.

But Trump, surprisingly resilient and coachable when he needed to be, was to make masterful use of Clinton’s absence.

9. Trump goes scorched earth after Access Hollywood tape. October 7, 2016.

One month before Election Day, Donald Trump was hit by a bombshell that would have spelled instant electoral death for anybody without his chutzpah (or even a human-apportioned sense of shame).

On a Friday morning four weeks before the voting, the Washington Postobtained a hot-mic tape from a 2005 appearance on Access Hollywood in which Trump described in gross detail an incident in which he had sexually assaulted a woman who resisted his romantic entreaties.

The fallout was swift, damaging and seemingly campaign-killing.

The candidate’s daughter Ivanka, two people close to the family said, was mortified, and urged him to apologize immediately.

Trump’s natural instinct—stoked by Bannon’s attack-when-attacked attitude—was to give as little ground as possible.

One longtime adviser to Trump described the strategy this way: He couldn’t do anything about the tape—it was out there for everybody to hear—but he could stick with “his core brand” by reinforcing his refusal to play by the usual rules of politics.

Trump came out of it seen as he wanted to be: a defiant candidate who flouted rules of “political correctness” and whose in-your-face candor consistently registered in polls as the perceived attribute voters liked most about him. And anyways, it was a classic Trump move: When you’re caught doing something indefensible don’t even try to defend it—attack.

Trump, a guy who couldn’t seem to shut up, urged his surrogates to “go dark,” according to a former aide.

Trump’s numbers collapsed again, but Bannon never doubted that his pal could pull it out and urged Trump to indulge his most brazen showman’s impulses by turning damning on-tape proof that he was a sexual harasser into a populist crusade against the “rigged system.

10. Jim Comey sends a letter to Congress. October 28, 2016.

Clinton wanted to run her campaign her own way. To the frustration of her staff, that often entailed less retail campaigning: She insisted more often than not on flying back to her house in Chappaqua on most days, and held her debate prep sessions at a nearby conference center instead of doing them on-the-fly in battleground states, so she could combine cramming and campaigning.

That hesitation about “the campaigning part” was why, despite their confidence Clinton would pull out a win, many in her camp came to see the campaign as a high-stakes game of musical chairs: The candidate who had the worst final news cycle would probably lose.

It was Clinton.

On a sleepy Friday afternoon 10 days before the election, FBI Director James Comey sent a letter informing Congress that he had obtained a big new batch of emails pertaining to Clinton’s email server. It was a revelation widely (and inaccurately) cast as his decision to “reopen” the case, after having announced in early July that Clinton had been cleared of wrongdoing but had been reckless in setting up her private email server.

Top officials for both campaigns said the revelation—which turned out to be an inconsequential cache of previously parsed emails kept on the laptop of Clinton aide Huma Abedin’s estranged husband, Anthony Weiner—was a game-changer in a race in which Clinton had little margin for error.

A campaign that was notable for Trump doing everything not by the book which kept shocking many, and for Clinton’s flawed candidacy and flawed campaign, two of the biggest deciding factors turned out to be Russian and FBI involvement.

It’s nothing new that Russia and the US interfere in elections of other countries but the extent Russia has allegedly done this in the US to this degree is unprecedented.

The way hacked emails have been used should be a concern around the world.

It’s not new – hacked emails and other communications featured in Nicky Hager’s ‘Dirty Politics’ book launched early in New Zealand’s 2014 general election, as it turned out unsuccessfully. But I suspect that how that was done will have been noted and learned from.

WikiLeaks tried a different approach in the US election, drip feeding emails over a period of time. This certainly had an impact.

Ultimately FBI head James Comey’s interference probably swung the election in Trump’s favour at a crucial time, but that situation was set up and enabled by the hacking and the drip feeding.

Democracy is at real risk of being trashed by hacking.

US popular vote

If the Green Party challenge is unsuccessful Donald Trump has won where it counts in the Electoral College, but the current vote tally has Clinton ahead by more than 2 million votes overall.

uspopularvote

However Trump has the highest vote ever for a Republican candidate.

The current numbers:

  • Clinton 64,418,125 (48.1%)
  • Trump 62,314,184 (46.5%
  • Others 7,168,364 (5.4%)

http://cookpolitical.com/story/10174

Politico reports on the possible challenge:

Among the potential steps to challenge the results on Wednesday was an announcement from Stein, often a strident Clinton critic, that she would seek to challenge the results in all three of the states if she raised the $2 million necessary to do so.

Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are traditionally Democrats states that fell into Trump’s column on Nov. 8, and Michigan’s story is similar, though it has yet to be officially called for Trump.

As of Thursday morning, Stein’s campaign had raised at least $2.5 million, according to multiple news reports.

But even if Stein were to raise enough money for the challenge before the states’ looming deadlines, it’s still a stretch: Clinton would need to win all three states in order to flip the Electoral College vote.

Stein’s call came shortly after the report that the group of experts had told Podesta and Elias they saw evidence that Clinton received 7 percent fewer votes in Wisconsin counties that used electronic machines instead of paper ballots or optical scanners.

I think that Clinton is only about 70,000 votes short but would have to reverse the result in all three states to win the presidency. I think it ain’t going to happen.

There’s also talk that some of the Electoral Votes may be cast contrary to the state results but it would take quite a few to swap sides. And it would create an uproar, and potentially a political crisis.

 

Trump backtracks on ‘lock her up’

I think that most people realised that a lot of the US campaign rhetoric was bull. They simply didn’t care.

“I think one thing that should be distinguished here is that the media is always taking Trump literally. It never takes him seriously, but it always takes him literally. … I think a lot of voters who vote for Trump take Trump seriously but not literally”

– Peter Thiel

Donald Trump threatened to put a prosecutor onto Hillary Clinton’s case and put her in prison in a presidential debate..And he played his supporters, encouraging them to chant ‘lock her up’ at his rallies.

But it now appears that that was not a serious nor a literal threat.

NBC News: Trump Team Signals He Won’t Pursue Clinton Investigations

Donald Trump will not push for investigations into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server or for the business practices of the Clinton Foundation, a Trump senior adviser signaled Tuesday.

A source with knowledge of the decision told MSNBC’s Morning Joe that president-elect Trump won’t pursue the probe that he promised supporters during the campaign, a move that Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway appeared to confirm during an interview on Tuesday morning.

“I think when the president-elect … tells you before he’s even inaugurated he doesn’t wish to pursue these charges, it sends a very strong message, tone and content, to the members [of Congress],” Conway said. “And I think Hillary Clinton still has to face the fact that a majority of Americans don’t find her to be honest or trustworthy, but if Donald Trump can help her heal, then perhaps that’s a good thing.”

Trump himself hinted that he was prepared to walk back the pledge during his first post-election interview earlier this month.

“They’re, they’re good people,” he said of the Clintons during an interview on “60 Minutes.” “I don’t want to hurt them.”

Will anyone care? It may annoy some people.

For the rest of Trump supporters it may depend on how many of his claims, assertions and promises turn out to have been non-literal and non-serious.

UPDATE:

Believed Trump would actually ask a special prosecutor to investigate Clinton:

  • 39% of Americans
  • 62% of Trump voters
  • 25% of Clinton voters

 

More on false news

Coincidentally after posting Fake news, elections, Facebook I see an example of more false election news in the US – bogus sites promoting false claims that Donald Trump won the popular vote in the presidential election.

Washington Post: Google’s top news link for ‘final election results’ goes to a fake news site with false numbers

If you head to Google to learn the final results of the presidential election, the search engine helpfully walks through the final electoral vote tallies and number of seats won by each party in the House and Senate. Under that, Google lists some related news articles. At the top this morning, with an accompanying photo: a story arguing that Donald Trump won both the popular and electoral votes.

That’s not true.

The Daily Show’s Dan Amira noticed that numbers were being spread on social media that linked back to the “70 News” site. The 70 News article cites its source as this tweet.

 That tweet cites as its source USASupreme.com, another random website which doesn’t actually include the numbers themselves. It does, however, argue that Hillary Clinton is “probably not going to win the actual number of votes cast. She may win the number of votes counted, but not the votes cast.” That distinction is … not really clear, except that the author, “Alex,” seems to believe that absentee ballots are only counted if the tally could make the difference in the election.

That’s not true, either.

So it pays to be wary of claims made, especially when they link to unknown sources, no matter how authentic those sources might sound.

Current ‘popular vote’ results from Fox News:

  • Hillary Clinton 61,035,460
  • Donald Trump 60,367,401

But the most important numbers are electoral college votes – Trump 290, Clinton 228.

 

Clinton blames both Comey letters

Hillary Clinton has blamed her loss in the presidential election to both James Comey letters.

Fox News: Clinton tells fundraisers FBI Comey letter sank presidential bid

Hillary Clinton has offered a couple of private but candid explanations about why she lost her White House bid, telling high-dollar fundraisers Saturday that FBI announcements about a second probe into her emails from her time as secretary of state were too damaging.

Clinton said, “Our analysis is that Comey’s letter raised doubts that were groundless and baseless…” and “stopped our momentum”.

From what I remember Clinton was already dropping back in the polls when Comey’s first letter hit the campaign, but the polls dropped quite a bit more afterwards as well.

Clinton suggested her campaign’s internal poll numbers plunged after the letter but nevertheless rebounded, a person on the Saturday call told Politico.

However, she said the second Comey letter, three days before Election Day, saying that she had essentially been cleared in the unrelated case, awakened Trump voters.  

So she says that while the second letter cleared her it motivated ‘Trump voters’ – but there appears to have been a lot of anti-Clinton voting as well.

It’s impossible to tell how much the election was affected by the Comey letters. It is likely to have been significant, but hard to tell whether it made the difference.

Clinton’s past email problems, Benghazi, her links to her husband and to the current Obama administration, and her bland campaign will also have been major factors.

But regardless of causes, which will have been many and complex, the simple fact is that Clinton lost and Trump won.

Election over, move on.

 

Assange denies influencing election: yeah, right

Politico reports that Julian Assange has denied trying to influence the outcome of the US election.

The email jar must be just about empty, and crumbs are all over Assanges face. Plus jam. Plus egg.

Assange denies WikiLeaks trying to influence election outcome

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Tuesday defended the group’s decision to post troves of Democratic documents during the height of the election season, saying a moral imperative drove them to do so.

“This is not due to a personal desire to influence the outcome of the election,” he wrote in a 1,000 word statement posted as Americans streamed to the polls on Election Day. “The Democratic and Republican candidates have both expressed hostility towards whistleblowers … Publishing is what we do. To withhold the publication of such information until after the election would have been to favour one of the candidates above the public’s right to know.”

Yeah, right.

There may be public interest in illegally hacked emails.

But drip feeding them throughout the last months of the US campaign is clearly aimed at influencing the election, and using the election to get attention.

If it was important enough and justified to make emails public they would have been made public when they were available, not drip fed through the campaign.

Assange and Wikileaks have lost a lot of credibility and support through this exercise. He has made himself no better than his target, Hillary Clinton, and no better than the person he may enable, Donald Trump.

If Trump wins I expect a lot more disappointment will be directed at Assange in particular.

Power corrupts, and WikiLeaks has been absolutely been corrupted in trying to manipulate the US election.

Polls turn slightly to Clinton

After closing substantially for a week US polls to close up to maintain a small average margin for Hillary Trump over Donald Trump, but over the last couple of days they have turned back slightly in Clinton’s favour.

Yesterday’s news that the FBI had found nothing that would change their decision not to charge Clinton over emails won’t be reflected in these polls.

“Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July,” Comey wrote in a letter to congressional committee chairmen.

The RCP 4 way poll average is now +2.9% for Clinton. FiveThirtyEight’s ‘chane of winning trend:

538trend2016nov7

This is good news for Clinton but 20 million votes have been cast over the last week so it may or may not be too late to rescue her campaign.

Some significant numbers from FiveThirtyEight:

6 percentage points

In Nevada, more registered Democrats have turned out for early voting than registered Republicans by a six percentage point margin. In 2012, 70 percent of Nevada voters did so early, so this sizable lead could mean that the Silver State is already decided for Hillary Clinton. [FiveThirtyEight]

565,000

According to a University of Florida professor’s analysis, that’s the number of Hispanic voters who had cast in-person early ballots in Florida as of Saturday, double the number in 2012. Factoring in absentee ballots, 911,000 Hispanic Floridians have already voted. [The Miami Herald]

48.4 percent

That’s the expected share of the popular vote that Hillary Clinton is forecasted to win, based on the latest from the FiveThirtyEight model. Donald Trump is projected to get 45.3 percent, but there are a solid range of possibilities, so it’s worth checking out the model every minute of every day until you feel certain of your place in the world. [FiveThirtyEight]

But popular vote doesn’t win the presidency. There is still a lot of uncertainty over the result. Polls are close in a number of the key states.

Real Clear Politics:

Latest State Polls

According to FiveThirtyEight Trump needs to win all of Florida, North Carolina, Nevada and New Hampshire to get enough electoral votes.

538pathtostates

http://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2016-election-forecast/

Stop the election, I want to get off

As the election of the century (because it seems to have taken about that long) grinds to a close in the US there has been an increasing number of very negative views on the whole debacle.

Like David M. Shribma, executive editor of the Post-Gazette: The Rebellion of 2016

Tuesday brings to an end a tortuous and tortured process that has raised questions about the sturdiness of our democracy, the processes we use to select our leaders, the durability of our political parties and the willingness of Americans to be engaged in the vital civic activities of our culture. We emerge from this experience battered and bruised, skittish and skeptical — and yet still committed to Lincoln’s better angels, and of course to better presidential candidates.

This is, to be sure, a moment of extreme pressure on our institutions, spawned in part by those two deeply flawed candidates and amplified by the emergence of a new generation of voters with its own perspectives and priorities and by profound demographic shifts that are rendering old notions of our politics as outdated as the city bosses were in the 1990s.

Carl Hiaasen at Miami Herald in Trump makes it easy to vote for Her:

If this presidential election was an airplane flight, we’d all have barf bags on our laps. Just when you think it couldn’t possibly get any worse, it does.

Next Tuesday the nation is being forced to choose between Hillary Clinton, a calculating liar, and Donald Trump, a clumsy liar, proud tax dodger and serial sex creep.

These are the national standard-bearers of the Democratic and Republican parties. No wonder the rest of the world thinks we’ve gone crazy.

Clinton and Trump are two of the most unpopular figures ever to run for the White House, leaving millions of dispirited Americans to vote purely with the hope of minimizing the damage.

The folks who still believe all of Trump’s impossible promises are suckers. Most Republicans are well aware he’s full of crap, yet many will vote for him anyway just because they can’t stand Hillary.

Think about that. Their animosity toward one candidate is so visceral that they’re willing to hand the powers of the presidency to a dangerous, divisive and obviously uncontrollable buffoon.

The campaign has been so awful that moderates in both parties are depressed and disgusted. Many Democrats wish Joe Biden was on the ballot, while Republicans fantasize about Paul Ryan or John Kasich, anybody but Donald.

Anybody worried about what the future holds for their children or grandchildren ought to be asking themselves who, based on what we’ve seen, is likely to do the least harm — Clinton or Trump?
This might be extreme but is a good ilistration olf voter sentiment:

In a focus group of 23 voters, 3 said they were voting to support a candidate. The other 20 said they were voting to oppose a candidate.

Surprisingly, back to Shribman:

This is not the worst election we have ever had, though surely it is the worst we have had in modern times. The campaign has distressed commentators and political scientists, but there remain glimmers of hope among the people who actually will decide the outcome.

This is not a guess based on anecdotal conversations in this classic swing state but a statistically significant finding in a respected poll. The percentage of Americans who, according to a Colby College/Boston Globe poll, say both sides in the election confrontation should come together and work together is astonishing: 93 percent.

But that is just a wish that both sides should come together. There are more indications that the sides  have been driven apart wider than the Grand Canyon.

And it’s becoming that apparent that an increasing number of Americans want the election to stop so they can get off their barf bag election.