Lazy Saturday Reads: Stars Come Out for Hillary; Trump Awakens a Sleeping Giant

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Good Morning!!

This election is looking very good for Hillary Clinton. In just three more days, she will more than likely be President Elect Hillary Clinton. I can’t wait to vote for her on Tuesday! I thought about voting early, but I finally decided to wait and go to my regular polling place on election day. That will be a very special moment. I already shed some tears when I voted for Hillary in the 2008 primary and again in the 2016 primary. But Tuesday will be the big enchilada.

Last night Hillary appeared with Jay Z and Beyonce at the get-out-the-vote concert in Cleveland. NYT:

In an election year when Hillary Clinton is depending on young black voters to turn out, she may have gotten her biggest boost yet here on Friday.

Some of the most famous names in hip-hop came out to rally votes for her at an event that featured Beyoncé, Jay Z and Chance the Rapper, all of whom implored thousands of cheering people to back the Democratic presidential nominee.

“Hello, Cleveland!” Mrs. Clinton said as she stood onstage with Beyoncé and Jay Z.

Mrs. Clinton called Beyoncé “a woman who is an inspiration to so many others” and thanked Jay Z “for addressing in his music some of our biggest challenges in the country: poverty, racism, the urgent need for criminal justice reform.”

“When I see them here, this passion and energy and intensity, I don’t even know where to begin because this is what America is, my friends,” she said.

At the concert, aimed largely at urging black voters and millennials to vote on Tuesday, some of the biggest stars emphasized the historical significance of potentially electing the first woman as president.

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Cleveland.com:

Jay Z began the concert with “Made in America.” He performed behind a screen that manipulated his face to look like an American flag. A-list artists, including Beyonce, Big Sean, Chance the Rapper, and J. Cole surprised a pumped up crowd….

Jay Z performed behind a black and white photograph of the White House. He repeated Clinton’s campaign slogan: “Stronger Together.”

Each special performer emerged, one after another, thrilling the crowd of about 10,000. Politics overlaid performance. Words flashed behind the musicians on a large screen:

  • “Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote”
  • “And on that day I did nothing”
  • “Shape Tomorrow, Vote Today”
  • “Your voice, your vote”

The crowd erupted in screams as Beyonce took the stage. Queen B delivered a heartfelt speech about what seeing a woman in the White House means to her.

“There was a time when a woman’s opinion did not matter if you were black, if you were white, Mexican, Asian, Muslim, educated, poor or rich. If you were a woman, it did not matter. Less than 100 years ago, women did not have the right to vote.  Look how far we’ve come from having no voice to being on the brink of making history, again, by electing the first woman president. But we have to vote. The world looks to us as a progressive country that leads change,” Beyonce said. “I want my daughter to grow up seeing a woman lead our country.”

She transitioned into an appropriately patriotic song: Freedom. And followed it up with a medley of female empowerment songs: “Independent Women,” and “Run the World (Girls).”

The screen behind her flashed: “I’m with her.”

Hillary at concert with Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony in Miami

Hillary at concert with Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony in Miami

And who was campaigning for Donald Trump? NYT: Big Names Campaigning for Hillary Clinton Underscore Donald Trump’s Isolation.

Hillary Clinton campaigned Friday in the company of friends and celebrities, first flanked by the billionaire businessman Mark Cuban in Pittsburgh and Detroit, and then at a concert in Cleveland with Jay Z and Beyoncé. High-wattage political leaders fanned out for her around the country: Her husband, Bill, stumped in Colorado, as President Obama rallied voters in North Carolina.

By comparison, Donald J. Trump was a lonely figure.

In the final days of the presidential race, Mr. Trump’s political isolation has made for an unusual spectacle on the campaign trail — and perhaps a limiting factor in his dogged comeback bid.

When it comes to bolstering Mr. Trump, the Republican Party is not sending its best: As party leaders have disavowed him or declined to back his candidacy, Mr. Trump has been left instead with an eclectic group of backup players to aid him in his last dash for votes. Though polls show Mr. Trump drawing closer to Mrs. Clinton, the most prominent Republicans in key swing states still fear that his unpopularity may taint them by association.

Trump told a crowd in Hershey, PA that he doesn’t need anyone but himself.

“By the way, I didn’t have to bring J. Lo or Jay Z — the only way she gets anybody,” he said. “ I am here all by myself. Just me — no guitar, no piano, no nothing.”

Campaigning in New Hampshire earlier on Friday, Mr. Trump did not appear with either Senator Kelly Ayotte, a Republican seeking re-election, or Chris Sununu, the Republican nominee for governor. Ms. Ayotte withdrew her endorsement of Mr. Trump last month, and Mr. Sununu has kept an awkward distance from Mr. Trump in his closely divided state.

Hillary with Katy Perry in Iowa

Hillary with Katy Perry in Iowa

Tonight Hillary will be in Philadelphia for a free concert with Katy Perry.

Meanwhile, massive early voting by Latinos in Nevada, Florida, and Arizona is looking very good for Hillary and Democrats.

CNN: Democrats build huge early vote lead in battleground Nevada.

Democrats have built what could be an insurmountable edge in Nevada at the end of early voting in the Western battleground state.

In key regions, the party is matching or outpacing the lead President Barack Obama had at this point in 2012 on his way to a nearly 7-percentage-point win of the state’s six electoral votes.
Clark County — home of Las Vegas and more than two-thirds of Nevada’s active registered voters — saw its record for single-day early vote turnout shattered Friday when 57,174 people cast their ballots, according to data from the Nevada secretary of state’s office that’s based on the party registration of those who have voted.
Overall, Democrats have built a lead of more than 72,000 votes there — 13.7 points ahead of Republicans, and slightly larger than Obama’s 2012 edge.

Donald Trump will be in Reno on Saturday, but the Republicans almost certainly lost Nevada on Friday.

Trump’s path was nearly impossible, as I have been telling you, before what happened in Clark County on Friday. But now he needs a Miracle in Vegas on Election Day — and a Buffalo Bills Super Bowl championship is more likely — to turn this around. The ripple effect down the ticket probably will cost the Republicans Harry Reid’s Senate seat, two GOP House seats and control of the Legislature.

Early voting crowd at Cardenas in Las Vegas

Early voting crowd at Cardenas in Las Vegas

How devastating was it, epitomized by thousands of mostly Latino voters keeping Cardenas market open open in Vegas until 10 PM? This cataclysmic:

—-The Democrats won Clark County by more than 11,000 votes Friday (final mail count not posted yet), a record margin on a record-setting turnout day of 57,000 voters. The Dems now have a firewall — approaching 73,000 ballots — greater than 2012 when Barack Obama won the state by nearly 7 points. The 71,000 of 2012 was slightly higher in percentage terms, but raw votes matter. The lead is 14 percentage points — right at registration. You know what else matters? Registration advantages (142,000 in Clark). Reminder: When the Clark votes were counted from early/mail voting in 2012, Obama had a 69,000 vote lead in Clark County. Game over.

—-The statewide lead (some rurals not posted) will be above 45,000 — slightly under the 48,000 of 2012, but still robust. That’s 6 percentage points, or right about at registration. The GOP turnout advantage was under a percent, worse than 2012 when it was 1.1 percent.

—-The Dems eked out a 200-vote win in Washoe and lead there by 1,000 votes. It was even in 2012. The rural lead, before the stragglers come in, is 27,500. It probably will get above 28,000.

—-Total turnout without those rurals: 768,000, or 52.5 percent. If overall turnout ends up being 80 percent, that means two thirds of the vote is in — close to 2012. Republicans would have to not only win Election Day by close to double digits to turn around the lead Hillary Clinton almost surely has in early voting, but they would have to astronomically boost turnout. The goal for the Dems during early voting was to bank votes and to boost turnout as high as possible to minimize the number of votes left on Election Day to affect races. Folks, the Reid Machine went out with a bang.

Lines for early voting in Arizona

Lines for early voting in Arizona

Arizona has seen the largest increase of early voting by Latinos of any state.

As of Oct. 30, nine days before the Nov. 8 election, 13 percent of the early ballots cast in Arizona came from Latino voters, up from 11 percent at the same point prior to the 2012 presidential election and from 8 percent in 2008.

The increase from 2012 to 2016 is the largest increase in early voting by Latinos in any state, according to statistics compiled by Catalist, a data company that works with progressive candidates and groups….

Data tabulated by Arizona’s Democratic Party showed an even bigger increase in early voting by Latinos in Arizona, from 6.2 percent in 2012 to nearly 12 percent through Nov. 1. The data is based on Hispanic surnames.

As of Nov. 1, the share of early balloting from voters with Hispanic surnames was nearly double the same time in 2012….

“There has been a large push by many Latino groups to vote by early ballot by mail to avoid any hassles at the ballot box in presenting ID and Latinos under extra scrutiny at the polls,” Garcia said.

There also are not a lot of undecided Latino voters, many of whom have been turned off by Donald Trump’s harsh comments about Mexicans and immigrants, Garcia said.

98-year-old early voter in Florida

98-year-old early voter in Florida

Early voting by Latinos is also setting records in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina.

Donald Trump awakened a sleeping giant with his attacks on Mexicans and immigrants.

More news, links only:

Mother Jones: Exclusive: The Democratic National Committee Has Told the FBI It Found Evidence Its HQ Was Bugged

AP via Politico: Melania Trump modeled in U.S. prior to getting work visa.

Wall Street Journal: National Enquirer Shielded Donald Trump From Playboy Model’s Affair Allegation.

HuffPo: A Guy In A Trump Shirt Carried A Gun Outside Of A Virginia Polling Place. Authorities Say That’s Fine.

Jezebel: The Woman Who Accused Trump of Raping Her at 13 Just Dropped Her Lawsuit.

NBC News: U.S. Govt. Hackers Ready to Hit Back If Russia Tries to Disrupt Election.

Washington Post: Trump is a threat to the West as we know it, even if he loses.

Raw Story: Wolf Blitzer catches Giuliani telling whoppers on FBI connection: ‘Aren’t they feeding you secret information?’


Lazy Saturday Reads: New Hampshire Primary Weekend

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Good Afternoon!!

So now it’s New Hampshire’s turn–a state that is even whiter than Iowa. Iowa is 92% white and New Hampshire is 94% white. Some interesting facts about New Hampshire from The Connecticut Post:

New Hampshire is even whiter than Iowa. Its largest “city” has 110,000 people in it.

Its population is slightly more educated and well off than the rest of the country.

Together, Iowa and New Hampshire tell us something about the voting behavior of white people who don’t live in or near large cities.

Blacks, Asians and Hispanics are basically excluded from the first two elections in the presidential nomination process.

This distorts results for both parties, but it especially affects Democrats because minorities vote in Republican primaries far less.

Hillary Clinton, for example, does far better than Bernie Sanders with minority voters in all the polling so far, so Sanders is lucky that Iowa and New Hampshire come first.

The big contest after the first two is South Carolina, which has a large minority population.

If Clinton wins big there, the Democratic race will suddenly look very different than it does today.

The U.S. is growing more diverse very quickly. For example, in 2012 there were 23.3 million Hispanic eligible voters; there are 27.3 million this year, making Hispanics the largest block of minority voters.

In 2014, there were four states where minorities make up the majority; by 2044, the U.S. will be majority-minority.

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Some primary envy from The Detroit News:

The campaigns spent $40 million to sway Iowa caucusers; at the end, the spending hit a $6 million-a-week pace. Over the the past year, Iowa and New Hampshire residents had to be in hiding to avoid bumping into a candidate.

It would be one thing if these two states were microcosms of the nation. But neither represents the industrial or demographic diversity of America.

Fewer people live in Iowa than in Metro Detroit. Ninety-two percent of the population is white; fewer than 1 percent of businesses are owned by African-Americans. New Hampshire is even smaller and, at 94 percent, whiter.

Appealing to Iowa and New Hampshire voters requires different messages than would resonate nationwide. But if candidates fail to move the homogenous voters of these states, they’re at risk of seeing their funding dry up and their ambitions busted.

Presidential hopefuls should have to prove their appeal to a broader audience early on. The primary season should be revamped to force them to spend those early months demonstrating the resources to mount a national campaign.

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The lack of diversity in the two earliest states has handed a big advantage to Bernie Sanders. We’ll have to wait for Nevada and South Carolina to see how much impact his “enthusiastic” support in Iowa and New Hampshire has had on voters in states that are more representative of the U.S. population.

And let’s not let voters forget that Sanders clearly stated in a debate that he considers white people to be the “general population” and African Americans and Latinos to be somehow outside the “general population.”

From Time:

Sanders was asked about this exact problem at the debate Sunday night in Charleston. His answer:

“When the African American community becomes familiar with my Congressional record and with our agenda, and with our views on the economy, and criminal justice — just as the general population has become more supportive, so will the African American community, so will the Latino community. We have the momentum, we’re on a path to a victory.”

A little bit condescending, no? So we can only wait and see what happens on Tuesday and go from there. I don’t think it’s time for the Clinton campaign to panic just yet.

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For a little deep background on the New Hampshire primary, here’s a great article from 1988 by the Washington Post’s Henry Allen: New Hampshire is a fraud.

New Hampshire is a fraud.

Which is to say that behind that idyll of white-steepled, sleigh-belled, town-meeting, republican-with-a-small-R America lurks a much realer and hidden New Hampshire — the souvenir hustlers, backwoods cranks, motorcycle racing fans who sometimes face trouble after a motorcycle crash so they can find legal help from accident lawyers in Dallas, out-of-state writers, dour French Canadians and tax-dodging Massachusetts suburbanites who have conspired as New Hampshire has conspired for two centuries to create an illusion of noble, upright, granite-charactered sentinels of liberty out of little more than a self-conscious collection of bad (if beautiful) land, summer people, second-growth woods full of junked cars and decaying aristocracy, lakes howling with speedboats, state liquor stores that are open on Sundays and the most vicious state newspaper in America — the Manchester Union Leader, which recently greeted the birthday of Martin Luther King by describing him as a Communist dupe.

They sell the rest of the country maple syrup, lottery tickets and Yankee sagacity the way Indians on reservations sell moccasins, bingo and environmental wisdom. They never shut up about how closemouthed they are. They beat you rich and they beat you poor. They do this by taking a Calvinist pride in the riches from the high-tech boom in the southern part of the state, and then asssuming the smugness of Thoreau in defending the poverty of the swamp Yankees and shack people living back in the woods with yards full of mean dogs and broken snowmobiles. They exhibit the ethics of Switzerland and the shrugging shabbiness of New Jersey.

Or as Emerson wrote: “The God who made New Hampshire taunted the lofty land with little men.”

The question is not who they think they are, to be holding us hostage every four years with their presidential primary. Instead, who do we think they are, to let them get away with it, this white, tight and right smidgen of a place, this myth-mongering bastion of no-tax/no-spend conservatives with no minorities to speak of and a total of .43 percent of the American people? As Thomas Jefferson said, after New Hampshire town meetings had attacked his Embargo Act, “The organization of this little selfish minority enabled it to overrule the union.”

Read more at the link. It’s a long read, but a fun one.

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The media is finally beginning to vet Bernie Sanders with some serious research. Some examples:

Michael Grunwald at Politico: Bernie’s Radical Dilemma: If we need a revolution, how does he explain that things are already getting better?

Now that Bernie Sanders is looking less like a quixotic left-wing protest candidate and more like a serious contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, a contradiction at the heart of his campaign is becoming more glaring. You can call it the Radical’s Dilemma, or the Revolutionary’s Quandary, or maybe just Bernie’s Obama Problem. Whatever you call it, it was on stark display at last night’s debate in New Hampshire, even though Sanders tried to gloss over it.

The conundrum boils down to a schizophrenic view of a nation where progressive change is impossible and where progressive change is simultaneously happening. On one hand, Sanders argues that the political system is hopelessly corrupt, that the economy is outrageously rigged, that nothing good can happen as long as Wall Street, drug companies and fossil-fuel interests own Washington. On the other hand, Sanders says President Barack Obama has done a “fantastic job,” that America is in “much better shape than we were seven years ago,” that there has been significant progress on financial reform, health reform and climate action.

This is not just a political problem, as Sanders tries to carve out space to Obama’s left without denouncing a president with a 90 percent approval rating among Democrats. And Sanders can’t wave away the problem by saying the progress under Obama has been impressive, considering the Republican opposition, but insufficient; Obama says the same thing. This is a philosophical problem for a radical candidate, a question he hasn’t figured out how to answer: If things are never going to get better without a political revolution to take power back from special interests, how is it that things are getting better?

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Tim Mak at The Daily Beast: The Veterans Scandal on Bernie Sanders’ Watch.

Bernie Sanders’s tenure as chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee was characterized by glaring neglect of his oversight responsibilities, allowing the 2014 VA scandal to unfold under his watch, veterans’ rights advocates argue.

Sanders has touted his work on veterans’ issues, most recently citing his involvement in “the most comprehensive VA health care bill in this country,” in a debate Thursday.

Left unsaid however, is that he was the chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, responsible for overseeing the Department of Veterans Affairs, as the scandal erupted.