Donald Trump speaks at The Farm in Selma, North Carolina, last night. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
With Breanne Deppisch
THE BIG IDEA:
SELMA, N.C.—As he barnstorms the country in the final days of the campaign, Donald Trump has made a notable number of stops in relatively out-of-the-way places like this one, most of which are already guaranteed to break heavily for Republicans.
After his motorcade traveled 47 miles from the Raleigh airport last night, the GOP nominee spoke to an energetic crowd of 15,000 during an outdoor rally on a farm in this town of 6,000.
Mitt Romney carried Johnston County with 63.4 percent four years ago, but the former Massachusetts governor only received 48,000 of his 2.3 million votes in North Carolina from here.
Donald’s advisers believe he can win over rural whites by a much bigger margin than Mitt and come away with significantly more votes, which they gamble will offset his weakness among suburban Republicans. They believe off-the-charts turnout in the country will tip the balance in a battleground state that remains a true toss-up.
A week ago Wednesday, Trump went to Kinston – in the coastal plains region of Eastern North Carolina. The population is 21,000. Earlier yesterday afternoon, on the other side of the state, Trump spoke in Concord, on the periphery of the Charlotte metro area, in a county Romney won with 60 percent.
Many savvy Republican operatives are puzzled by these scheduling decisions. They just don’t think there are that many additional votes to net, and they believe Trump should be focusing more on shoring up recalcitrant Republicans who might be amenable to coming home in the wake of the FBI announcement about new emails in the Hillary Clinton investigation.
I’ve written several times about Trump’s time management problem, from the ribbon cutting for his new D.C. hotel last week to his Albuquerque visit on Sunday. Remember when he wasted a week campaigning in California in June? Or when he held a big rally in Mississippi this August? Or when he went to his golf course in Scotland? In this case, there is a more legitimate – even if ill-advised – theory of the case. Polonius might even say there a method in the madness.
A supporter in Selma (Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA)
— Trump supporters who live in the rural areas which Trump has lavished with attention predict it will pay huge dividends and fuel what they expect to be a landslide victory next Tuesday. Fifteen voters I interviewed at Trump’s rally made this point:
Neal Brantley did not vote for Romney in 2012 because he perceived him as too moderate. He wrote in Ron Paul’s name instead. Asked if locals are more excited about 2016 than past elections, the 76-year-old fence builder stretched out his arms as wide as they would go. “I never heard anything I would call ‘enthusiasm’ before now,” he said. “It’s the difference between this point and this point.”
Brantley is also a leader in the local chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and likes to wear a replica of Robert E. Lee’s uniform. Because he has a white beard, he said many people tell him that he looks just like the Civil War commander. “How much smaller a town can you get than here? This is truly real America right here,” he said.
Tracy Haas, 43, a business manager for a nonprofit, said it is “mind blowing” that Trump would come here – in a good way. “It was genius of him,” she said. “People on the Democrat side probably laughed at him because it’s little ole Selma, but it was so genius. I mean we’re on a farm, and that’s what Johnston County is all about – the country.”
“It means so much that he’s here,” added Judy Bennett, 47, a property manager who lives a mile down the road. “It puts our county on the map. A potential president of the United States has been here now! Hillary would never come because we’re not important enough to her. She doesn’t care about us.”
A little boy watches Trump here last night. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
— Review Trump’s schedule, and you’ll see how this strategy is manifesting itself far beyond North Carolina: On Wednesday, he went to Pensacola, Florida. He stumped in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, on Tuesday, instead of the Milwaukee suburbs, where’s he badly underperforming and needs to shore up soft Republicans. On Sunday, it was Greeley, Colorado. Last Thursday, it was Springfield, Ohio. He’s also invested time trying to win one electoral vote from rural Maine.
The National Rifle Association, the conservative outside group that has been most helpful to Trump, has trained its advertising fire on these same rural voters in target states, including North Carolina.
Check out the word “Hillary” on Trump’s teleprompter last night. (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)
— For Trump, vanity might also be a factor. The reality TV star draws energy from large, raucous audiences. His advance guys have an easier time building crowds in places like Selma.
Literally, the loudest cheers last night came when Trump talked about the size of his crowd. He did it three times during a 45-minute speech. “Even the pundits, even the ones that don’t like me, say there’s never been anything like this. You just take a look at this field,” he said. “We’re just five days away from the change you’ve been waiting for your entire life. … You are going to remember this night as a very important night.”
Eileen LePage, 47, said she could not bring herself to vote for Romney last time because he is too much of a squishy politician, but she cannot wait to go vote for Trump. Though she lives in Selma, she said even here there is “a stigma” attached to publicly supporting him. Her sons were nervous they’d be called racists at school by the African American students. And she worried about how the Mexican immigrants who attend her Catholic parish might respond. But seeing so many members of the local community – though virtually all white — was exhilarating and even liberating.
The speech was immediately followed by a fireworks show. The crowd chanted U-S-A, and the lyrics “you can’t always get what you want” blared over the loudspeakers. At the exit, a vendor sold target practice sheets with a bullseye over Clinton’s head for $2 – “or three for $5.” He also hawked buttons that said, “Cubs win. Trump wins.”
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
— America’s labor market continues to show signs of gradual strengthening, with newly released government data showing the economy added 161,000 jobs last month. From Ana Swanson reports: “Annual wage growth surged to levels not seen since before the financial crisis, while the unemployment rate dipped to 4.9 percent in October from 5 percent the previous month. Economists … had expected U.S. employers to add 173,000 new jobs in October, roughly on pace with average monthly job gains over the course of the year. The final piece of economic data released before the presidential election on Tuesday, the jobs report showed an economy that is steadily emerging from the shadow of the Great Recession.”
A crowd of about 5,500 watched Hillary, Bernie and Pharrell at Coastal Credit Union Music Park in Raleigh last night. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)
— Our Washington Post/ABC News tracking poll gives Clinton a three-point edge over Trump nationally, 47 to 44 percent. The poll finds the popular vote could be amazingly similar to 2012, when Obama won by a four-point margin. From our in-house pollsters Scott Clement and Emily Guskin:
Trump holds a clear 48-39 percent advantage on who is best “to deal with corruption in government.”
Trump leads with independents by eight points in the latest wave (47-39). That mirrors Romney’s 5-point win with the group.
Twenty-nine percent believe the most important issue is the economy. That’s followed by corruption in government, terrorism and national security, health care and immigration.
Megyn Kelly poses for a portrait in New York. Her book “Settle For More” comes out on Nov. 15. (Victoria Will/Invision/AP, File)
— Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly reportedly alleges in her new memoir that Roger Ailes tried to sexually assault her in his New York office and hinted that she would be fired when she “pushed him away.” Radar Online’s Sharon Churcher got an early look at the book: “Kelly claims he started to harass her in the summer of 2005, a few months after she was hired as a legal correspondent in Fox’s Washington bureau. She writes that she was informed by her managing editor that she’d ‘captured the attention of Mr. Ailes’ and she was summoned to the first of a series of meetings in his Manhattan office. ‘Roger began pushing the limits,’ she alleges. ‘There was a pattern to his behavior. I would be called into Roger’s office, he would shut the door, and over the next hour or two, he would engage in a kind of cat-and-mouse game with me.’” The now 76-year-old offered to advance her career “in exchange for sexual favors,” Radar reports. In 2006, she says he began trying to kiss her on the lips – and when she refused, asked her when her contract was up. “And then, for the third time, he tried to kiss me,” Kelly writes. “Mr. Ailes denies her allegations of sexual harrassment or misconduct of any kind,” lawyer Susan Estrich says in a statement.
Children play next to a burning oil field south of Mosul. (Felipe Dana/AP)
GET SMART FAST:
Thousands of residents poured out of eastern Mosul, escaping for the first time since ISIS wrested control of the city more than two years ago. Streams of giddy civilians – including women who ripped off their hair covers with glee and shepherds who pushed herds of sheep from the war zone – began heading towards newly-constructed camps in the area. Officials say more than 1.2 million civilians are still trapped in the city. (William Booth and Loveday Morris)
Federal investigators ruled that Penn State should pay $2.4 million for multiple violations of campus safety laws, stemming from a five-year probe of former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky’s sexual abuse of minors. If upheld, the Education Department’s fine would be the largest by far since the law was enacted more than 25 years ago. (Nick Anderson)
The Supreme Court stayed the execution of an Alabama death row inmate, just hours before the man’s scheduled lethal injection. The high court’s decision marked the seventh time that Thomas Arthur — a 74-year-old who was convicted of murder in 1982—faced an execution date that was called off. (Mark Berman)
A U.S. Park Police officer accidentally shot himself in the foot while fending off a raccoon attack in Rock Creek Park. The cop said he was attacked by the furry critter around noon on Thursday and was then transported to the hospital. (Justin Wm. Moyer)
South Korean President Park Geun-hye issued a national apology over a mounting political crisis involving a so-called “shadow aide,” saying she would submit to an investigation of her administration. “All this is my fault,” she said. (Anna Fifield)
More than 800,000 Haitians are still in desperate need of humanitarian help after Hurricane Matthew pummeled the country last month, the U.N. said. And as aid to the area stalls, residents have grown increasingly ravenous — looting trucks and violently fighting over supplies. At least one boy was killed in the fracas last week. (Nick Miroff)
A new CDC report finds that the Zika virus is linked to a specific cluster of birth defects in children, being dubbed “congenital Zika syndrome.” The syndrome covers five specific problems rarely – if ever – seen with other infections and drives home the severe effects caused by the mosquito-borne disease. (Lena H. Sun)
Researchers think they have found a new use for polio drugs — using them to treat acute flaccid myelitis, a mysterious paralyzing disease that has affected more than 100 children this year. Some doctors suspect the two illnesses are in the same family of diseases. (Dan Hurley)
The SEC is now investigating Wells Fargo over its sham account scandal, working to determine whether the bank misled investors by not disclosing that 5,300 employees were fired in connection with setting up unauthorized accounts. (Renae Merle)
Middle school students are now just as likely to die from suicide as they are from traffic accidents, according to a horrifying new CDC study. Some believe the rising pervasiveness of social media may be a factor. (New York Times)
Harvard announced it will cancel the remainder of its men’s soccer season, after officials discovered that athletes were continuing to produce vulgar and explicit “scouting reports” rating women on physical appearance and sexual appeal. The dean also ordered a legal investigation into the matter. (Harvard Crimson)
A nationally-known con man who posed as a high school student at age 26 before faking his way into a Princeton scholarship in the 1980s was arrested this week in Aspen. Officials found him living in an illegally-built shack on the side of a ski mountain. (AP)
A South Carolina woman reported missing in August was found locked in a 30-foot shipping container this week. Police said she was “chained like a dog” and yelling for help. She told authorities that she has been kept captive there for more than two months. (WYFF-4)
Fans of Trader Joe’s often laud its friendly employees, known for cheerfully handing out samples. But some ousted workers are complaining of safety lapses and mistreatment from the company – including one former employee who says he was fired for lacking a “genuine” smile. (New York Times)
Russian President Vladimir Putin confers with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the APEC summit in Vladivostok, Russia, in September 2012. (Mikhail Metzel/AP/Pool)
IMPORTANT READS ON RUSSIA:
— “From ‘reset’ to ‘pause’: The real story behind Hillary Clinton’s feud with Vladimir Putin,” by Joby Warrick and Karen DeYoung: “In one of her last acts as secretary of state in early 2013, [Clinton] wrote a confidential memo to the White House on how to handle Vladimir Putin. … Her bluntly worded advice: Snub him. ‘Don’t appear too eager to work together,’ Clinton urged. … ‘Don’t flatter Putin with high-level attention. Decline his invitation for a presidential summit.’ It was harsh advice coming from the administration’s top diplomat, and Obama would ignore key parts of it. But the memo succinctly captured a personal view about Putin on the part of the future Democratic presidential nominee: a deep skepticism, informed by bitter experience, that would be likely to define U.S.-Russian relations if Clinton is elected. Her lasting conclusion, as she would acknowledge, was that ‘strength and resolve were the only language Putin would understand.’ For Clinton, the rhetoric reflects genuine disappointment and frustration from a tumultuous term as secretary of state during which cooperation between Moscow and Washington briefly soared, only to come crashing to Earth after Putin’s reelection.”
— U.S. intelligence agencies do not see Russia as capable of using cyberespionage to alter the outcome of next week’s presidential election, BUT they are warning that Moscow may continue meddling even after the voting has ended to sow doubts about legitimacy and extend political turbulence. From Greg Miller and Adam Entous: “U.S. security officials have not ruled out Russian-sponsored disruption on Election Day. In recent weeks, officials at the [DHS] have collected evidence of apparent Russian ‘scanning’ of state-run databases and computer voting systems. ‘Whether they were really trying hard to get in, it’s not clear,’ a U.S. official said. Still, the decentralized nature of U.S. polling would make it extraordinarily difficult to subvert a nationwide race. Instead, U.S. officials said it is more likely that Russia would use hacking tools to expose or fabricate signs of vote-rigging, aiming to delegitimize an election outcome that [Trump] has said he may refuse to accept if he does not win.”
— Facebook must fix this –> “How MACEDONIA Became A Global Hub For Pro-Trump Misinformation,” by BuzzFeed’s Craig Silverman and Lawrence Alexander: “’This is the news of the millennium!’ said the story on WorldPoliticus.com. Citing unnamed FBI sources, it claimed [Clinton] will be indicted in 2017 for crimes related to her email scandal. ‘Your Prayers Have Been Answered,’ declared the headline. For Trump supporters, that certainly seemed to be the case. They helped the baseless story generate over 140,000 [Facebook shares] … Meanwhile, roughly 6,000 miles away in a small Macedonian town, a young man watched as money began trickling into his Google AdSense account. Over the past year, the central Macedonian town of Veles (population 45,000) has experienced a digital gold rush as locals launched at least 140 US politics websites. These sites have American-sounding domain names [and] almost all publish aggressively pro-Trump content aimed at conservatives.”
The young Macedonians who run these sites don’t care about Trump. Their motivations are purely economic: “As Facebook earning reports show, a U.S. Facebook user is worth about four times a non-U.S. user. Several teens said they learned the best way to generate traffic is to get their stories to spread on Facebook — and the best way to generate Facebook shares to publish sensationalist — often false — content catering to Trump supporters. ‘Yes, the info in the blogs is bad, false, and misleading but the rationale is that ‘if it gets the people to click on it and engage, then use it,’ one site creator admitted.”
A FLURRY OF POLLS:
— NBC/WSJ/Marist says GEORGIA is deadlocked, with Trump up just one point (45-44). Donald is in pretty good shape in two other traditionally red states. Among likely voters, he has a five-point lead in ARIZONA and a nine-point lead in TEXAS.
— A Boston Globe/Suffolk University poll shows Clinton and Trump deadlocked in NEW HAMPSHIRE at 42 percent. Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte leads Maggie Hassan by two points.
— A Simpson College/RABA Research poll shows Trump up just three points in IOWA (44-41). If Clinton wins, one in five Iowans said they do not think the country is ready for its first woman president. But three in four voters said they trust the election system.
— Monmouth suggests that UTAH is moving back pretty comfortably into Trump’s column. Independent Evan McMullin trails Trump by 13 points after being in the margin of recent polls.
— Quinnipiac University has some fresh down-ballot numbers. Where four Republican incumbents stand: Richard Burr is down four in North Carolina, trailing Deborah Ross 49-45. Pat Toomey is within the margin of error in Pennsylvania, with the pollster saying it is “too close to call.” Marco Rubio is up six in Florida. Rob Portman is up 18 in Ohio! Remember, the Q poll had him down early on to Ted Strickland.
DISPATCHES FROM THE BATTLEGROUNDS:
— “Officer slayings bring a new anguish to IOWA at end of a rancorous election,” by Colby Itkowitz and Mark Berman in Des Moines: “A day after police in Iowa captured a man they say killed two officers in a pair of brazen ambushes, authorities said they still didn’t know the motive for the ‘cowardly’ attacks, and residents grappled with their anguish. Scott Michael Greene, 46, whose relationship with his mother had disintegrated so badly that each received protective orders against the other, was formally charged with two counts of first-degree murder. He was taken from the hospital where he had been evaluated to the Polk County jail, restrained … by the handcuffs of the two slain officers. Outside the Des Moines police department, a steady stream of mourners gathered around a makeshift memorial — a parked patrol car barely visible under the flower bouquets, stuffed animals, condolence notes and children’s drawings. Mary White, 42, stood by the memorial with her arm around her 11-year-old son, Alex, their eyes both red-rimmed from crying. ‘Everybody is against everybody. Why? Why are we enemies?’”
— The Trump Effect: We’re seeing an uptick in Latinos voting early across the country. From John Wagner, Anne Gearan and Jose A. DelReal: Hispanic voters represented 13.2 percent of all early voters in ARIZONA as of this week, up from 11 percent at the same point in 2012 and 8.1 percent in 2008. In NEVADA, Latinos make up 11.8 percent of early voters so far, compared with 10.5 percent in 2012 and 9.1 percent in 2008. And in FLORIDA, they accounted for 14.1 percent of all returned ballots as of Tuesday, up from 9.6 percent at the same point in 2008. … COLORADO and VIRGINIA have also seen increases in Latino participation, state officials said. And in the traditionally red state of Texas, counties located along the Mexican border have seen large surges in early voters.”
— A Univision poll finds Clinton leading Trump by 30 points among FLORIDA Hispanics. This is remarkable when you consider that the state’s Hispanics (because of the large, anti-communist Cuban population) used to favor Republicans. Her 60-30 advantage in the state is fueled largely by the influx of Puerto Ricans, who support her by a 71 percent margin. The Puerto Ricans put Obama over the top in the Sunshine State in 2012 too.
— In PHOENIX, Tim Kaine delivered a speech entirely in Spanish as part of the Clinton campaign’s broader effort to juice Latino turnout. Trump is “someone who thinks ‘Latino outreach’ means tweeting out a picture of a taco bowl,” said the vice presidential nominee. He blasted Trump for calling Alicia Machado “Miss Housekeeping” and suggesting that the Indiana-born judge Gonzalo Curiel is “biased” against Trump because of his Mexican heritage. (CNN)
— Voter suppression? Reuters’ Julia Harte obtained emails that show NORTH CAROLINA state and county Republican officials lobbied members of at least 17 county election boards to keep early-voting sites open for shorter hours on weekends and in evenings – times that usually see disproportionately high turnout by Democratic voters.
–A federal judge rejected a PENNSYLVANIA GOP effort to roll back restrictions on poll watching rules. “There is no need for this judicial fire drill and [the Republican Party] offers no reasonable explanation or justification for the harried process they created,” a U.S. District Judge wrote on Thursday. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
— Barack and Michelle Obama will stump alongside Bill and Hillary on Election Eve in PHILADELPHIA. It will be the first time the couples appear together on the trail and shows the continuing significance of PENNSYLVANIA.
— POTUS and FLOTUS cut a series of personalized radio ads targeting black voters The spots are specifically aimed at seven congressional districts with major African American populations — two in Florida, two in Nevada, one in California, one in Kansas and another in Nebraska. The ads will run on at least two popular stations per district, including hip-hop and R&B stations, running at least twice an hour until Election Day. “We have the opportunity to build on all the progress we’ve made, to fight for the issues you and I believe in,” the president says in one ad. “I’m doing everything I can to make sure our Democrats all around the country have what they need to win, and that’s why I need you.” (CNN)
— The Clinton campaign has reached out to “dozens” of Democratic House and Senate candidates this week to offer a formal endorsement and support from her massive digital organizing program. From Buzzfeed’s Ruby Cramer: “Clinton officials contacted a select group of House and Senate campaigns across the county with the same question: What do you need? On the table: Clinton’s endorsement, to use in whatever way best suits the candidate, along with a menu of options from the campaign’s digital field operation — social media posts, text messages, emails encouraging voters to volunteer, and access to Clinton’s online organizing tools. Dozens of Democratic House and Senate candidates — including in non-battleground states Indiana, New York, and California — heard from the campaign early this week, in most cases from one of its state directors.”
Clinton and Kaine in Annandale, Virginia, this summer. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)
— “Republicans dare to hope: Did VIRGINIA get her swing back?” by Laura Vozzella and Jenna Portnoy: “Clinton is airing ads again in Virginia. … Kaine will spend precious time campaigning in Northern Virginia and Richmond (on Monday). Polls are tightening. And so Republicans who long ago gave up any hope that Trump could win here are starting to wonder: Is Virginia back in play? When Trump returned with a $2 million television ad buy two weeks ago, even fellow Republicans panned the move as a financially unjustifiable face-saver, one meant to beat back rumors that he was pulling out of the state entirely. [Now], some Republicans who had privately thrown in the towel months ago were expressing newfound optimism Thursday. ‘It’s looking extremely close,’ [said one party official]. ‘I think what we’re seeing is ghosts of 2014 in terms of the closeness of the race.'”
“Terry McAuliffe has been determined to deliver the state for Clinton, staying in almost daily contact with Bill Clinton and Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager who also led McAuliffe’s race for governor,” Laura and Jenna note. “He has said publicly for months that he expected the race to tighten. In private, he continues to express confidence in the outcome.”
— Reality check: While Virginia will be closer than conventional wisdom currently suggests (never forget how close that 2013 governor’s race wound up), Clinton is virtually certain to win.
A Roanoke College Poll this morning has Clinton up seven points post-Comey (45-38). Seven in 10 likely voters agreed Clinton is more qualified to be president than Trump.
People in the Trump high command do not think the commonwealth is winnable, which is why Donald is not traveling there. Democrats are only putting six figures into Virginia TV time, which is not very much when you consider how much cash she has on hand and the relative size of the Old Dominion.
David Wasserman, an editor for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, concurs: “Although absentee voting has been underwhelming in heavily black localities, it’s been impressive in Northern Virginia — and, for what it’s worth, in areas with pockets of Latino voters. Trump still has enormous problems with suburban, college-educated women, who are a huge voting force in places like Fairfax, Loudoun and Henrico counties.”
Hillary stumps with Bernie in Raleigh last night. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)
THE LATEST ON THE EMAILS:
— Deep divisions inside the FBI and the Justice Department over how to Clinton’s email investigation will likely fester even after Tuesday’s election — and pose a significant test for Jim Comey’s leadership amid the infighting. From Matt Zapotosky, Rosalind S. Helderman, Sari Horwitz and Ellen Nakashima: “Although investigators had discovered the emails in early October, software glitches prevented them from separating [Huma Abedin]-related emails from the hundreds of thousands of messages recovered until Oct. 19 or 20.” And while Comey had been quickly alerted by his deputy to the original find, he took no further action until the day after his final briefing on Oct. 27. “If Clinton is elected, Comey might have to contend with one or more investigations involving a sitting president. If she is not, he might face criticism for upending her bid.”
— Clinton declined on Thursday to say whether, if elected, she would ask the FBI director to resign: “I’m not going to, you know, either get ahead of myself by assuming I’ll be fortunate enough to be elected,” Clinton said in a radio interview. “That’s really up to you and your listeners.” She added she would also “never comment on any kind of, you know, personnel issue.”
— Kaine said he is “puzzled” by Comey’s letter to Congress, but does not believe the decision was made with any sort of political motive: “I don’t think he is trying to influence the outcome of the election, I don’t question his integrity, but I do have serious questions about the judgment demonstrated by this … highly unusual letter that was so cryptic that he kind of had to do a do-over letter the next day that he put out next week,” the senator said during a Fox radio interview on Thursday. His tone comes as a rhetorical softening from other Clinton allies, who have delivered harsher broadsides against the FBI director since his bombshell announcement. (Politico)
— The State Department released more than 1,200 pages of new Clinton emails recovered from her server. Many of the documents, however, are near-duplicates of messages that have already been made public. (Politico’s Josh Gerstein)
— Dallas Observer, “The Dallas IRS Office That’s Quietly Determining the Fate of the Clinton Foundation,” by Joe Pappalardo: “The Earle Cabell Federal Building in downtown Dallas is an all-purpose office complex, a bastion of federal bureaucracy. … Most people come for a passport or to get business done in front of a federal judge. But inside, a quiet review is underway that has direct ties to the raging presidential election: The local branch of the IRS’ Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division is reviewing the tax status of the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation. This IRS review has not generated similar waves as [DOJ] probes into the foundation, and has largely been forgotten in the campaign’s melee. It’s just not as sexy as private email servers, FBI infighting and charges of political pressure … But even though this examination is less scrutinized and is harder to conceptualize, it’s impact may be important. The report won’t likely be done in time to influence the presidential campaign — even though the review started more than four months ago — but it could certainly influence the first term of Hillary Clinton presidency.”
— Should they keep control of the House in the next Congress, Republicans could easily launch impeachment proceedings, with political will as the most significant obstacle. From Mike DeBonis: “The House Judiciary Committee typically investigates charges of official wrongdoing and, if it finds them to be warranted, forwards articles of impeachment to the House floor.” Neither Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz nor Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte have called for Clinton’s impeachment, though they have made clear they intend to continue probing her emails: “In a joint letter sent Thursday, the two chairmen called on [Loretta Lynch] to preserve documents related to the email investigation, including the new evidence the FBI disclosed last week. [They] also asked the federal investigators to probe whether Clinton committed perjury during 2015 testimony.”
— Nancy Pelosi said the premature talk of impeachment is “a brazen attempt to nullify the vote of the American people, outside our constitutional framework and destructive to the Framers’ intent.”
— New York Times, “Family Disputes and a Nasty Can of Beans: Hillary Clinton as Litigator,” by Amy Chozick: “Mrs. Clinton’s 1970s-era adventures in the Arkansas bar could have provided some of the color for a John Grisham novel — or for a fish-out-of-water comedy like ‘My Cousin Vinny.’ … It was not glamorous: She represented a moving company whose customer had sued it for damaging a coffee table, a crop-duster who flew his airplane too close to his rice fields … and a canning company that was sued after a man opened his pork and beans and found the rear end of a rat. Yet a tour of Mrs. Clinton’s early work … turns up much of what would distinguish her as a politician many years later: Diligent preparation and a surgical approach to dismantling opposing arguments. A capacity for warmth with clients and adversaries alike. Toughness and deftness in the face of male condescension. And a minimal appetite for the spotlight, if not quite an aversion to it.”
Melanie Trump speaks in Berwyn, Pa. (AP/Patrick Semansky)
THE DAILY DONALD:
— Melania Trump delivered rare public remarks in Pennsylvania, vowing to work against cyberbullying should her husband win. From Mary Jordan: “Our culture has gotten too mean and too rough,” she said – sounding nothing at all like Trump, whose insults and name-calling are a central part of his campaign. “As adults, many of us are able to handle mean words, even lies,” she said in a speech aimed at winning over more female voters. “They hurt when they are made fun of or made to feel less in looks or intelligence. We have to find a better way to talk to each other, to disagree with each other, to respect each other.”
But her calls for civility may have been too little, too late – as even some Trump supporters lamented the crude language often used by the Republican nominee online and on the campaign trail. “’I am a woman, and of course it bothers me,’ said Victoria Granero, 60, who still plans to vote for Trump. Noting that the Republican nominee is trailing badly with female voters and that his wife offered a refreshingly different approach … Granero was puzzled about only now getting to hear from Melania Trump. ‘Why didn’t he send her out earlier?’” she asked. “I don’t think she can help him now.”
Plagiarism watch: Journalists covering the speech quickly noticed that one of Melania’s optimistic mantras — “if you could dream it, you could become it” — was first uttered by Trump’s second wife, Marla Maples, in 2011…
Reporters also had a field day highlighting examples of Donald cyber-bullying as Melania decried it:
Melania Trump: “They are hurt when they are made fun of, or made to feel less in looks or intelligence.” Hmm: pic.twitter.com/Bhv0O5xrGm
— Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) November 3, 2016
— Eric Trump made headlines of his own for suggesting that former Ku Klux Klan leader and Louisiana Senate candidate David Duke “deserves a bullet”: “Ross, it’s disgusting and by the way, if I said exactly what you said, I’d get killed for it but I think I’ll say it anyway,” the younger Trump said in a Denver radio interview, after the host said Duke “deserves” to be shot. “The guy does deserve a bullet. I mean, these aren’t good people. These are horrible people. In fact, I commend my father. My father’s the first Republican who’s gone out and said, ‘Listen, what’s happened to the African-American community is horrible and I’m going to take care of it.'” (CNN)
— Ted Cruz stumped alongside Mike Pence in Iowa, but he carefully avoided ever using Trump’s name! He instead spoke in vague terms to the importance of “defeating Clinton” and keeping Congressional majorities. “We’re going to keep Republican control of the Senate and we’re going to defeat Hillary Clinton in this presidential election,” Cruz said. Paul Ryan, who reluctantly endorsed Trump, is also going to campaign with Pence. (Politico)
— Marc Fisher, who co-authored The Post’s Trump biography this summer, looks at how he might deal with a likely loss next week: “Losing to Clinton on Tuesday would be Trump’s most public and devastating failure. How does a man whose image is based on being the ultimate winner cope with losing? … His behavior in defeat has stayed remarkably consistent throughout his career: He acts like it didn’t happen. Either he didn’t really lose, or it was someone else’s fault. At New York Military Academy, the boarding school where Trump spent much of his adolescence, his baseball coach and mentor, Theodore Dobias, saw Trump as a kid who ‘would do anything to win … [he] just wanted to be first, in everything, and he wanted people to know he was first.’ Losing, Trump has stated throughout his public life, is degrading, pathetic, unacceptable. ‘Man is the most vicious of all animals,’ he once told a writer, ‘and life is a series of battles ending in victory or defeat. You just can’t let people make a sucker out of you.’”
— New York Times, “Trump’s Income Isn’t Always What He Says It Is, Records Suggest,” by Russ Beuttner: “[Trump] has repeatedly held out his financial disclosures as a justification for breaking with tradition and refusing to release his personal tax returns. ‘You don’t learn that much from tax returns,’ he said in September during his first debate … ‘You learn a lot from financial disclosure. And you should go down and take a look at that.’ But an examination of his tax appeals on several properties … shows that what Mr. Trump has reported on those forms is nowhere near a complete picture of his financial state. The records demonstrate that large portions of those numbers represent cash coming into his businesses before covering costs like mortgage payments, payroll and maintenance. After expenses, some of his businesses make a small fraction of what he reported on his disclosure forms, or actually lose money. … In fact, it is virtually impossible to determine from the forms just how much he is earning in any year.”
— CNBC spoke to branding experts who identified “multiple reasons” why Trump’s campaign may not hurt his businesses in the long run: “Trump was disliked even before he launched his campaign and stuck to his brand of ‘aggressively’ marketing himself and ‘stirring emotions, said [one branding expert]. Consumers often discern between a product and the person behind it. … Some [also] say Trump has won new support for future ventures, such as a rumored TV network, from a wider demographic — blue-collar Americans — even if some high-end consumers abandon him. ‘I think he could potentially lose more of his high-end customer base simply because they are not necessarily the ones in his voting demographic,’ [said another branding expert and author]. ‘But at the same time he could potentially have opened up a whole new market for himself in middle-market goods and services.'”
— Trump is signaling interest in appointing Goldman Sachs alum Steven Mnuchin as Treasury secretary should he win. From Politico’s Zachary Warmbrodt: The decision comes as his transition team has been searching for private-sector executives who could be named to the Cabinet posting. But it is also totally at odds with Trumps rhetoric on the trail.
Demonstrators walk past a U.S. flag embroidered with Trump comments during a protest outside his D.C. hotel. (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)
CONSERVATIVE ELITES MAKE THEIR CLOSING ARGUMENT AGAINST TRUMP:
— “In a normal election, the FBI and WikiLeaks factors might be disqualifying,” conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer writes. “[But] as final evidence of how bad are our choices in 2016, Trump’s liabilities, especially on foreign policy, outweigh hers. We are entering a period of unprecedented threat to the international order that has prevailed under American leadership since 1945. After eight years … the three major revisionist powers — Russia, China, and Iran — see their chance to achieve regional dominance and diminish, if not expel, American influence. At a time of such tectonic instability, even the most experienced head of state requires wisdom and delicacy to maintain equilibrium. Trump has neither. His joining of supreme ignorance to supreme arrogance, combined with a pathological sensitivity to any perceived slight, is a standing invitation to calamitous miscalculation. It took seven decades to build this open, free international order. It could be brought down in a single presidential term. That would be a high price to pay for the catharsis of kicking over a table.”
— From Post columnist and former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson: “I never imagined that Republican leaders — many of whom I know and have respected — would fall in line with such dangerous delusions, on the theory that anything is better than [Clinton]. Most options are better than Clinton. But not all. And not this. The GOP has largely accommodated itself to a candidate with no respect for, or knowledge of, the constitutional order. Every constitutional conservative should be revolted. Those who are complicit have adopted a particularly dangerous form of power-loving hypocrisy. It is almost beyond belief that Americans should bless and normalize Trump’s appeal. Normalize vindictiveness and prejudice. Normalize conspiracy theories and the abandonment of reason. Normalize every shouted epithet, every cruel ethnic and religious stereotype, every act of bullying in the cause of American ‘greatness’ … In the end, a Trump victory would normalize the belief that the structures of self-government are unequal to the crisis of our time. And this would not merely replace the presidential portrait above the fireplace. It would deface it.”
— “Trump doesn’t happen in a more or less united party, he happens in a broken one,” writes WSJ columnist Peggy Noonan. “But the split in the party happened in the past 15 years. When you give a party two unwon wars, one a true foreign-policy catastrophe, and a great recession, it will begin to break because its members lose confidence in its leaders. When the top of the party believes in things that the bottom of the party doesn’t want (on immigration, entitlements and trade), things will break further. The bottom will begin to feel the top no longer cares about it. That will end their loyalty. Mr. Trump’s Republican foes are wrong in thinking his followers are just sticking with the party. They’re not, they’ve broken from the party. In such circumstances the base of a party will do surprising things, such as turn, in hopeful desperation, to a strange outsider in hopes maybe he can break through the mess.”
— “Trump doesn’t happen in a more or less united party, he happens in a broken one,” Peggy Noonan writes in her Wall Street Journal column. “But the split in the party happened in the past 15 years. When you give a party two unwon wars, one a true foreign-policy catastrophe, and a great recession, it will begin to break because its members lose confidence in its leaders. When the top of the party believes in things that the bottom of the party doesn’t want (on immigration, entitlements and trade), things will break further. The bottom will begin to feel the top no longer cares about it. That will end their loyalty. Mr. Trump’s Republican foes are wrong in thinking his followers are just sticking with the party. They’re not, they’ve broken from the party. In such circumstances the base of a party will do surprising things, such as turn, in hopeful desperation, to a strange outsider in hopes maybe he can break through the mess.”
— Perspective –> “Election maps are telling you big lies about small things,” by Lazaro Gamio: In 2012, about the same number of votes were cast in these 160 counties as were cast in the rest of the country. But, your run-of-the-mill election map won’t show you that:
If you chart the states by electoral votes, a more accurate picture of which states will elect Trump or Clinton emerges. In contrast to a standard geographic map, this cartogram shrinks the country’s expansive Republican center and exaggerates the small, electoral-vote-rich Northeast:
— “Victims turn table on Internet ‘troll,’ win $1.4 million civil award,” by Justin Jouvenal: “William Moreno said the campaign of Internet trolling he and his family endured was as vicious as it was unrelenting. A SWAT team was sent to their Virginia home, false charges were filed against him and he was accused online of molesting a girl. The ‘reign of terror,’ as he described it, was so bad that Moreno said he eventually tried to take his own life. Now, he and his family have finally turned the tables on one of the men they accused of tormenting them, winning a $1.4 million civil judgment in court. The ruling by a Loudoun County jury late last month is one of the largest in an Internet trolling case in the nation’s history. The family doubts it will ever collect the full sum but hopes the verdict is a warning to cyberbullies everywhere. ‘It’s important to realize that cyberbullying can lead to this horrible stuff that spills into the real world,’ said Sharon Moreno. ‘It’s especially difficult for vulnerable people.’”
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
Trump’s campaign released a new ad seeking to tie Clinton to “pervert” Anthony Weiner: The 30-second spot seeks to characterize Clinton as unfit for the presidency based on the FBI’s decision to reopen its investigation. Watch it here:
#CrookedHillary is unfit to serve. pic.twitter.com/bSuGvInNF1
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 3, 2016
Kaine got a very positive shoutout on Facebook from an old roommate:
A very heartfelt (and wide-ranging) Fb post on Tim Kaine from his old roommate. “He’s the best person I’ve ever met” https://t.co/mR9Fifl8zf pic.twitter.com/6yR6ns8wk3
— Ruby Cramer (@rubycramer) November 4, 2016
A few reactions to Eric Trump’s comment that David Duke “deserves a bullet”:
This seems like an overcorrection. https://t.co/6fI0xhMtRC
— Ramesh Ponnuru (@RameshPonnuru) November 3, 2016
To state the obvious, this is not a normal part of a campaign. (Imagine one of the Romney kids saying this in 2012.) https://t.co/qozV46L6tI
— James Fallows (@JamesFallows) November 3, 2016
Someone get Uday back on message, stat: https://t.co/D6B9ZTaPJn
— David Hobby (@strobist) November 3, 2016
Wait what if the person Trump shoots on Fifth Avenue is David Duke https://t.co/uN5vmDnz6X
— DENALI (@timothypmurphy) November 3, 2016
Consider this tortured thought from Jason Chaffetz:
Amazing–Chaffetz re the 12 women accusing Trump of sex assault: “I assume that it’s true and I hope that it’s not.”
— Cathleen Decker (@cathleendecker) November 3, 2016
Jon Ralston is summing up our feelings just a few days out:
I just tried typing “election” in a text and my iPhone changed it to “end ruin.”
Seems fitting, no?
— Jon Ralston (@RalstonReports) November 4, 2016
Paul Ryan’s staff is denying this possibility:
Chatter grows louder that Paul Ryan could step down as Speaker https://t.co/woWfIRBidP pic.twitter.com/4WHZglWtPp
— Scott Wong (@scottwongDC) November 3, 2016
He’s not. Womp. https://t.co/jKmJpBNsIe
— Brendan Buck (@BrendanBuck) November 3, 2016
Celebrities are urging people to vote:
Scott Walker celebrated National Sandwich Day:
After the Wall Street Journal fronted a story on Arkansas claiming that it invented queso — which Texas strongly disputes — John Cornyn challenged Tom Cotton to a queso taste-off:
Say it ain’t so! Don’t tell Texas, but Arkansas is laying claim to queso https://t.co/kzD6B0Q0fv via @WSJ
— JohnCornyn (@JohnCornyn) November 3, 2016
It is true Senator, #Arkansas does have the best queso. https://t.co/bVQC4xRipk
— French Hill (@RepFrenchHill) November 3, 2016
Gentlemen: On behalf of 27M Texans, we accept your challenge. Grab your chips and let’s have a taste-off. @SenTedCruz @TomCottonAR @WSJ https://t.co/6QeQ96uiAD
— JohnCornyn (@JohnCornyn) November 3, 2016
GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:
— New York Times, “These Officials Help Write Ballot Questions. Companies Write Them Checks,” by Eric Lipton and Robert Faturechi: “Big-money corporate lobbying has reached into one of the most obscure corners of state government: the offices of secretaries of state, the people charged with running elections impartially. The targeting of secretaries of state with campaign donations, corporate-funded weekend outings and secret meetings with industry lobbyists reflects an intense focus on often overlooked ballot questions, which the secretaries frequently help write. The ballot initiatives are meant to give voters a direct voice on policy issues … But corporate and other special interests are doing their best to build close ties with the secretaries because a difference of even a few words on a ballot measure can have an enormous impact on the outcome.” Secretaries of state from Washington, Ohio, Colorado and Nevada – all Republicans – participated in closed-door meetings with [corporate lobbyists] … [Now], the influence campaign has intensified, with more citizen-driven ballot initiatives to be decided on Election Day this year than at any time in the past decade.”
HOT ON THE LEFT
“Catholic parish’s bulletin says Democratic voters are doomed to hell, Clinton is satanic,” from The San Diego Union-Tribune: “Between requests for prayers for the sick and a notice for an upcoming chastity luncheon, a newsletter from a Catholic church in Old Town that doubles as an election-day polling site included a flier that told parishioners they’ll go to hell if they vote for Democrats. Two Sundays later, the message had changed: Satan was working through former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The Oct. 16 bulletin from the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church was stuffed with a flyer written in both English and Spanish that cited five legislative policies — support for abortion, same-sex marriage, euthanasia, human cloning, and embryonic stem cell research — that will doom a politician and their supporters to eternal damnation. ‘It is a mortal sin to vote Democrat … immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell,’ the flyer said.”
HOT ON THE RIGHT
“Man builds cage to protect Trump campaign sign,” by ABC 13/WMAZ: “As car after car drives past Jim Poe’s front yard …, many drivers have been turning their heads and even honking their horns. The eye-grabbing attraction is four metal poles and barbed wire fencing in a metal cage that is anchored into the ground. Inside the cage stands a large [Trump] campaign sign. On the front of the cage are two signs. One reads ‘POSTED. NO TRESPASSING. KEEP OUT.’ The second reads ‘TRESSPASS (sic) WILL BE SHOT’ Early this year, Poe put a small Trump campaign sign in his front yard with no protection around it. Poe said someone stole it, so he put an even larger sign in his yard with barbed wire around it. Someone went through the barbed wire and also stole that sign. ‘So I went a step further and built this steel cage, which is anchored in the ground … we are getting ready to put spotlights on it,’ Poe said. He said he plans to leave the sign up, regardless of Tuesday’s verdict.”
On the campaign trail:
Trump speaks in Atkinson, N.H., Wilmington, Ohio and Hershey, Pa.
Clinton rallies supporters in Pittsburgh and Detroit.
Kaine is in Melbourne, Fla.
Pence is in Lansing, Mich., Greenville, N.C. and Miami, Fla.
Bill Clinton stops in Pueblo, Denver and Fort Collins, Colo.
Sanders is in Davenport, Iowa City and Cedar Falls, Iowa and Omaha, Neb.
At the White House:
Obama speaks in Fayetteville and Charlotte, N.C.
Biden is in Madison, Wis.
On Capitol Hill: The Senate and House are out.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
Georgia Republican Gov. Nathan Deal attacked opponents of an education ballot initiative he is pushing by referring to “COLORED PEOPLE”: “The irony of some of the groups who are opposing doing something to help these minority children is beyond my logic,” he said. “If you want to advance the state of colored people, start with their children.” (Fox 5 Atlanta)
A mockup of the proposed gondola system on the Potomac.
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
— Could gondolas connecting Rosslyn and Georgetown become the future of travel for beltway area commuters? A new study found the method would be both a legal and feasible endeavor. Officials found that the proposed transit system would serve at least 6,500 passengers crossing between D.C. and Arlington, and could improve transit options for commuters facing heavy morning traffic and a host of problems imperiling the Metro rail. (Perry Stein)
— A breezy day that (sort of) feels like fall, the Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “It’s somewhat windy but at least skies are mainly sunny! Drier, cooler air is riding on the coattails of 15-25 mph north-northwesterly winds. There may be a slight wind chill, despite high temperatures around 60 to the mid-60s. Have one extra layer or wind breaker on-hand. Okay, maybe a light coat if walking on the shady side of the street!”
— The school bus driver in the deadly Baltimore crash that killed him and five others earlier this week was no longer authorized to be driving with a commercial license. The 67-year-old, whose vehicle collided with a Maryland Transit commuter bus during rush hour, reportedly failed to provide required medical information to state regulators. (Dan Morse)
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
A crowd of 5,200 came to see Hillary, Bernie and Pharrell in Raleigh last night:
The Cubs returned to Wrigley Field as World Series champions:
Obama alumni are urging votes for Clinton:
Watch Senate Democratic women talk about the rules of “Girl Club”:
Seth Meyers walked through the state of the polls:
What if Obama were Trump? College Humor imagined it:
“Girls” star Lena Dunham released a “pantsuit anthem”:
Finally, please join us on Facebook and at the Washington Post homepage for live election night coverage:
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