Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Trump's Outreach To Women Is Pretty Much Similar To This New Sinkhole That Opened Up in Tarpon Springs Today

Just a day after I cover just how toxic Trump as candidate human being is towards women, this comes up:

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump walked back his statement that there would “have to be some form of punishment” for women who have abortions if the procedure were outlawed in the U.S...
...As his initial remarks continued to draw scrutiny, Trump issued a second statement later in the day. 
"If Congress were to pass legislation making abortion illegal and the federal courts upheld this legislation, or any state were permitted to ban abortion under state and federal law, the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman," Trump said in the revised statement. "The woman is a victim in this case as is the life in her womb. My position has not changed - like Ronald Reagan, I am pro-life with exceptions..."

And then later during a televised Town Hall, Trump repeated the "punishing women" bit.

Trump is laying bare one of the solutions the more extreme members of the "Pro-Fetus" anti-abortion movement usually bandy about: that if the Pro-Lifers truly believe Abortion Is Murder, then they have to go all the way and charge someone - doctors and/or women - for those dead pre-born.

Thing is, a lot of Americans don't want to go that far. A lot of Americans understand that there are reasons abortion exists as a legal and medical recourse. That's why this "arrest women and doctors" argument doesn't go public very often, and when it does there's hell to pay. Maybe not for Trump, as nothing really touches him, but likely for a Republican Party that's flashing back to Todd Akin's meltdown and thinking how that's going to multiply by a thousand against them.

In short, this is pretty much what I've said about the so-called Pro-Fetus crowd. They are not really Pro-Life, or Pro-Religious, or even Pro-Fetus. They're really Pro-Judgmental, looking to punish and condemn those they view as beneath them. This is their patriarchal world-view where women dare not take care of their own bodies or make their own spiritual decisions.

So what Trump is doing right now is reminding those 70 percent of women who won't vote for him exactly what's at stake for their own lives.

And this is why I'm comparing Trump's actions today to this nasty new sinkhole that popped up in my adopted home of Tarpon Springs (well, actually, I grew up in Palm Harbor, but hey I went to Tarpon High SPONGERS REPRESENT). He's essentially tossing the whole Republican Party back into the mudpit right now.

At Some Moment The GOP Leadership Thought To Themselves "What Could Possibly Go Wrong?"

I remembered earlier today that I had once started a Republican Dead Pool for the Presidential candidates, and that I had pretty much blown it. I mean, here's a copy of that list:

Perry (September 11)
Walker (September 21)
Gilmore (February 12)
Santorum (February 3)
Pataki (December 29)
Paul (February 3)
Graham (December 21)
Christie (February 10)
Fiorina (February 10)
Jindal (November 17)
Carson (March 4)
Huckabee (February 1)
Rubio (March 15)
Bush (February 21)

And I am really slightly disappointed that Zombie Jeb! didn't keep things interesting by limping along in a massive shambling heap of denial.

I was reminded again when I saw this on Twitter:

Lol remember how the Republicans have this deep, formidable bench this cycle hahahahahhahaha

Garland Is Going to Get Confirmed By August

I'm going to take a chance here and be a smart-ass pundit predicting the future.

I'm going to predict that Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court vacancy, Merrick Garland, will get his hearing before the Senate by early-mid August and be narrowly confirmed for the highest bench in the land.

I'm basing this prediction on a few observations:

The Republicans in the Senate are having a rough time keeping a united front on this issue. To the news report from NBC:

Two weeks into the nomination fight, 16 Republican senators now say they will meet with Garland — over 25 percent of the GOP caucus — according to a running count by NBC News.
That includes senators up for re-election in Blue States, such as New Hampshire's Kelly Ayotte and Illinois' Mark Kirk, who will be the first Republican to actually meet with Garland when they talk Tuesday.

Turns out, the Republican theory that elections matter is proving correct: it's just that it's their elections to stay in office that are driving wedges into their obstruction.

The second observation is how the current Presidential election is not trending in favor to the Republicans as they would like. The GOP Senate's excuse to block and delay this opening is that "the American People should decide in this election who gets to be on the Court." The obvious intent to hold off until November, when the Republicans believe they will win the White House and have a conservative President nominate a conservative Justice for 2017.

Problem with that scenario is that Republicans are facing a Trump candidacy in November. On the one hand, Trump is trailing in the general election polls at around 36 to 38 percent support and trailing double-digits behind Hillary. On the other hand, if Trump wins there's no guarantee he will nominate a potential Justice capable of surviving a public nomination process (just think what happened to Harriet Miers: Trump can well nominate someone less experienced and more horrific).

The Republicans in the Senate have to be aware that if they obstruct Garland's nomination well into the November election, they will not only keep alive a campaign issue that can hurt their chances back in their states (a majority of Americans want Garland's nomination to get the hearing it deserves), they can well face the prospect that they will leave a vacancy on the Supreme Court to get filled by Hillary Clinton (a Democrat most Republicans despise as much as they do Obama).

They could arguably rush Garland into the nomination and get him confirmed after the November (electoral massacre) election before Hillary gets sworn in the following January, but they do run the risk of Obama pulling Garland's nomination off the table. Oh, Obama has promised he wouldn't do so, but Hillary will make the valid argument that the Senate wanted HER to make the pick since the American People elected HER to do so, and hey is Obama going to deny the American People HER right to nominate a more liberal, Left-leaning Justice?

So what's going to happen is that the Senate is likely to wait until the time is right for them to cave on this fight, and get a moderate-leaning Justice like Garland sworn in before they risk the likelihood of Hillary bringing to the Senate - and a likely Democratic-controlled Senate at that - someone more Leftist than Ginsburg.

The best time to do that is in August.

It will be well after both Party conventions have finished their nomination process and the general election campaigns have begun in earnest.

The Senate will have enough polling numbers to see how the trends point to who wins in November. If Trump is still below 40 percent approval as a candidate by early August - even against a post-convention bump - then the signs are pretty solid that the GOP is not winning the White House. They'll also have their own polling numbers to look at, and if voters are still pissed that the Senate is still obstructing...

August is a good time because the Supreme Court annual calendar starts in October. By interviewing and confirming Garland in August/early September, they can get the full bench up and running by the time the Court hears new cases.

There's also a number of state-level Congressional/Senate primaries being held in early August (I know Florida does). Any Republican Senator facing a primary challenger from the Far Right is going to want to ensure they survive that challenge. Once that's settled, they can pivot to answer the angry voters in the General election cycle still pissed about the obstruction on Garland, and end that issue by hearing him and nominating him (or if they lose to that Far Right usurper(s), the lame-duck Senator(s) can confirm Garland as a parting gift to the ungrateful bastards who voted them out).

I am predicting that Garland gets the confirmation because, again, the Republicans do not want this dragging out to where Hillary gets the vacancy filled. They would rather live with a Center-Left moderate like Garland sharing the role with Justice Kennedy than die with a Far Left liberal that Hillary will find to appease the Democratic voter base. But I will go with the floor vote going to a 50-50 tie: the Republicans will count out the vote as it happens, and have just enough of their own to cross the aisle to vote for Garland but only enough for that tie. They will view it as a humiliation to have Biden come in as Vice-President to use the tie-breaker (while the Democrats will cheer that Biden gets the honor of casting the deciding vote).

This all depends on how nasty and chaotic the summer conventions (I should say the singular, seeing how it's the Republican con in Cleveland that's at issue) are going to be, and how bad Trump's polling numbers are going to look by August (I get the feeling it'll be stuck in the 30s).

So you heard it here first, Seven Readers Of This Blog. Unless, you know, someone over at Balloon-Juice or Slate beat me to it.

Update 8/10/16: I didn't realize how late many of the congressional Primaries were going to go this month, well up to August 30th, so that actually delays this until September. So I am off by a month. I apologize.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

She's Just Not That Into Trump (w/ Update)

(Update: Hello again, everyone from Crooks & Liars' Mike's Blog Round Up! Thank you for visiting and perusing this article. Please note I've got other articles related to this topic, especially one I wrote last night that follows up my main point on here. Have fun!)

I mentioned a few posts back about polling guru Nate Silver making an almost flippant suggestion on Twitter that if Trump were the nominee and if women refuse to vote for him based on the current polling, the entire Electoral map would turn Blue. Considering this is Nate, and that even when drunk Nate is serious about the numbers, I expected there to be actual data to back this up.

The wait is over - for the nonce.

At his site 538, Silver did a chat session with fellow pollsters and analysts about women voters this election cycle, and the numbers are not in Trump's favor.

micah: So just how poorly is Trump doing among women? Republican women and women overall?
clare.malone: By the way, readers, one person in this chatroom is wearing a “Feminist” T-shirt today. Guess who.
Harry: From The Huffington Post:

As you can see, Republican women in particular are much more unfavorable towards Trump than to Cruz or John Kasich (or the dearly departed Marco Rubio). Those are horrible numbers.
The same poll has Trump with just a 21 percent positive rating with all women nationwide. His negative rating with women nationally is 70 percent.
clare.malone: This might be a historical level of dislike, no?
harry: No major party nominee has had that bad of a rating, based on the data I look at.
micah: So Trump does really poorly with women — it hasn’t stopped him in the Republican primary, why will it stop him in the general?
natesilver: Because winning 51 percent of 100 percent is way harder than winning 35 percent of 35 percent?

I noted that meself awhile back: Trump doesn't have to win a majority to win the Republican nomination, he just has to win. And he's winning right now on a campaign that has him behaving as a crass, vulgar bully dismissive of people not of his liking... which is pretty much everyone he views beneath himself.

But that very campaign style to win the Party nomination is going to kill his chances in the General. What's going to hurt Trump is obvious in two key ways: his open racism against Hispanics, Blacks, Chinese and Muslims, and his willful ignorance that drives away educated voters. But now the media is picking up on the third thing hurting Trump: Trump is a sexist across the board, intentionally rude when uncalled for and accidentally demeaning all the other times. As Silver notes:

Yeah, a Machiavellian could argue that demonizing blacks or Hispanics or Muslims or gays is a winning, if incredibly cynical, electoral strategy for the GOP. That doesn’t work when you’re talking about 51 percent of the population. Furthermore, the fact that Trump doesn’t realize this suggests either that (i) he’s just making shit up as he goes along instead of being some sort of brilliant tactician; (ii) he’s a sexist down to his core and can’t help himself; or (iii) both.

Here's a nasty little secret about our electoral system (and it's one I've noted earlier!): there are more women voters (76 million) than men (66 million). Pissing off the majority of voters that participate in the general election is not a sound campaign strategy. And if there's any issue that can unite women, it's being treated like dirt by a misogynist bastard.

micah: So that’s my question: How much can Trump’s popularity with women change between now and November?
natesilver: Or to put it just slightly differently: Do the gender splits in Trump’s numbers suggest he’ll have a harder time improving his numbers than if he were equally unpopular with both men and women?
clare.malone: A great mystery … or perhaps not a mystery at all. To Nate’s point above, about the various theories of why Trump says sexist things, I think he kind of can’t help it, and while his sexist comments are being written off by the GOP electorate who’s voting for him, it’s going to be increasingly hard for him to pivot away from that image in the general election. I think he’ll try to do it, though, by deploying his oh-so-poised and career-oriented daughter, Ivanka, and I think he’ll also do it by just being less vituperative in his speech — he’ll pour a little whole milk on the hot-sauce rhetoric and hope for the best.
micah: But, Clare, hasn’t Trump just said too many sexist things? His record on this was long and bad when the campaign started! And it has only gotten worse...
micah: But that is why, to Nate’s question, I think this will be harder for Trump to change than if he were disliked equally by both genders...
clare.malone: Why? Because it’s more entrenched and women will reinforce the dislike more and more, as in an echo chamber of Trumpian disgust?
micah: Yeah. That is, there’s a very clear real-world explanation for Trump’s unpopularity with women — it’s not due to the vagaries of the news cycle or a well-run campaign against him. He’s sexist, and women don’t like him.
natesilver: One other big theme is that Trump had an element of surprise in the Republican race, which is part of why his opponents never really developed an effective strategy against him. That won’t be true for him against Clinton, who has had months to think about a strategy and put together opposition research that the GOP campaigns skimmed over...

There's another thing that Nate overlooked: one reason why Trump's primary opponents didn't want to attack him too harshly was because he was - and remains - a legitimate threat to split the GOP as a Third-Party candidate. They avoided hurting his fee-fees too early, and by the time they realized how much of a hook he had into the hardcore voting base it was too late. Hillary - or Bernie - isn't going to worry about driving Trump out of the GOP, they're going to be worried about stopping him from getting into the White House.

And they're going to have 70 percent of the women voters joining them in that effort. In 2014 there were 76 million women voters (rounded out). If that 70 percent holds up, that's 53 million pissed-off women voters who aren't going to forgive a guy like Trump all that easy. And given how Trump has alienated other core groups - Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, gays, educated people, sane people - that include a lot of male voters, I doubt he's getting enough of that 66 million male voters to cover his ass. I'm at the point where I'm doubting Trump can get 50 million total voters based on how unpopular (38 percent) he is.

Despite the talk Nate Silver and the others at 538 went into how Trump could pivot to a more moderate position to win more General election voters over, I doubt Trump can do that. He's all Id, with little or no control on his personality. What you see 99.44 percent of the time is what you get with Trump: he can't fake empathy or Congeniality. He can't trade in his verbal disgust and patronizing of women for anything: and he's never shown much skill or interest in apologizing for his sins.

Trump can bullsh-t all Trump wants, but he's not going to be able to sell that to people who hate him. And right now, too many women hate him.

Machiavelli wins again.

Just When You Think the Democrats Are Gonna Be The Sane Ones In This Election

Last night my Twitter feed exploded.

Two things happened:

Campaign strategist Ted Devine argued the Sour Grapes theory that Bernie Sanders didn't seriously campaign in certain - Deep South - states, basically arguing that "they" let Hillary have easy wins in the states she did win in big blowouts:

“[Hillary Clinton’s] grasp now on the nomination is almost entirely on the basis of victories where Bernie Sanders did not compete,” said senior strategist Tad Devine. “Where we compete with Clinton, where this competition is real, we have a very good chance of beating her in every place that we compete with her.”

Devine named eight states where he said the Sanders campaign did not compete with a big presence on the ground or much on-air advertising: Texas, Alabama, Virginia, Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, and Arkansas...

Rachel Maddow and her crew kind of blew that story out of the water, showing that Sanders did indeed set up offices in those and made serious efforts, and still got stomped. This hindsight "Oh we COULD have won if we really really REALLY really tried harder" is a lame-ass excuse. As Steve Benen notes in his article:

...But as a rule, presidential campaigns don’t get to lose a whole bunch of key primaries by wide margins and then declare, “Yeah, but we weren’t really trying.” If these eight nominating contests have left the Sanders campaign at a disadvantage they’re unlikely to overcome, it’s actually incumbent on his top aides and strategists to explain why they didn’t make more of an effort in these states.

It’s easy to imagine folks from Team Clinton saying they weren’t exactly going all out to win in Idaho and Utah – states Sanders won easily – but competitive candidates for national office don’t get to use that as an excuse when things aren’t going as well as they’d like.

At its root, Devine’s argument is that Team Sanders identified a series of early, delegate-rich states, but they chose not to bother with them. That’s not just a bad argument; it’s the kind of message that’s probably going to irritate quite a few Sanders supporters who expect more from their team.
A lot of sniping - from the Bernie backers defending Devine's statements and the Hillary backers calling for Devine's resignation - ensued.

The other thing that blew up on my Twitter feed was Leftist celebrity Susan Sarandon dissing Hillary Clinton yet again while being interviewed by Chris Hayes for not being "pure" enough to be the Democratic front-runner, and suggested this:

“I think Bernie would probably encourage people, because he doesn’t have any ego in this thing,” Sarandon told him. “But I think a lot of people are, ‘Sorry, I just can’t bring myself to [vote for Clinton].”
“How about you personally?” Hayes asked.
“I don’t know. I’m going to see what happens,” Sarandon said.
That bit of honesty prompted Hayes to stop in his tracks. “Really?” he asked incredulously.
“Really,” Sarandon said, adding that “some people feel that Donald Trump will bring the revolution immediately if he gets in, things will really explode...”

From that statement, I'm inferring that Sarandon is thinking a Trump victory would get the Left-wingers of the nation so outraged that they will FINALLY rise up in anger and finish off where all the Iraq protests of 2002-03 and the Occupy Wall Street protests of 2008 and the Black Lives Matters protests of 2013 onward failed to accomplish.

I dunno if Sarandon realizes how much that mindset explains the poor midterms turnout of Democratic voters in 2010 and 2014. Refusing to show up - or worse voting for the worst possible human being to run for President since Thurmond in 1948 - is not going to lead to the glorious street revolution Sarandon fantasizes having. It's going to lead to more depressed grumbles from the Left about why this country's going to Hell in a handbasket while waiting for the Angels to come down and blow it all into the sea for them (this is a mindset very similar to the Rapture Republicans who WANT bad things to happen so they'll get their Armageddon).

Hate to break it you, Mrs. Sarandon, but the Leftist movement in this country isn't that violent and not that driven to go that far. You're confusing that with the Right Wingnuts who have their militias raid and wreck national parks while their drinking buddies open-carry AR-15s at little league baseball games.

I get the feeling she wants the uprising she craves but wants everyone else to clean up the mess that will happen. These revolutions she's so blithely happy to see happen tend to get messy and bloody and drag in the very people who called for it early on...

Sigh. Just when you want all the stupid crazy stuff to stay with the stupid crazy party in the Republicans, here comes the Democratic Party to show they can dive into the stupid crazy stuff as well. /headdesk

Now let's face it, a primary race is going to get ugly when it boils down to two serious competitors and their more fervent backers are going to fight like war wolves over who gets to win the nomination. And to be honest, when I'm looking at the polls of actual voter turnouts and voter enthusiasm, the Democrats overall are content with the two choices they have with Hillary and Bernie and are emotionally up for the coming general election.

But this brush war bullsh-t has got to de-escalate. Who cares if it's the Judean People's Front or the People's Front of Judea, the party has to recognize that there's a lot on the line here - not just the threat of Republicans driving this nation backwards to the horrific years of 2001-2009 but falling right into outright authoritarianism under Mussolini-esque Trump - and that the party has to remain civil within its own ranks and focus on November.

Dear Democrats:

Okay, this is coming from a No-Party-Affiliate guy, but I'm siding with you because the modern GOP is batshit insane and because God Help Us if Trump ever even gets an invite to use the White House bathrooms.

STOP WITH THE GODDAMN IN-FIGHTING. I swear I am gonna stop this car and turn right back for home if you kids keep acting up in the backseats like this.

YOU ARE ALL DEMOCRATS. You are all focused on key political issues: Pro-women, Pro-diversity, Pro-family, Pro-education, Progressive. You WANT government to work, you don't want to drown it in Grover's bathtub, you want social services to get better funding so we can stop the downward slide of millions of families crashing into poverty.

Stop dividing yourselves. The enemy isn't Hillary or Bill or Obama or Bernie. The enemy isn't really big business or unions or deep-pocket backers. The enemy is Ignorance, willful and fearful and sexist and racist and VIOLENT, the true power driving the modern Republicans: and it is that Ignorance that is threatening our very lives and future.

We need to remain united against that Ignorance, and against that Fear. We need to back, with a whole heart, the final nominee when the convention in Philadelphia rolls around. I want it to be Hillary. I want it to be Bernie. I want voter turnout for either to be above 70 percent when the November election happens, and I want to see the Senate flip to the Democrats with 68 seats and I wanna see the House flip to the Democrats with Ryan and his fellow safety-net slashers booted out the door.

We can do this, this election cycle, as long as we have enough candidates running in all the races and as long as the Democrats - and the independent voters aligned with you - remain united and focused.

Witty Librarian, Second-Tier Officer of the Lost Battalion of the Horde

Update 7/31/16: You know, it's been nagging at me for some weeks now that what I've written above is something I've ranted about before. It wasn't until today that I realized that yes dammit I DID write an open letter - on Emily Hauser's epic blog - to wobbly Democrats years ago, in defense of Obama:

...This is all in spite of the fact that Obama has faced the most outrageous, slanderous, bullshitty wave of personal attacks and hate-on since Abraham Lincoln got slimed by the pro-slavery Confederates. Clinton got off light compared to what Obama’s getting now. The entire Republican Party, led about their collective nose by the far wingnut psychos of the Teabagger brigades, is openly working to make Obama FAIL, and are prideful of that effort. Even if, and especially if, they can make Obama fail and have the nation suffer for it. Right now, the core ideology of the Republican Party is “If Obama’s for it, then we are against it.” Just look at their flip-flopping on Libya for God’s sake.
Dear Democratic base: do not blame Obama. BLAME THE GODDAMN REPUBLICANS WHO ARE STILL SCREWING US AND THIS NATION. The same Republican Party that refuses to compromise on easing up on the Bush-era tax cuts, the very cuts THAT CREATED THE MASSIVE DEFICIT WE’RE IN.
If Obama seems weak because he’s trying to compromise, that’s because as a politician he’s EXPECTED to attempt compromises. A majority of American voters, even the majority of Democrats, expect that. The problem isn’t Obama: the problem is a Republican Party THAT REFUSES TO COMPROMISE AT ALL, AND INSTEAD KEEPS MAKING HARSHER DEMANDS.
The Republicans are at war with the people of the United States: they are at war with minorities, they are at war with teachers, they are at war with unions, they are at war with women, they are at war with anyone under 55 and anyone whose income is under $100,000.
The solution here is not to abandon Obama: any other Democratic leader would be facing the same problem because THE REPUBLICANS DON’T CARE WHO THEY HATE OR HURT.
Look at here. Look at Florida. In 2010, we had a choice between a Democrat who uses a Blackberry over a Republican WHO COMMITTED MEDICARE FRAUD. And Florida has more registered Democrats than Republicans (this is true, by 900,000 voters). And yet, voters were so glum or refused to turn out to vote. As a result, Rick “MEDICARE FRAUD” Scott won by less than 5,000 votes. The state of Florida is now getting screwed over by a crook who wants to privatize everything, kill our schools, destroy health care for nursing homes and the elderly, shut down unemployment benefits, force workers to take urine drug tests at HIS clinics, and give massive tax breaks to his corporate buddies… all because not every Democrat turned out the vote...

This was back in 2011. We are still dealing with the same unhappy Far Left people who want their utopia on gilded wings and bathed in shining starlight. Sigh.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

If We Get Through the 2016 Election Alive

Preach it, Fred Thompson.

This election cycle has come about through a perfect storm of unregulated campaign practices, bad choices, worse choices, weak candidates, ratings-hungry media networks, out-of-control narratives, epistemic closure, and not enough donuts.

Right now, the best our nation - and the world - can do is ride out this storm to its ugly conclusion, and make an honest assessment of just what the hell went wrong and what can be done to prevent this debacle from ever happening again.

With regards to the Republican Party - where most of the damage is self-inflicted but reaching out now for innocent bystanders - these are the points they have to address:

  • They allowed an inexperienced, uncontrollable amateur to take the lead of the primaries race, overtaking seasoned veteran politicians with years of legislative or executive experience. Worse, this amateur is a flat-out con artist with little love for the party or the nation's well-being who is only in it for himself.
  • They allowed the campaign field itself to become cluttered by too many candidates, which weakened the chances of their preferred "Establishment" candidates to forge an identity with their voting base.
  • They lost control of the party Narrative by allowing themselves to play to - and get played by - their media cohorts, who are more obsessed with maintaining anger and outrage to boost ratings than keeping the voters genuinely informed.

So if the Republican Party survives any of this, the party leadership needs to do at least these three things:

1) Stop lying. Not only lying to Americans about the issues but they need to stop lying to themselves about what's really going on in the Real World. This epistemic closure they're in had convinced themselves A) their candidate field was top-quality (nope), B) they understood their voters' interests (nope), and C) they could control the situation (aheh, nope).

2) Establish one simple rule about running for President on the Republican ticket: whomever puts in for the Presidency has to have served one elected term of office as either a Congressperson, Senator, or Governor. This weeds out the unqualified candidates - like Trump - right off the bat. This rule would have forced Trump to have made a try at an earlier job like Governor of New York... which would have exposed how inexperienced (and vulgar) he is at politics and soured his fanbase.

Sure it may hurt the party to block their business CEO elites from running, but let us be honest: being President requires the right kind of experience, and for all the Republican bluster about "running things like a business" the public sector really shouldn't. This may block qualified persons who have served only as members of a Cabinet, but usually your Cabinet members have already been elected officials at some point before getting tabbed for those jobs (it's rare for a Secretary of State or Treasury or Other to have been only for nominated government positions). And a good Cabinet member with a solid record ought to be able to find a safe district back home to earn his/her dues as an elected US House official before tossing his/her hat in the Presidential ring.

While the Constitution does not have experience as a qualifier - only age (35), birth (as a citizen), and residency (14 or more years in the US) - political parties CAN set their own requirements and can filter out prospective candidates this way.

This is something Democrats can do as well. Onward...

3) Admit that unregulated campaign financing with outside SuperPAC groups was a bad idea.

Thanks to the Citizens United decision, the party deep-pockets no longer had to "pay" into the party system to donate for their preferred candidates. They could just pay directly to those candidates. This weakened the power the party could wield as a means of controlling the Narrative and controlling who ran for the Presidential nomination.

As a result, a lot of candidates jumped into the ring on the hope and promise of a deep-pocket sugar daddy paying the bills (indirectly) for them until the cows came home. Problem became that too many of them did: the Establishment couldn't even determine who among their own - Jeb, Walker, Rubio - they could back early and often. It didn't help that the one who could fund-raise the best - Jeb Bush - only did so because of his name and family's prominence and not on his own qualities that turned out to be terrible on the national stage.

Another result has been the lack of accountability in all that SuperPAC money going in and yet little sign of that money going out to genuine GOTV efforts and voter enthusiasm. Reports about some of the campaigns - hi, Ben Carson - turning into rip-offs popped up during this election cycle.

You're going to have to get your Congresspersons to get together and craft some legislation to curb the campaign finance abuses you unleashed with the Citizen United deal. Otherwise the ones getting hurt by it will be your own Party.

And with regards to the Democratic Party...

1) You need to fix your system of caucuses vs. primaries. Caucuses are too confusing and aren't very representative of voter turnout compared to the results you get from primaries.

2) You need to justify this whole SuperDelegate thing. It's questionably undemocratic and unreliable.

3) You need to run candidates in every possible election. There are reports you don't have enough names on ballots for US House and state legislative races. That's insane: in this particular election cycle, the Republicans are vulnerable...

Did I miss anything?

The Two Legacies of Barack Obama

One interesting side note about the 2016 Presidential campaigning is how in the midst of all this Barack Obama's popularity numbers are going up. From AlterNet:

Barack Obama is getting more and more popular of late. A new Bloomberg Politics poll puts his job approval rating at an even 50 percent, a six-point jump from the survey they conducted in November. His favorability rating spiked nine points, all the way up to 57 percent. On specific issue areas that have been troublesome for the president in the past, like the economy and health care, his approval rating is inching up towards 50 percent. He’s getting positive marks for nominating Merrick Garland to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the late Antonin Scalia, and nearly two-thirds of the country supports his push to have the Republican-controlled Senate hold hearings on the nomination.

Just to note, Obama's favorables have tended to be steady throughout the 8 years he's served as President (check the chart to RealClearPolitics tracking since 2010). He's barely dropped into the high 30s in specific polls at any given week and has for the most part stayed in the mid-45 percentile. There's a couple of reasons for that: 1) all of the opposition from Republicans/conservatives who didn't like him or his policies, and 2) a good number of Far Left progressives who were unhappy Obama never went far enough or fought harder on certain issues. Every President, you gotta admit, have had detractors from both sides. You can't please 'em all...

What's striking is how steady and stable that chart really looks. Yes, the numbers go up and down, but they do to a near mathematical precision of fluctuations and never show any abnormal spiking (the high numbers in 2010 are due to the freshness/hope factor of the voters giving a new President a pass for the first year in office).

If we compare Obama's performance numbers to other modern Presidents, we'd see his overall approval is actually pretty average.

Compared to Bill Clinton - a remarkably popular President in spite of the sex scandals - and Ronald Reagan - as popular as Clinton ever was, but suffering from a major scandal in the form of Iran-Contra - Obama is running average and below their approval numbers. Compared to Bush the Lesser, Obama is way above Dubya, and a lot of that was due to Dubya's second term being an unmitigated disaster of bad wars, mishandling of deadly natural disasters, and economic collapse.

Obama has been the steadying presence, both in terms of personality and performance. He's remarkably cool (and geekish) and low-key as a person, yet undeniably focused on getting work done on foreign and domestic issues. As a result, his numbers reflect the slow-and-steady elements of his administration.

So why the upward spike now?

One thing that might explain why Obama's popularity is going up now is because we're getting to the point where his legacy is under review, and in direct comparison to those who would succeed him in office. If you compare to Reagan's numbers on that Pew Research chart for example, his approval numbers went back up during 1987-88 as his last year became a moment to review Reagan's impact and his looming legacy. Back to AlterNet:

On the Democratic side, there’s been no real effort by either candidate to distance themselves from Obama. Quite the opposite, in fact. Hillary Clinton has been running hard on the idea that she represents a continuation of the Obama policy agenda. Bernie Sanders, while more critical of Obama on trade and health care, still makes clear that he broadly supports the president and his policies. Having both candidates embrace the president and promote his agenda helps remind Democrats why they liked him in the first place...
...Speaking of Republicans, it’s probably safe to assume that their primary is also helping Obama. The front-runner is galumphing about on the national stage and insulting just about every minority group as he encourages violence at his rallies and picks petty fights with women on TV... The entire process has been dominated by petty squabbling, personal attacks, and unguarded extremism, most of it driven by Trump’s Twitter feed. Even if you’re not inclined to be of fan of Obama’s, you probably can’t help but look at the GOP primary and think “well, he’s not as bad as these fools...”

He's also making a very marked contrast to his biggest opponents in Congress. Obama's fight over getting Garland nominated to the Supreme Court - where the Senate is openly refusing to even meet the judge - is a clear reminder of the high level of obstruction this Republican-controlled Congress has been generating to stall and deny anything Obama wanted for the nation.

If anything, Obama's critics on the Far Left have to be letting go of their disappointments in him. Add to that a growing number of Independents and Moderates who are looking at the future possibility of a President Trump, and suddenly realizing that maybe overturning the 22nd Amendment and keeping Obama for a third term is a good idea. Hence the uptick in Obama's job approval numbers.

What the 2016 Election is turning into is a Legacy election. Given the overall stability and economic recovery during the Obama years, and given the great strides in women's and gay rights under Obama's executive orders, and given the passage of health care reforms that are beginning to show positive results - everyone should be seriously following Richard Mayhew's health care updates on Balloon Juice - voters are going to have to look at what's at stake this November.

Strengthening the Democratic platform is the fact that whomever wins the nomination - Hillary or Bernie - is going to run strong on the idea that Obama's policies and positions - which are turning out to be popular with a majority of American voters - will be safe in Democratic hands. That whomever it is, that Democratic candidate is someone who will build on Obama's legacy rather than tear it down.

And that's the one Legacy Obama will leave behind when he leaves the Oval Office.

The Second Legacy Obama will leave behind is the wreckage of a once-powerful political party in his wake. The Republicans have been acting as obstructionists and denialists for eight straight years against Obama, leading up to clear acts of sedition and un-Constitutional behavior that even their Far Right media apologists can no longer explain away.

And now the Republican Party is facing its greatest internal conflict ever since the 1964 Goldwater uprising. Their own habit of purging out RINOs has crippled their leadership and ability to think outside of the Far Right mindset. The policy of obstruction has gotten to the point that they are exposing their Senate candidates to angry voters who will blame them for blocking a viable SCOTUS nominee over partisan excuses.

Topping it all is the likelihood of a monstrously unpopular public figure in Trump winning their Presidential nomination... and then leading the party to a massive Popular vote thumping in November that could well adversely affect the entire GOP ticket. All because the Republicans and their media cohorts spent 8 years demonizing Obama rather than work with him, thus creating a toxic environment of denial and ignorance within their own bubble that turned against their own.

Why this becomes Obama's second Legacy is due to the reality of what the Republican Party is going to be like after 2017: are they still going to be stuck in Denial mode, happily spewing and eating their own lies about how wrong and unpopular and evil Obama was; or are they finally going to wake up to the reality that it's not 1985 (or 1955, or 1925, or 1855) anymore, and that they need to purge themselves of their more hateful (and deceiving) elements in order to function as a political party again?

The Republicans' future all depends on how they come to terms with Obama. If they can't, they have no future. They'll just be stuck in the same repeating loop of hatred and denial and fear, while out here in the Real World the rest of us will be moving on and building on the foundation Obama leaves us.

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Real Scandals

So the media is blowing up this Friday with stories about accusations towards Ted Cruz's personal life, and whether or not Trump had a hand in spilling the sleazy rumors.

Meanwhile, in Florida the state is reeling from a massive draining of toxic waters from one of our main sources Lake Okeechobee into surrounding rivers and canals, leading to horrific kill-offs of the fish and other animals dependent on the fragile ecosystem. The poisons are reaching our scenic beaches and disrupting the lives of hundreds of thousands. And why is this a problem? Because the local sugar industry generates a ton of toxic runoff. When then-Governor Charlie Crist proposed between 2008 and 2010 a plan buying up land around the lake and sugar farms to create marshlands that could filter those toxins out, the Big Sugar owners raised a stink and did what they could to stop Crist from running for the Senate in 2010. Meanwhile, Crist's successor Rick "No Ethics" Scott came in and deregulated the state's environmental protection agency into shreds. And now, with fewer wetlands to handle the ecosystem, we're seeing the results turn our rivers brown, our beaches red and our wildlife dead.

Meanwhile, in North Carolina the Far Right in control of the state legislature called for a special session and sped through at historic speed a bill designed to stop their city governments from passing their own zoning laws protecting gay and transgender rights. The law, according to that Atlantic article, is specifically written to "prevent any local governments from passing their own non-discrimination ordinances, mandates that students in the state’s schools use bathrooms corresponding to the gender on their birth certificate, and prevents cities from enacting minimum wages higher than the state’s." The law details that businesses actively discriminate, and that people have to police the bathrooms now to enforce these rules. And in an especially dickish move, the Republicans pushing this law added that cities can't create their own minimum wage hikes just so these self-righteous Bible-thumpers could screw poor people alongside Teh Gays.

Meanwhile, in Kansas the state is facing one of the most severe budget crises in the nation as the Republican-controlled government there has to cope with growing deficits. In the wake of massive tax cuts to the upper classes and corporations, Gov. Brownback and his legislative allies are fighting their state's Supreme Court that ordered the the state lege to increase funding for public schools. How are they fighting that court order? By making it easier for the Kansas legislature to impeach state judges who "dishonor" those very elected officials. Never mind the fact that the Republican obsession with tax cuts never generated those magical revenue increases that Brownback promised. Better to silence their critics and shut down one-third of the whole system of Checks and Balances that's supposed to exist in our American model of government.

Meanwhile, the state of Louisiana is reeling from eight years worth of gubernatorial mismanagement under "Future of the GOP" Bobby Jindal. Much like Brownback, Jindal had forced through budget after budget of massive tax cuts to where the state is one bad day away from closing all their schools including their public universities like LSU, and making it so that the Democratic governor Edwards who replaced him be forced to raise taxes to generate enough revenue to fix things, for which the tax-cut-obsessed Republicans will attack Edwards for raising those damn needed taxes they never had the balls to raise.

Meanwhile, the state of Wisconsin is having the standard economic woes of few jobs, fewer well-paying jobs, and almost nothing left in their economy as the Republican Governor Scott Walker and his legislative allies ship all funds into God Knows What. It won't be the schools by the looks of things as that state is apparently cutting back on public education and privatizing a lot of it into higher school costs for families and weaker standards.

And topping that all: Meanwhile in Michigan, the state is still reeling from the poisoning of the city of Flint, and with growing reports of how Governor Rick Snyder and his plan of unaccountable "Emergency Managers" screwed up the water supply for thousands of families that became a health hazard of lead poisoning, deadly diseases, and a wrecked infrastructure that will cost billions to repair.

Anyone notice how none of these scandals involve sex all that much? Anyone else notice how each of these scandals involve Republican mismanagement, Republican falsehoods, Republican obsessions with tax cuts and deregulation, Republican viciousness towards anyone NOT of their tribe?

Here's the real scandal, America. Here's what the major news channels and papers and pundits ought to be reporting on for the rest of time until all sins are answered for.

The Republicans are not governing with the nation's best interests at heart. The Republicans are not concerned with our economy, our communities, our families. The Republicans are not in this for anyone other than themselves and their rich drinking buddies at the country club golf courses.

Every one of the scandals I've listed here ought to be headlines every hour of every day. They're not. We're getting sleaze and distractions instead.

I should be shocked. But thirty-plus years of watching all this sh-t is getting me a little jaded. And more angry.

What If Trump's Campaign Hurts the GOP Senate Chances?

So it seems that Nate Silver likes playing with the maps too.

Nate also projects what it would look like if American women for the most part refuse to vote for Trump: the whole map turns Blue (don't forget kids, there are more women voters than men voters).

As of right now, a Trump vs. Clinton matchup has Trump losing on average with about 36 to 38 percent of the Popular vote. Granted, anything can happen between now and November, but Hillary is pretty much stomping on the Donald to the tune of double-digits (much in the way Trump has been stomping on his GOP rivals in the primaries).

I've adjusted this RealClearPolitics chart that uses demographics to measure the Electoral results (based on 2012 models), and it gives a projected result where I drop the Republican support among Whites down to 49 percent (where Trump's White Male support is leveling at the moment), I drop voter turnout as likely for Whites overall (and for Blacks overall due to voter suppression efforts), I drop Hispanic support for Republicans down to 17 percent (matching the overall disgust Hispanics have for Trump right about now) and picking up their voter turnout due to increased voter participation again due to Trump's outrageous anti-Hispanic crap.

In terms of the Presidential election, the Republicans are screwed: they get only eight states, they LOSE key Red States like Arizona, Georgia, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Virginia, Florida, Georgia, even SOUTH CAROLINA, MISSISSIPPI and TEXAS (!). And in my humble opinion, this map is still wrong because it has Utah projected for Trump: given the Mormon distaste for Trump's bigotry, I guarantee (well, to 90 percent) that state goes Blue if Trump is the GOP candidate.

In this situation, the main question isn't how bad the Presidential loss is going to be, the question is "how bad is this going to affect the rest of the Republicans' federal elections, in the House and the Senate?"

There's no firm evidence of "the coat-tails" effect that was attributed to Ronald Reagan back in the 1980s, but there's enough correlation involving turnout to give people worried thoughts. The House is likely protected from flipping due to the extreme gerrymandering that districts undergo, and it's difficult to project due to modeling turnout per specific populations. The Senate races however, as state-wide races unprotected by skewed maps, are vulnerable to how the Presidential vote turnouts go.

So if we overlay the 2016 Senate map with the projected Trump performance maps, we can see some of the states due to flip are vulnerable indeed. The only states going for Trump that at least I can see could stay Red for the Senate are Alabama, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Idaho, Louisiana, and maybe Utah. Every other state on the Senate map is either solid Blue or (flipped) Light Blue.

I would consider Alaska staying Red in spite of Trump for the Senate, and I'd probably trade off Utah for South Carolina. Kentucky map stay Light Red if Raul Paul keeps his fanbase. My projected Senate race map based off Trump's negative effect on the GOP would look like this:

Even without the Light Blue - the slim odds states that may barely flip away from Republicans to Democrats - the Democrats get 16 extra seats to the 35 not up for election for a total of 51 seats (plus the Indy Senator Bernie for 52). That's control of the Senate, taken from the GOP. Throw in those Light Blue seat and Democratic control bumps up to 62 total seats, more than enough to shut down any Cloture threats. No more log-jamming the Senate.

Here's the very big reason why the Republican Establishment is sh-tting bricks with Trump as their nominee. His negative value to large demographics - not just Hispanics and Blacks, but educated Whites and Women - can well affect the down-ticket races especially for the Senate. If the Senate flips this bad, there's a small chance the House does too. And that gives Hillary an agreeable Congress that can give her most of her agenda.

Granted I'm not an expert on polling, and my guess is as good as anyone's (except Nate's), but it stands to reason that people angry to vote against Trump is likely to vote against the party he stands with, and the Republicans can well lose across the board if Trump is only getting below 40 percent of the national voter turnout. The vote for the Senate seats may well also be affected by how the public views the GOP's refusal to even meet with Obama's SCOTUS nominee Garland, so there's that factor but I digress...

Now I can see - somewhat - the logic behind the party Establishment's half-baked idea to run an anti-Trump third party candidate. It's not to stop Trump: it's to try and get enough Republicans to show up to vote for the rest of the ballot.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Trick Is Never Be More Hated Than Your Opponent

There's some more numbers to crunch, a lot of it tied into the popularity numbers of the two lead candidates this 2016 for the Presidency.

Here's a poll for how the three major voting factions - Republican, Democrat, Independent - would (un)favor either Trump or Hillary (poll by Quinnipiac University, linked to Washington Post):

Additional polling shows - and it's hidden in the numbers - how Trump is getting about 49 percent of the White Male vote. For any Republican to be under 50 55 60 percent White support of any kind in this day and age is woeful for the GOP.

But let's look at that chart. It asks "Which of these candidates would you never vote for?"

Overall, 42 percent say they'll never vote for Hillary and 58 percent will never vote for Trump.

Break it down by party, and you'll get the standard partisan response: there's no way Democrats will vote for Trump (he's over 84-86 percent on that chart) and there's no way Republicans will vote for Hillary (sitting at 80 percent denial).

But the number for them within their own ranks is what will be troubling for Republicans. Hillary has 6 percent haterdom among Democrats (which looks shockingly low given all the Bernie supporters bash her) but Trump is nearly triple that with 17 percent Republicans refusing to vote for him.

Granted, by the time the actual election kicks in, some of those haters will settle down and return to their party folds. Thing is. Hillary will find it easier to do that and Trump won't: if they get half back to their parties, Hillary can lose 3 percent of her base to Trump losing around 9 percent.

Those are the voters most likely to not even show up at all: the partisan nature of being in a party means they won't cross the aisle to vote for the opponent, but they'll be unhappy enough to sit out altogether.

Can the Republicans afford to have around 8 to 10 percent of their party to avoid the general election? No, going by how things went in 2012 they can't, because they lost then and if they have lower turnout in 2016 they'll lose to an even worse percentage.

And when you throw in how in 2012 Mitt Romney won the Independent voter turnout 50 to 45 percent (the missing 5 percent went third-party) AND STILL LOST to Obama, Trump can't afford to be down among Independents 46-to-54.

Still, the troubling factor here for Republicans is the likelihood that the voters who hate Trump that much may not show up for the election at all. While there's little solid evidence of "coat-tails" of a Presidential candidate helping the down-ticket candidates, there is evidence that lower turnout overall by one party is bad news for that party's lesser candidates from the Congressional districts down to state and county offices.

Even with Congressional seats gerrymandered up the wazoo (about 55 percent of Republican seats are compared to 25 percent for Democrats), any downturn in turnout can run the risk of close losses (as long as Democrats run challengers in all of those districts) for those Republicans. The Senate races may not be directly affected by voters discouraged by Trump, but there will be an impact in close-race states like Florida and Kentucky.

It's interesting to note how - despite all the media chatter and despite all the drum-beating by Bernie's supporters - the hatedom for Hillary is not that severe compared for Trump. It's really not as bad as most of the other Democratic front-runners have endured from their own ranks before. Only six percent of Democrats refuse to vote for her? Wow, the party's really warmed up to Hillary...

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Three Key Numbers To Track This 2016 Election

As with any prolonged, complex campaign like a Presidential election, there are tons of raw numbers to comb through in order to make sense of the data and try to guess at predicted results.

Considering how important it is to ensure our nation's safety, it's vital to track Trump's numbers in the polls and pray to the Old Gods and the New that such numbers track bad for him and great for us (and by "us" I mean 6.5 billion people on the planet Earth).

I follow Jamelle Bouie on Twitter and he brought up an interesting reminder from January about Trump's unfavorable numbers: If I can find an image link I'll post it here, hold on...

For the primary season, the only column that matters for Trump is the Republican one: as long as he stays on the plus side, he's winning (and has been). It's that middle column that catches my attention: Independents are going to matter a lot when the cycle shifts over to the General election. With a lot of primaries and caucuses Closed to party-only voters, their opinions didn't matter: but in the General they do get to choose between Republican or Democrat (or Third Party, eh) and that's when their vote matters. And that's when that minus-27 points comes up to bite Trump and the Republicans on the ass.

Only thing about that chart: it's last update was January 11th. There's been a lot of changes since then (lots of drop-outs) and it'd be nice to see what the current numbers will say.

There's a lot of other numbers to track as well when it comes time for the primaries to end and the general vote to begin. A lot of key vectors that will show how the eventual nominees - currently Trump and Hillary - will perform and where they may need to adjust tactics to improve their results. One thing to follow is going to be Trump's changing his anti-immigrant Mexican-hating tune when the numbers start telling his campaign managers how deep in the red that's dropping his numbers. 

But while it'll be noteworthy to see how the Hispanic voting bloc warms to Trump - hint, they're not - the actual impact of that number can be deflected by other factors such as actual voter turnouts. So until turnout numbers can be confirmed or safely guessed at, that's just a notable side to track.

I'm going to narrow it down to just three numbers we'll need to track as a nation to see how we'll survive the oncoming storm that is Hurricane Trump 2016:

Party Enthusiasm: Which party is going to keep their voter base happy and eager to get the vote out? This New York Times article does some polling on that issue, and currently finds that the Democrats are more content with their party's overall position. A majority (around 60 percent) of Republicans are upset about how messy and divisive their primaries have been, and while Trump's support has gone up to 46 to 49 percent Republicans backing him, there's still a lot of discontent keeping him from a majority in his own party's ranks.

One of the narratives out there is how Republicans are fearing a drop in turnout. Granted, that report is coming from Karl "Which Reality Am I In Again" Rove, but Trump's low support - he's the front-runner but only 49 percent - and nearly half of Republicans polled are openly answering that they might not support him in the general. While Rude Pundit would remind me and others that when it comes down to it, the party voters will vote the party line even when common sense tells them the party's gonna screw them, Trump may be the one real exception because few candidates have garnered such disgust/disagreement/dismay from nearly half his/her own party... speaking of, the next number to track.

Independent Voter Favorability of Candidates: Like noted earlier from Bouie, that Gallup polling on the plus-minus favorability of candidates is going to be key. As long as Trump's negatives are higher than Hillary's negatives (and yes, she's up there), Trump's not going to win this thing.

This argument is purely anecdotal and based on my belief that Machiavelli wasn't joking or exaggerating about the argument over whether it is better to be loved or feared. To Machiavelli, it's hard to be both to where Princes (political leaders) should aim more for Feared (Loved makes them too vulnerable). But Machiavelli warns the trick is to avoid being Hated: the second people hate you, you lose their support and you gain more enemies. Hatred invites mockery and scorn: and rarely can you win any of them back - barring a sincere change of behavior and atonement in the leader - meaning they're lost for good.

We've seen this before, whenever a popular politician goes from being liked to despised: I can throw out a list of names from Harry Truman (whose popularity tanked in the 1950s) to Richard Nixon (oh brother) to Sarah Palin (a large media fanbase who quickly soured on her and turned her into a target of parody) to let's admit it Barack Obama (based not on reality but on a major GOP campaign of misinformation).

Thing is, once Trump's unfavorables are at a particular point - especially after the convention and the general election gears up in earnest - there's very little he can do to turn that around. He can bullsh-t all he wants, but one of the big reasons he HAS those high unfavorables is that his haters KNOW he's a bullsh-tter and isn't going to buy one word of it.

The final number to keep track of is Barack Obama's Favorability: this is a key number for Democrats because as long as Obama polls favorable, that means a significant portion of the voter base are content with the current economic trends, and will vote to protect his legacy and ensure the next President continues Obama's policies.

Right now (March 22) Obama is polling pretty well, close to 50 percent and almost entirely in the plus+ favorables. Historically, a lot of Presidents in their final years see a downturn in such numbers: Truman is a perfect example, but also Eisenhower dropped, Reagan dropped, Clinton dropped, Dubya dropped. Bush the Lesser's dropping into the low 30s was a key factor in the Republicans losing in 2008. For Obama to be well into the high 40s if not 50 percent itself is a great sign, because that covers not only the Democratic base being content but a significant portion of the Independent voters as well.

So, who else is going to track them numbers with me?

Update (3/23/16): RealClearPolitics has updated some of the polling on the hypothetical matchup Trump vs. Clinton. Caveat as always: it's early in the year and these numbers can change due to external factors and voter mood swings. I think I can copy/paste the table here:

Polling Data

PollDateSampleMoEClinton (D)Trump (R)Spread
RCP Average2/29 - 3/22----49.338.8Clinton +10.5
FOX News3/20 - 3/221016 RV3.04938Clinton +11
Bloomberg3/19 - 3/22815 LV3.45436Clinton +18
Quinnipiac3/16 - 3/211451 RV2.64640Clinton +6
CBS News/NY Times3/17 - 3/201058 RV4.05040Clinton +10
CNN/ORC3/17 - 3/20925 RV3.05341Clinton +12
ABC News/Wash Post3/3 - 3/6864 RV4.05041Clinton +9
NBC News/Wall St. Jrnl3/3 - 3/61200 RV2.85138Clinton +13
Rasmussen Reports2/29 - 3/11000 LV3.04136Clinton +5

For the main candidate of the Republican Party to be polling in late March below 40 percent on average is not a good sign for the GOP. The real troubling number for Republicans is how Trump's unpopularity (-28) runs deeper than Hillary's (-17)... because in that situation the voters in the middle will vote for the candidate they can tolerate or at least not hate as much.