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    Kissinger invokes today’s endless, open-ended wars to justify his diplomacy by air power in Cambodia and elsewhere nearly half a century ago. But what he did then created the conditions for today’s endless wars, both those started by Bush’s neocons and those waged by Obama’s war-fighting liberals like Samantha Power.

    Web Only / Features » November 9, 2015
    How Henry Kissinger Helped Make Endless War an All-American Tradition

    Kissinger’s steadfast support for bombing as an instrument of “diplomacy” has coursed through the decades.
    BY Greg Grandin

    In April 2014, ESPN published a photograph of an unlikely duo: Samantha Power, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and former national security adviser and secretary of state Henry Kissinger at the Yankees-Red Sox season opener. In fleece jackets on a crisp spring day, they were visibly enjoying each other’s company, looking for all the world like a twenty-first-century geopolitical version of Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. The subtext of their banter, however, wasn’t about sex, but death.

    As a journalist, Power had made her name as a defender of human rights, winning a Pulitzer Prize for her book A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide. Having served on the National Security Council before moving on to the U.N., she was considered an influential “liberal hawk” of the Obama era. She was also a leading light among a set of policymakers and intellectuals who believe that American diplomacy should be driven not just by national security and economic concerns but by humanitarian ideals, especially the advancement of democracy and the defense of human rights.

    The United States, Power long held, has a responsibility to protect the world’s most vulnerable people. In 2011 she played a crucial role in convincing President Obama to send in American air power to prevent troops loyal to Libyan autocrat Muammar Gaddafi from massacring civilians. That campaign led to his death, the violent overthrow of his regime, and in the end, a failed state and growing stronghold for ISIS and other terror groups. In contrast, Kissinger is identified with a school of “political realism,” which holds that American power should service American interests, even if that means sacrificing the human rights of others.

    According to ESPN, Power teasingly asked Kissinger if his allegiance to the Yankees was “in keeping with a realist’s perspective on the world.” Power, an avid Red Sox fan, had only recently failed to convince the United Nations to endorse a U.S. bombing campaign in Syria, so Kissinger couldn’t resist responding with a gibe of his own. “You might,” he said, “end up doing more realistic things.” It was his way of suggesting that she drop the Red Sox for the Yankees. “The human rights advocate,” Power retorted, referring to herself in the third person, “falls in love with the Red Sox, the downtrodden, the people who can’t win the World Series.”

    “Now,” replied Kissinger, “we are the downtrodden”—a reference to the Yankees’ poor performance the previous season. During his time in office, Kissinger had been involved in three of the genocides Power mentions in her book: Pol Pot’s “killing fields” in Cambodia, which would never have occurred had he not infamously ordered an illegal four-and-a-half-year bombing campaign in that country; Indonesia’s massacre in East Timor; and Pakistan’s in Bangladesh, both of which he expedited.

    You might think that mutual knowledge of his policies under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford and the horrors that arose from them would have cast a pall over their conversation, but their banter was lively. “If a Yankee fan and a Red Sox fan can head into the heart of darkness for the first game of the season,” Power commented, “all things are possible.”

    All things except, it seems, extricating the country from its endless wars.

    Only recently, Barack Obama announced that U.S. troops wouldn’t be leaving Afghanistan any time soon and also made a deeper commitment to fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, including deploying the first U.S. ground personnel into that country. Indeed, a new book by New York Timesreporter Charlie Savage, Power Wars, suggests that there has been little substantive difference between George W. Bush’s administration and Obama’s when it comes to national security policies or the legal justifications used to pursue regime change in the Greater Middle East.

    Henry Kissinger is, of course, not singularly responsible for the evolution of the U.S. national security state into a monstrosity. That state has had many administrators. But his example—especially his steadfast support for bombing as an instrument of “diplomacy” and his militarization of the Persian Gulf—has coursed through the decades, shedding a spectral light on the road that has brought us to a state of eternal war.

    From Cambodia…

    Within days of Richard Nixon’s inauguration in January 1969, national security adviser Kissinger asked the Pentagon to lay out his bombing options in Indochina. The previous president, Lyndon Baines Johnson, had suspended his own bombing campaign against North Vietnam in hopes of negotiating a broader ceasefire. Kissinger and Nixon were eager to re-launch it, a tough task given domestic political support for the bombing halt.

    The next best option: begin bombing across the border in Cambodia to destroy enemy supply lines, depots, and bases supposedly located there. Nixon and Kissinger also believed that such an onslaught might force Hanoi to make concessions at the negotiating table. On February 24th, Kissinger and his military aide, Colonel Alexander Haig, met with Air Force Colonel Ray Sitton, an expert on B-52 bombers, to begin the planning of Menu, the grim culinary codename for the bombing campaign to come.

    Given that Nixon had been elected on a promise to end the war in Vietnam, Kissinger believed that it wasn’t enough to place Menu in the category of “top secret.” Absolute and total secrecy, especially from Congress, was a necessity. He had no doubt that Congress, crucial to the appropriation of funds needed to conduct specific military missions, would never approve a bombing campaign against a neutral country with which the United States wasn’t at war.

    Instead, Kissinger, Haig, and Sitton came up with an ingenious deception. Based on recommendations from General Creighton Abrams, commander of military operations in Vietnam, Sitton would lay out the Cambodian targets to be struck, then run them by Kissinger and Haig for approval. Next, he would backchannel their coordinates to Saigon and a courier would deliver them to radar stations where the officer in charge would, at the last minute, switch B-52 bombing runs over South Vietnam to the agreed-upon Cambodian targets.

    Later, that officer would burn any relevant maps, computer printouts, radar reports, or messages that might reveal the actual target. “A whole special furnace” was set up to dispose of the records, Abrams would later testify before Congress. “We burned probably 12 hours a day.” False “post-strike” paperwork would then be written up indicating that the sorties had been flown over South Vietnam as planned.

    Kissinger was very hands-on. “Strike here in this area,” Sitton recalled Kissinger telling him, “or strike here in that area.” The bombing galvanized the national security adviser. The first raid occurred on March 18, 1969. “K really excited,” Bob Haldeman, Nixon’s chief of staff, wrote in his diary. “He came beaming in [to the Oval Office] with the report.”

    In fact, he would supervise every aspect of the bombing. As journalist Seymour Hersh later wrote, “When the military men presented a proposed bombing list, Kissinger would redesign the missions, shifting a dozen planes, perhaps, from one area to another, and altering the timing of the bombing runs… [He] seemed to enjoy playing the bombardier.” (That joy wouldn’t be limited to Cambodia. According to Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, when the bombing of North Vietnam finally started up again, Kissinger “expressed enthusiasm at the size of the bomb craters.”) A Pentagon report released in 1973 stated that “Henry A. Kissinger approved each of the 3,875 Cambodia bombing raids in 1969 and 1970”—the most secretive phase of the bombing—“as well as the methods for keeping them out of the newspapers.”

    All told, between 1969 and 1973, the U.S. dropped half-a-million tons of bombs on Cambodia alone, killing at least 100,000 civilians. And don’t forgetLaos and both North and South Vietnam. “It’s wave after wave of planes. You see, they can’t see the B-52 and they dropped a million pounds of bombs,” Kissinger told Nixon after the April 1972 bombing of North Vietnam’s port city of Haiphong, as he tried to reassure the president that the strategy was working: “I bet you we will have had more planes over there in one day than Johnson had in a month… Each plane can carry about 10 times the load [a] World War II plane could carry.”

    As the months passed, however, the bombing did nothing to force Hanoi to the bargaining table. It did, on the other hand, help Kissinger in his interoffice rivalries. His sole source of power was Nixon, who was a bombing advocate. So Kissinger embraced his role as First Bombardier to show the tough-guy militarists the president had surrounded himself with that he was the “hawk of hawks.” And yet, in the end, even Nixon came to see that the bombing campaigns were a dead end. “K. We have had 10 years of total control of the air in Laos and V.Nam,” Nixon wrote him over a top-secret report on the efficacy of bombing, “The result = Zilch.” (This was in January 1972, three months before Kissinger assured Nixon that “wave after wave” of bombers would do the trick).

    During those four-and a half years when the U.S. military dropped more than 6,000,000 tons of bombs on Southeast Asia, Kissinger revealed himself to be not a supreme political realist, but the planet’s supreme idealist. He refused to quit when it came to a policy meant to bring about a world he believed heought to live in, one where he could, by the force of the material power of the U.S. military, bend poor peasant countries like Cambodia, Laos, and North Vietnam to his will—as opposed to the one he did live in, where bomb as he might he couldn’t force Hanoi to submit. As he put it at the time, “I refuse to believe that a little fourth-rate power like North Vietnam does not have a breaking point.”

    In fact, that bombing campaign did have one striking effect: it destabilized Cambodia, provoking a 1970 coup that, in turn, provoked a 1970 American invasion, which only broadened the social base of the insurgency growing in the countryside, leading to escalating U.S. bombing runs that spread to nearly the whole country, devastating it and creating the conditions for the rise to power of the genocidal Khmer Rouge.

    …to the First Gulf War

    Having either condoned, authorized, or planned so many invasions—Indonesia’s in East Timor, Pakistan’s in Bangladesh, the U.S.’s in Cambodia, South Vietnam’s in Laos, and South Africa’s in Angola—Henry Kissinger took the only logical stance in early August 1990, when Saddam Hussein sent the Iraqi military into Kuwait: he condemned the act. In office, he had worked to pump up Baghdad’s regional ambitions. As a private consultant and pundit, he had promoted the idea that Saddam’s Iraq could serve as a disposable counterweight to revolutionary Iran. Now, he knew just what needed to be done: the annexation of Kuwait had to be reversed.

    President George H.W. Bush soon launched Operation Desert Shield, sending an enormous contingent of troops to Saudi Arabia. But once there, what exactly were they to do? Contain Iraq? Attack and liberate Kuwait? Drive on to Baghdad and depose Saddam? There was no clear consensus among foreign policy advisers or analysts. Prominent conservatives, who had made their names fighting the Cold War, offered conflicting advice. Former ambassador to the U.N. Jeane Kirkpatrick, for instance, opposed any action against Iraq. She didn’t think that Washington had a “distinctive interest in the Gulf” now that the Soviet Union was gone. Other conservatives pointed out that, with the Cold War over, it mattered little whether Iraqi Baathists or local sheiks pumped Kuwait’s oil as long as it made it out of the ground.

    Kissinger took the point position in countering those he called America’s “new isolationists.” What Bush did next in Kuwait, he announced in the first sentence of a widely published syndicated column, would make or break his administration. Anything short of the liberation of Kuwait would turn Bush’s “show of force” in Saudi Arabia into a “debacle.”

    Baiting fellow conservatives reluctant to launch a crusade in the Gulf, he insisted, in Cold War-ish terms that couldn’t fail to bite, that their advice was nothing short of “abdication.” There were, he insisted, “consequences” to one’s “failure to resist.” He may, in fact, have been the first person to compare Saddam Hussein to Hitler. In opinion pieces, TV appearances, and testimony before Congress, Kissinger forcefully argued for intervention,including the “surgical and progressive destruction of Iraq’s military assets” and the removal of the Iraqi leader from power. “America,” he insisted, “has crossed its Rubicon” and there was no turning back.

    He was once again a man of the moment. But how expectations had shifted since 1970! When President Bush launched his bombers on January 17, 1991, it was in the full glare of the public eye, recorded for all to see. There was no veil of secrecy and no secret furnaces, burned documents, or counterfeited flight reports. After a four-month-long on-air debate among politicians and pundits, “smart bombs” lit up the sky over Baghdad and Kuwait City as the TV cameras rolled. Featured were new night-vision equipment, real-time satellite communications, and former U.S. commanders ready to narrate the war in the style of football announcers right down to instant replays. “In sports-page language,” said CBS News anchor Dan Rather on the first night of the attack, “this… it’s not a sport. It’s war. But so far, it’s a blowout.”

    And Kissinger himself was everywhere—ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, on the radio, in the papers—offering his opinion. “I think it’s gone well,” he said to Dan Rather that very night.

    It would be a techno-display of such apparent omnipotence that President Bush got the kind of mass approval Kissinger and Nixon never dreamed possible. With instant replay came instant gratification, confirmation that the president had the public’s backing. On January 18th, only a day into the assault, CBS announced that a new poll “indicates extremely strong support for Mr. Bush’s Gulf offensive.”

    “By God,” Bush said in triumph, “we’ve kicked the Vietnam syndrome once and for all.”

    Saddam Hussein’s troops were easily driven out of Kuwait and, momentarily, it looked like the outcome would vindicate the logic behind Kissinger’s and Nixon’s covert Cambodian air campaign: that the US should be free to use whatever military force it needed to compel the political outcome it sought. It seemed as if the world Kissinger had long believed he ought to live in was finally coming into being.

    …toward 9/11

    Saddam Hussein, however, remained in power in Baghdad, creating a problem of enormous proportions for Bush’s successor, Bill Clinton. Increasingly onerous sanctions, punctuated by occasional cruise missile attacks on Baghdad, only added to the crisis. Children were starving; civilians were being killed by U.S. missiles; and the Baathist regime refused to budge.

    Kissinger watched all of this with a kind of detached amusement. In a way, Clinton was following his lead: he was bombing a country with which we weren’t at war and without congressional approval in part to placate the militarist right. In 1998, at a conference commemorating the 25th anniversary of the accords that ended the Vietnam War, Kissinger expressed his opinion on Iraq. The real “problem,” he said, is will. You need to be willing to “break the back” of somebody you refuse to negotiate with, just as he and Nixon had done in Southeast Asia. “Whether we got it right or not,” Kissinger added, “is really secondary.”

    That should count as a remarkable statement in the annals of “political realism.”

    Not surprisingly then, in the wake of 9/11, Kissinger was an early supporter of a bold military response. On August 9, 2002, for instance, he endorsed a policy of regime change in Iraq in his syndicated column, acknowledging it as “revolutionary.” “The notion of justified pre-emption,” he wrote, “runs counter to modern international law,” but was nonetheless necessary because of the novelty of the “terrorist threat,” which “transcends the nation-state.”

    There was, however, “another, generally unstated, reason for bringing matters to a head with Iraq”: to “demonstrate that a terrorist challenge or a systemic attack on the international order also produces catastrophic consequences for the perpetrators, as well as their supporters.” To be—in true Kissingerian fashion—in the good graces of the most militaristic members of an American administration, the ultimate political “realist” was, in other words, perfectly willing to ignore that the secular Baathists of Baghdad were the enemies of Islamic jihadists, and that Iraq had neither perpetrated 9/11 nor supported the perpetrators of 9/11. After all, being “right or not is really secondary” to the main issue: being willing to do something decisive, especially use air power to “break the back” of… well, whomever.

    Less than three weeks later, Vice President Dick Cheney, laying out his case for an invasion of Iraq before the national convention of Veterans of Foreign Wars, quoted directly from Kissinger’s column. “As former Secretary of State Kissinger recently stated,” said Cheney, there is “an imperative for pre-emptive action.”

    In 2005, after the revelations about the cooking of intelligence and the manipulation of the press to neutralize opposition to the invasion of Iraq, after Fallujah and Abu Ghraib, after it became clear that the real beneficiary of the occupation would be revolutionary Iran, Michael Gerson, George W. Bush’s speechwriter, paid a visit to Kissinger in New York. Public support for the war was by then plummeting and Bush’s justifications for waging it expanding. America’s “responsibility,” he had announced earlier that year in his second inaugural address, was to “rid the world of evil.”

    Gerson, who had helped write that speech, asked Kissinger what he thought of it. “At first I was appalled,” Kissinger said, but then he came to appreciate it for instrumental reasons. “On reflection,” as Bob Woodward recounted in his book State of Denial, he “now believed the speech served a purpose and was a very smart move, setting the war on terror and overall U.S. foreign policy in the context of American values. That would help sustain a long campaign.”

    At that meeting, Kissinger gave Gerson a copy of an infamous memo he had written Nixon in 1969 and asked him to pass it along to Bush. “Withdrawal of U.S. troops will become like salted peanuts to the American public,” he had warned, “the more U.S. troops come home, the more will be demanded.” Don’t get caught in that trap, Kissinger told Gerson, for once withdrawals start, it will become “harder and harder to maintain the morale of those who remain, not to speak of their mothers.”

    Kissinger then reminisced about Vietnam, reminding Gerson that incentives offered through negotiations must be backed up by credible threats of an unrestrained nature. As an example, he brought up one of the many “major” ultimatums he had given the North Vietnamese, warning of “dire consequences” if they didn’t offer the concessions needed for the U.S. to withdraw from Vietnam “with honor.” They didn’t.

    “I didn’t have enough power,” was how Kissinger summarized his experience more than three decades later.

    Will the Circle Be Unbroken?

    When it comes to American militarism, conventional wisdom puts the idealist Samantha Power and the realist Kissinger at opposite ends of a spectrum. Conventional wisdom is wrong, as Kissinger himself has pointed out. Last year, while promoting his book World Order, he responded to questions about his controversial policies by pointing to Obama. There was, he said, no difference between what he did with B-52s in Cambodia and what the president was doing with drones in Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen. Whenasked about his role in overthrowing Salvador Allende, the democratically elected president of Chile in 1973, he insisted that his actions had been retrospectively justified by what Obama and Power did in Libya and wanted to do in Syria.

    Kissinger’s defense was, of course, partly fatuous, especially his absurd assertion that fewer civilians had died from the half-million tons of bombs he had dropped on Cambodia than from the Hellfire missiles of Obama’s drones. (Credible estimates put civilian fatalities in Cambodia at more than 100,000; drones are blamed for about 1,000 civilian deaths.) He was right, however, in his assertion that many of the political arguments he made in the late 1960s to justify his illegal and covert wars in Cambodia and Laos, considered at the time way beyond mainstream thinking, are now an unquestioned, very public part of American policymaking. This was especially true of the idea that the U.S. has the right to violate the sovereignty of a neutral country to destroy enemy “sanctuaries.” “If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven,” Barack Obama has said, offering Kissinger his retroactive absolution.

    Here, then, is a perfect expression of American militarism’s unbroken circle. Kissinger invokes today’s endless, open-ended wars to justify his diplomacy by air power in Cambodia and elsewhere nearly half a century ago. But what he did then created the conditions for today’s endless wars, both those started by Bush’s neocons and those waged by Obama’s war-fighting liberals like Samantha Power. So it goes in Washington.
    Greg Grandin

    Greg Grandin, a TomDispatch regular, teaches history at New York University and is the author of a number of books, including Fordlandia, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, and The Empire of Necessity, which won the Bancroft Prize in American History. His new book, Kissinger’s Shadow: The Long Reach of America’s Most Controversial Statesman, will be published in August.


    Intel chief Clapper worried about instability in the U.S.
    Director of the office of national intelligence said institutions like rule of law are “under assault”

    Washington (CNN)The nation’s intelligence chief said Thursday that he is concerned about stability in the U.S. and the fragility of American institutions, calling them “under assault” and pointing to today’s heated rhetoric. “I do worry,” Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the Aspen Security Forum, after being asked if he thought the current environment of racial tensions, gun violence, terrorism and declining confidence in the political process was threatening stability. The former general noted that the intelligence community maintains metrics that determine whether a nation is considered stable, with about two-thirds of countries exhibiting some aspects of instability. “I guess if you apply that same measure against us, well, we are starting to exhibit some of them, too,” he assessed. Clapper noted that he was speaking as a private citizen and not in any government capacity. “We pride ourselves on the institutions that have evolved over hundreds of years and I do worry about the, you know, fragility of those institutions,” Clapper said. He continued that he was worried that American “legal institutions, the rule of law, protection of citizens’ liberty, privacy” being “somewhat under assault in this country, and that’s not being helped by a lot of the rhetoric that we’re hearing.” Clapper, who oversees the organizations that comprise the intelligence community, testified before Congress in February that the current geopolitical climate was the most dangerous threat environment he had ever seen during his more than five decades in public service. The intelligence chief was also asked Thursday how international countries were responding to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s rhetoric pertaining to nuclear proliferation and other issues. Clapper responded that “such rhetoric is very bothersome to our foreign interlocutors, our foreign partners.” He added, “It is a worry to them, it really is, so I’ll just let it go at that rather than rendering any personal opinion. But I can, I think it is legitimate for me to report what I hear from many foreign partners and interlocutors.”


    Are we at the point of this years presidential election that Hillary Clinton worries more about a potential withdrawal of Trump than him continuing his presidential ambitions? (CNBC commenting on the second debate) MH

    Donald Trump survived Sunday night’s dark and bitter presidential debate but that’s about all he did.

    The bar has now been set so low for the GOP nominee that he could do the following on stage in St. Louis and still receive passing grades: suggest that as president he would jail his opponent; defend Vladimir Putin and Russia over the hacking of the U.S. election; praise brutal Syrian tyrant Bashar Assad; admit to not paying federal income tax; and rebuke his own running mate for daring to criticize Russia over the indiscriminate bombing of Syrian civilians.
    That’s a very partial list.
    Trump also lied with enthusiastic regularity, again saying he opposed the second Iraq war before it started (he didn’t), claimed his opponent would jack up the tax rate on the middle class (she says she won’t) and protested that he did not Tweet at 3 a.m. that people should check out a sex tape featuring a former Miss Universe (he did).
    And never mind that Trump spent the first portion of the debate apologizing for a video leaked over the weekend in which he grotesquely bragged about his ability to commit sexual assault because he’s a “star.” Diving deeply into the gutter, Trump tried to turn the video into a bizarre bank shot attack on Clinton by bringing to the debate women who claim former President Bill Clinton sexually abused them.

    Trump, who himself faced a rape allegation from ex-wife Ivana Trump and now faces one from a woman who was 13-years old at the time the alleged act occurred (Trump has repeatedly denied the allegations) argues that Hillary Clinton is worse than he is because she attempted to smear and intimidate Bill Clinton’s accusers, though the evidence for that smearing and intimidation is thin to nonexistent.

    Trump also spent the debate wandering around the stage and regularly crowding Clinton’s space and glowering over her shoulder like a stalker. When asked by a Muslim-American in the audience how he would deal with “Islamophobia,” Trump repeated the debunked claim that witnesses saw “bombs all over the apartment” of the San Bernardino terrorists and failed to report it. There is no evidence that anything like this ever took place.
    In any normal election season, Trump’s debate performance would be graded a campaign-killing disaster. But 2016 is no ordinary year, and Trump was already so gravely wounded, with Republicans across the country rescinding their endorsements, that his ability to avoid a complete meltdown Sunday night ranks as a “win.”
    And Clinton for her part opted not to go for the kill shot. She mostly laughed off Trump’s attacks and declined to bring up the sexual assault allegations against him, instead pivoting to her own vision for the nation’s future. The lack of aggression irritated some Democrats who wanted to see Clinton knock down a staggering opponent.
    But the high-road approach appeared to work with voters who declared Clinton the winner of the debate in multiple polls. And Clinton may have held back for strategic reasons, preferring to keep Trump alive rather than bait him into campaign killing moments that could drive him off the ticket in favor of Mike Pence. Clinton would likely win in any scenario but a Trump withdrawal would create significant uncertainty in a race that is now tilting back heavily in Clinton’s direction.
    Even before the explosive video surfaced over the weekend, Clinton had moved back to a nearly 5-point lead in the RealClear Politics average of general election polls. She has taken back the lead in the battlegrounds of Ohio and Florida and now appears to be a lock in Pennsylvania and Virginia. She has many paths to 270 electoral votes, Trump at the moment has none.
    All the usual caveats apply. There is a final debate in nine days in Las Vegas. More damaging information could come out about Clinton. External events could shift the landscape in the GOP nominee’s favor. But at the moment, the American people appear to have decided that while they may not like Clinton very much, they find her qualified to serve as president while Trump is not.
    And Trump did just well enough in the second debate to stagger to the finish line of a race he is almost certain to lose.


    “Nearly three-quarters of Republican voters, 74 percent, surveyed on Saturday said party officials should continue to support Trump. Only 13 percent think the party shouldn’t back him.”

    A wave of Republican officials abandoned Donald Trump on Saturday, but, at least for now, rank-and-file Republicans are standing by the party’s presidential candidate, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll conducted immediately after audio was unearthed Friday that had the GOP nominee crudely bragging about groping women and trying to lure a married woman into an affair.
    Overall, fewer than 4-in-10 voters — 39 percent — think Trump should end his presidential campaign, while only slightly more voters, 45 percent, think he should not drop out.
    Story Continued Below

    But voters are largely viewing Trump’s comments through their own partisan lens: 70 percent of Democrats say Trump should end his campaign, but just 12 percent of Republicans — and 13 percent of female Republicans — agree.

    As of now, GOP voters largely want the party to stand behind Trump. Nearly three-quarters of Republican voters, 74 percent, surveyed on Saturday said party officials should continue to support Trump. Only 13 percent think the party shouldn’t back him.
    Still, Hillary Clinton leads Trump in the four-way race for the White House by 4 percentage points, 42 percent to 38 percent, with 8 percent supporting Gary Johnson, 3 percent supporting Jill Stein and 9 percent undecided. Clinton also leads by four in a two-way race, 45 percent to 41 percent.
    Operatives in both parties say they believe it will take several days — and Sunday night’s debate at Washington University in St. Louis — to have the video bake into the public consciousness.

    But the new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll is the first scientific survey to gauge voters’ immediate reactions to Trump’s comments. The technology of Morning Consult’s Web-panel survey allowed respondents to view both the video in which Trump, off-camera, explicitly describes women who allow him to kiss them and grab their genitals with impunity because of his celebrity — and Trump’s subsequent midnight apology video posted early Saturday morning.
    All poll respondents were showed the video in which Trump converses off-camera with “Access Hollywood’s” then-anchor Billy Bush (coincidentally, a cousin of Trump’s former GOP rival, Jeb Bush). Respondents were asked, after the video, to describe how they felt about the clip, on a scale from zero (very negative) to 10 (very positive), with 5 defined as “neutral.”

    A 74-percent majority of all voters had a negative reaction to the video — including 47 percent who said their feelings were a zero (very negative). But there’s a partisan element to voters’ reactions to the video: 69 percent of Democratic voters said they had a very negative impression after watching it, but only 22 percent of Republicans gave it a zero rating. Ten percent of Republicans said the video gave them a positive feeling.
    An even sharper partisan dynamic existed when voters were asked whether the video gave them a more favorable or less favorable impression of Trump. Among all voters, 61 percent said it made them feel either somewhat or much less favorable toward Trump, while 28 percent said it didn’t affect their view of Trump; 8 percent said it made them feel more favorably toward Trump.
    But just 48 percent of GOP voters said it made them feel less favorably toward Trump, while 36 percent said it didn’t affect their opinion of Trump.

    “As soon as the news broke, we designed a survey that not only tested voter opinion on Trump’s comments, but also allowed more than 1,500 voters to react in real time to the video and his apology,” said Morning Consult co-founder and Chief Research Officer Kyle Dropp. “The results show that nearly all voters have heard about the video and most rate it negatively, but Trump’s supporters are not abandoning him right away.”
    Voters completed the survey on Saturday, as GOP lawmakers — some facing challenging campaigns this fall and others in safe seats or not on the ballot — raced to announce they either wouldn’t support Trump in November or urged him to withdraw from the race and be replaced on the ballot.
    But not only do three-quarters of Republican voters want the party to stand behind Trump, there’s a potential warning in the data for GOP officeholders like Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, who announced Saturday she wouldn’t vote for him: Less than a third of voters are willing to give greater consideration to a candidate who un-endorses Trump.
    The poll was conducted entirely on Saturday, the day after the Trump video was revealed by The Washington Post. Morning Consult surveyed 1,549 registered voters, with 1,390 likely voters. The margin of error for all results is plus or minus 2 percentage points, and 3 percentage points for likely voters.
    Asked at the outset about the 11-year-old video of Trump released Friday, 42 percent of voters said they had heard “a lot” about it. A further 37 percent said they had heard something about it, 13 percent said they hadn’t heard much, and 9 percent said they hadn’t heard about it at all.
    On cable television, Trump’s comments have been covered far more extensively on CNN and MSNBC than they have on Fox News Channel, the preferred outlet for many conservative viewers. Partisan inclination is a key driver even among those with knowledge of Trump’s comments: More than half of Democrats, 55 percent, said they had heard “a lot” about the Trump video, but only a third of Republicans have heard a lot about it.
    Trump’s apology video — a 90-second video posted a few minutes after midnight on Saturday morning — failed to move the needle for most voters. On the same zero-to-10 scale, 47 percent gave Trump’s apology a negative rating, 14 percent gave it a neutral score and the remaining 39 percent gave it a positive rating. Twenty-six percent of voters scored it a zero (very negative), and 13 percent scored it a 10 (very positive).
    The apology did help Trump somewhat with Republicans: 65 percent said they view him either very or somewhat more favorably after viewing it. But among all voters, only 37 percent viewed Trump more favorably.
    Still, even after viewing both videos as part of the poll’s administration, more voters said Trump shouldn’t drop out of the race, 45 percent, than say he should, 39 percent. More than three-quarters of Republicans, 78 percent, said Trump shouldn’t end his campaign. And more independents, 44 percent, said Trump should stay in the race, compared with only 35 percent who thought he should drop out.
    A number of high-profile, down-ballot Republican candidates distanced themselves from Trump on Saturday, but there’s little indication voters are preparing to punish continued support for Trump among other candidates. If a GOP candidate continued to support Trump, 39 percent of voters overall said it would make them somewhat or much less likely to vote for that candidate, compared with 23 percent who said it would make them more likely to vote for that candidate, and 31 percent who said it wouldn’t affect their vote.
    But again, GOP voters reacted differently than voters overall. Some Republicans, like Ayotte and Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, have for months balanced personal ambivalence toward Trump with efforts to avoid alienating pro-Trump voters in their battleground states. And even after watching the video, 41 percent of GOP voters said continued support for Trump would make them more likely to vote for the down-ballot candidate, while only 12 percent said it would make them less likely to vote for that candidate.
    In fact, there’s evidence that cutting Trump loose could hurt Republicans like Ayotte, at least initially. There’s little to gain from bailing on Trump: While 31 percent of voters said renouncing support for Trump after the newly released video would make them more likely to vote for a Republican candidate, 25 percent said it would make them less likely to vote for that candidate. More than a third, 34 percent, said it doesn’t matter either way.
    And GOP voters could be prepared to punish Republicans who bail on Trump: 28 percent said it would make them more likely to vote for a candidate who can’t support Trump, but 25 percent said it would make them less likely to vote for that candidate. A 41-percent plurality said it won’t affect their vote.
    Some of the Republicans who have split from Trump have said they will write in the name of his running mate, Mike Pence, or called for the Republican National Committee to officially promote Pence to the top of the ticket. But there’s little evidence at the outset that such a move would help Republicans: Clinton holds a 6-point lead over Pence in a hypothetical matchup among likely voters, according to the poll.
    While Republican voters thus far are mostly shrugging off Trump’s comments, Sunday’s debate — and Trump’s reaction to questions about what he said and how he feels about and treats women — could reinforce this controversy.
    Still, the race on the eve of the debate remains both close and volatile. Clinton’s 4-point lead on the initial ballot test is slightly smaller than her 6-point edge on the four-way ballot in last week’s POLITICO/Morning Consult poll. And, even a month before Election Day, 20 percent of likely voters won’t commit to Clinton or Trump on the initial ballot, either choosing a third-party candidate or saying they are undecided.


    http://www. nytimes. com/2016/05/03/us/politics/for-hillary-clinton-and-john-kerry-divergent-paths-to-iran-nuclear-talks.html

    Noteworthy qoutes from the article:

    “But the behind-the-scenes story of Mrs. Clinton’s role is more complicated than her public account of it.
    (…) highly cautious, ambivalent diplomat, less willing than Mr. Obama to take risks to open a dialogue with Iran and increasingly wary of Mr. Kerry’s freelance diplomacy.
    “She’s built one coalition that was tremendously effective in imposing sanctions,” said Jake Sullivan, Mrs. Clinton’s top policy adviser at the State Department, who was a member of the team sent to Oman for the talks. “If it comes to it, she can rally the world to both deter and punish Iran.”
    “They shared the same tactic, which was engagement, but they envisioned different endgames,” said Karim Sadjadpour, an expert on Iran at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “The president’s endgame was, ‘I’m a guy who can bridge differences. I’ve bridged races and countries all my life, so I’m going to be able to resolve this.’”
    “Clinton had a more cynical view of the endgame,” he continued. “‘We’re going to engage them not because we think they’re going to reciprocate, but because when they rebuff us, it will expose the fact that the problem lies in Tehran, and not in Washington.’”
    Mrs. Clinton lobbied China and other countries in the United Nations Security Council to impose harsh new sanctions on Iran, a step widely seen as a crucial lever against the Iranians.
    “She would have squeezed them (Iran) again,” a person who has worked with her for several years said, “and the only debate is what they would have done.”

    WASHINGTON — Early in 2011, after a hectic visit to Yemen, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton landed in the tranquil Arab sultanate of Oman. She was there to talk to Sultan Qaboos bin Said about an idea one of his envoys first pitched to the State Department in the spring of 2009: that Oman serve as a conduit for secret nuclear talks between the United States and Iran.
    Mrs. Clinton agreed to explore the proposal but was dubious that it would go anywhere. “Even under the best of circumstances,” she wrote later, “this was a long shot.” It would be 18 months before she took up the sultan on his offer and dispatched a team of diplomats to Oman to meet with the Iranians.
    Mrs. Clinton, however, was not the only prominent American making discreet trips to Oman in those days. Senator John F. Kerry, then the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and later her successor as secretary of state, was holding his own meetings with Sultan Qaboos and his trusted emissary, a businessman named Salem ben Nasser al-Ismaily.
    Mr. Kerry came away convinced that Oman could deliver Iranians who spoke for their top leaders, and he urged President Obama and Mrs. Clinton to open a back channel.
    Continue reading the main story

    Continue reading the main story

    “Hillary and company were skeptical,” he said in an interview. The president, on the other hand, was intrigued by the prospect of an Omani channel, twice telephoning the sultan to ask him about it. “He was genuinely curious about trying to find an out-of-the-box approach to change the dynamic,” Mr. Kerry recalled.
    The Iran nuclear deal, signed last year after months of direct negotiations with Iranian officials, is likely to be remembered as Mr. Obama’s most consequential diplomatic achievement. In Mrs. Clinton’s campaign to succeed him, she is claiming her share of the credit for it. The multinational sanctions regime that she cobbled together helped pull Iran’s government to the bargaining table. The team she eventually sent to Oman, she likes to say, “set the table” for Mr. Kerry’s diplomatic banquet.
    But the behind-the-scenes story of Mrs. Clinton’s role is more complicated than her public account of it. Interviews with more than a dozen current and former administration officials paint a portrait of a highly cautious, ambivalent diplomat, less willing than Mr. Obama to take risks to open a dialogue with Iran and increasingly wary of Mr. Kerry’s freelance diplomacy. Her decision to send her own team, some officials said, was driven as much by her desire to corral Mr. Kerry as to engage the Iranians.
    Mrs. Clinton, who declined to comment for this article, worried that he was promising too much to lure the Iranians to the table — a worry shared by people in the White House. The senator’s aides, meanwhile, suspected that Mrs. Clinton was content to run out the clock on an opening. At one point, a frustrated Mr. Kerry told his chief of staff, David Wade, “If this is going to go anywhere, we have to get people in a room talking.”
    Defenders of Mrs. Clinton say that her distrust of Iran was warranted, and that her success in lining up the sanctions makes her the best candidate to handle the next phase of the relationship: enforcing the nuclear agreement.
    “She’s built one coalition that was tremendously effective in imposing sanctions,” said Jake Sullivan, Mrs. Clinton’s top policy adviser at the State Department, who was a member of the team sent to Oman for the talks. “If it comes to it, she can rally the world to both deter and punish Iran.”

    Mrs. Clinton, then the secretary of state, at the Muscat airport in October 2011. She was initially dubious of a plan to use Oman as a conduit to engage Iran in nuclear talks.
    Mohammed Mahjoub/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
    The secret history of the Iran nuclear diplomacy, parts of which have never been reported before, lays bare stark differences between Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama, going back to the 2008 campaign, over how to approach one of America’s most intractable foes.
    “They shared the same tactic, which was engagement, but they envisioned different endgames,” said Karim Sadjadpour, an expert on Iran at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “The president’s endgame was, ‘I’m a guy who can bridge differences. I’ve bridged races and countries all my life, so I’m going to be able to resolve this.’”
    “Clinton had a more cynical view of the endgame,” he continued. “‘We’re going to engage them not because we think they’re going to reciprocate, but because when they rebuff us, it will expose the fact that the problem lies in Tehran, and not in Washington.’”
    Leery From the Start
    Few would have expected Mrs. Clinton to be in the vanguard of an overture to Iran. During the 2008 campaign, she ridiculed Mr. Obama’s pledge to hold talks with Iran’s leaders without preconditions. She warned Iran that if it ever launched a nuclear strike on Israel, the United States would “totally obliterate” it.
    Yet the secret channel’s origins go back to her own special adviser on Iran, Dennis B. Ross, who got a visit at the State Department on Memorial Day weekend in 2009 from Mr. Ismaily. He came bearing a sheet of paper outlining an offer by Iran to negotiate with the Obama administration on a range of issues, including the country’s nuclear program as well as its support for Hezbollah.
    As a general rule, Mr. Ross said, he viewed such proposals “not with a grain of salt, but a small ton of salt.” But he had gotten to know the Omanis through his work on Middle East peace issues in the 1990s, and he knew their ties to the Iranians were genuine. He said he decided to pass along Mr. Ismaily’s proposal, with a caveat-laden cover memo, to Mrs. Clinton. She told Mr. Ross to keep talking to him.
    A few weeks later, the Iranian authorities cracked down brutally on antigovernment protesters, dashing Mr. Ismaily’s hopes to set up a channel and prompting the White House to shift from a strategy of engaging Tehran to one of pressuring it. Mrs. Clinton lobbied China and other countries in the United Nations Security Council to impose harsh new sanctions on Iran, a step widely seen as a crucial lever against the Iranians.
    Around that time, Mr. Ismaily got another chance to demonstrate his skills as an intermediary. He negotiated the release of three young Americans who had been arrested by Iranian guards while hiking on the border between Iran and Iraqi Kurdistan. Oman paid bail for the three hikers, roughly $500,000 each.
    In December 2010, several weeks after the release of the first American, Mr. Ross and a senior official on the National Security Council, Puneet Talwar, secretly traveled to Oman to hear from Sultan Qaboos himself how he thought a channel could work. They were impressed by what the sultan told them: He had visited the supreme leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and was confident of the country’s seriousness in seeking a nuclear deal.
    The next January, Mrs. Clinton stopped in Muscat, the capital of Oman, for her own briefing. She expressed doubts that the Iranians could negotiate in good faith, but she agreed to put it to a test. Mr. Obama was more intrigued: He called Sultan Qaboos twice over the next few months to ask him about whether he could deliver Iranians who could speak with the authority of the supreme leader. The White House, intent on secrecy, did not disclose the calls.
    Leaning Forward
    Mr. Kerry had long nourished the idea of opening lines of communication to Iran, and he saw his chance when he got involved in trying to free the hikers. That put him in contact with the sultan and his emissary. (Mr. Ismaily confirmed this account, but declined to speak on the record about his role in the nuclear talks.)

    Secretary of State John Kerry met with Sultan Qaboos of Oman in Muscat, the capital, in May 2013.
    Pool photo by Jim Young
    Mr. Kerry visited Oman in late 2011 and the first half of 2012, spending hours with the sultan discussing the possibility of secret talks with Iran. He also met with Mr. Ismaily — sometimes in London and Rome, other times in Washington. Later, in a one-on-one meeting with Mr. Obama in the Oval Office, Mr. Kerry told him that the only way to test its potential was to meet the Iranians.
    The State Department and the National Security Council, however, deliberated for months without making a decision.
    In his zeal to jump-start negotiations, Mr. Kerry passed several messages to the Iranians through Mr. Ismaily. The senator was coordinating his talking points with Mr. Obama’s national security adviser, Thomas E. Donilon, with whom he had a close relationship. But his aggressive approach alarmed Mrs. Clinton, as well as people at the White House, several former officials said. They worried that Mr. Kerry had promised the Iranians concessions on enriching uranium that the White House was not yet willing to make.
    Mr. Kerry, these officials said, indicated to the Iranians that the United States would acknowledge, at the outset of the talks, that Iran had a right to enrich uranium for a civil nuclear-energy program. Iran had long demanded that concession, claiming it was guaranteed by the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. But the United States had steadfastly refused, and the Obama administration was, at that moment, debating how and when to relax that position.
    Mr. Kerry denies ever signaling to Iran that it had a right to enrich. “We made it crystal clear to them,” he said. At the same time, he held out to the Iranians the prospect of their having a peaceful nuclear program, and he was dismissive of hard-liners in Israel and the United States who demanded that Iran dismantle its nuclear infrastructure.
    In the fragile atmosphere of early 2012, officials said, Mr. Kerry’s forward-leaning style came to be viewed as a liability. Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama worried that the Iranians would believe Mr. Kerry was speaking for the president.
    Sometime that spring, Mr. Obama decided that it was time for the executive branch to take over the negotiations. Mr. Kerry did not protest, believing that he had taken the process as far as a senator could. Three years later in Vienna, as secretary of state, he would lead weeks of grinding talks that produced a final agreement.
    After she left the State Department, Mrs. Clinton diverged from Mr. Obama on a central tactical question: whether to impose harsh new sanctions on the Iranians after they elected Hassan Rouhani, who had run for president seeking better relations with the West to ease Iran’s economic isolation. Mrs. Clinton was swayed by many in Congress, as well as by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, who argued Iran was so desperate for a deal that tightening the vise would have extracted better terms.
    “She would have squeezed them again,” a person who has worked with her for several years said, “and the only debate is what they would have done.”
    Mr. Obama feared that ratcheting up the pressure would undercut Mr. Rouhani, unravel the sanctions coalition and doom his diplomatic efforts. He persuaded the Senate to hold off on new sanctions. Mrs. Clinton never made her differences with Mr. Obama public, and she has publicly endorsed his nuclear deal, though with more caveats than her former boss.
    “It’s not enough just to say yes to this deal,” she declared last October. “We have to say, ‘Yes, and.’ Yes, and we will enforce it with vigor and vigilance. Yes, and we will embed it in a broader strategy to confront Iran’s bad behavior in the region. Yes, and we will begin from Day 1 to set the conditions so Iran knows it will never be able to get a nuclear weapon.”


    The Huffington Post sees Clinton gaining in polls even before „Trump-Tape“ and the second debate. MH
    „(…) Clinton now holds 65 percent of the Electoral College, to Trump’s 35 percent.“
    Clinton: 2 EV short of winning
    Trump: 99 EV short of winning—-cl_b_12435864.html?section=us_politics

    2016 Electoral Math — Clinton Continues Her Rise

    Chris Weigant  Political writer and blogger at  
    The Huffington Post
    I have to begin today with a rather large caveat: nothing in this article deals with what has happened since Friday. Polling always lags reality, meaning that the effect of the Billy Bush/Donald Trump tape and the second debate are not reflected in today’s data one tiny bit. That’ll all show up in the next week, so you’ll just have to check back next Monday to see how all of it turns out. For now, we’re dealing with what happened before that tape hit the airwaves last Friday afternoon — which largely consisted of the public’s reaction to Donald Trump’s tax returns being leaked (showing an almost $1 billion loss in a single year). So just to be crystal clear: nothing in this article will reflect the reaction to the Bush/Trump tape, or last night’s debate.
    Even with that big caveat, Hillary Clinton had another good week in the polls. In fact, almost all the news was good news for Clinton and bad news for Donald Trump. Clinton continued to ride the wave from the first debate, and this week shows the public’s reaction to Trump’s tax returns being leaked, showing an almost-billion-dollar loss in a single year (so much for the “I’m a great businessman” thing…). Trump is defiant about not paying any federal income taxes for almost two decades, which certainly didn’t help him any with public opinion.

    Let’s take a look at our first chart, which shows how the candidates would do in overall Electoral Votes (EV), if the election were held today and the polls were all correct. Hillary (blue) starts from the bottom, and Trump (red) starts from the top. The white gaps are states which are perfectly tied. Whichever candidate crosses the middle line has enough Electoral College votes to win.

    [Click on any of theses images to see larger-scale versions.]
    Hillary Clinton has almost completely regained the lead she held in mid-August. Percentage-wise, Clinton now holds 65 percent of the Electoral College, to Trump’s 35 percent. This is up from last week’s 60/40 split, and is very close to a whopping 2-to-1 advantage for Clinton in the Electoral College.
    For the second week in a row, Clinton held onto every state she had last week, and flipped two more states into her column: Arizona and Ohio. The momentum she saw last week continued, to put it another way. I should mention that Ohio moved around quite a bit this week (more on this in a moment), but in terms of this particular chart, Ohio spent a single day being tied, which is why there’s that small patch of white between the candidates.
    Things look even better for Clinton when you dive down into each candidate’s relative strength in the states they currently hold, as well. Let’s take a look at Trump’s chart first, to see this movement. As always, the categories used are from the same site I use to get all my raw data.

    [Definition of terms: “Strong” means 10 percent or better in the polls,
    “Weak” means five percent or better, and “Barely” is under five percent.]
    Donald Trump actually began this period with a little good news, but this didn’t last long. By the end of the week, he was starting to see states flip over to Hillary Clinton.
    Ohio is running polls almost constantly, at this point. Trump got one good poll early in the week which moved Ohio from Barely Trump to Weak Trump, which was a shot in the arm for him. But a few days later, Ohio fell back to Barely Trump and then over the weekend moved all the way to Barely Clinton. Since Ohio has 18 EV, this was very noticeable in the graph. Trump also lost Arizona to Clinton, which is the other step down his overall numbers took (Arizona only has 11 EV, so this wasn’t as pronounced as the Ohio shift). To recap: the only good news Trump got this week turned into bad news for him in the end.
    Overall, Trump did stay remarkably stable in both his Strong and Weak categories. Strong Trump started at 87 EV and didn’t budge an inch all week long. Weak Trump started at 78 EV, briefly rose to 96 EV with the addition of Ohio, but then fell back to the same 78 EV it started with. So the silver lining (flimsy though it may be) for Trump was that he halted the slide in his base states. He didn’t improve here, mind you, but he didn’t lose any ground either.
    The Barely Trump category saw a lot more movement. Trump started with 50 EV in Barely, which fell to 32 EV and then returned to 50 EV when Ohio briefly firmed up for him. But then Trump lost Arizona and Ohio entirely, leaving him with only 21 EV at the end. That’s a loss of 29 EV, which Trump can’t really afford to lose at this point in the race.
    Overall, Trump started the week with a total of 215 EV, which fell to only 186 EV. That’s the lowest he’s been since August 22, to put this in perspective. Trump is now only 22 EV above his lowest point ever, to put it in even more perspective. And that’s all before last Friday’s revelations, I remind everyone.
    Of course, the number I keep the closest track of is “Strong Plus Weak” because this shows the states a candidate can truly count on when people vote — states where they’re up by five points or better in the polls. Trump’s Strong Plus Weak number started at 165 EV, rose briefly with the addition of Ohio to 183 EV, but then fell back to the same 165 EV he started the week with. So the week didn’t hurt Trump with his base, but he also failed to expand this base at all.
    OK, enough of Trump — let’s take a look at Hillary Clinton’s chart, which is much more positive this week.

    Hillary Clinton has now almost completely recovered from the polling dip she experienced at the end of September. Clinton saw nine states shift around this week, and of these only two weren’t good news. Both New Hampshire and Wisconsin tightened up with new polls, and fell back from Weak Clinton to only Barely Clinton. But the good news from the other seven states more than made up for this.
    Three states made the opposite shift, firming up from Barely Clinton to Weak Clinton. Colorado, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania all made this shift, and while Colorado and New Mexico are good news, the best news for Clinton fans is seeing Pennsylvania moving to the point where few are even calling it a battleground state anymore. This is important, because Trump’s supposed path to victory was supposed to start by flipping Pennsylvania. This now looks increasingly unlikely to happen.
    Within the states Clinton already had, she got even better news from two other states. Washington state moved from Weak Clinton back to Strong Clinton (where it should have been, all along), but the biggest news was Rhode Island moving all the way from Barely Clinton to Strong Clinton. Both of these are states that have (historically) consistently voted Democratic, so neither was any big surprise, but it is nice to see stronger polling numbers in both of them.
    But the best news for Clinton was flipping both Arizona and Ohio from Barely Trump to Barely Clinton. To be sure, neither one is exactly a lock for Clinton at this point, and either or both could flip back just as easily with another round of polling. While Ohio is the perennial battleground state, it is indeed remarkable that Arizona is even in play for Democrats. Of the last six presidential elections, Arizona has only voted Democratic once (for Bill Clinton in 1996), so it would be nothing short of astonishing to see Clinton win the state.
    Overall, Clinton had a great week, rising from a total of 323 EV to hit an impressive 352 EV by the end of the week. This puts her right back in the territory she occupied in mid-August, and only 16 EV shy of her best-ever showing.
    Breaking things down by category, Clinton improved her Strong numbers with the addition of Rhode Island and Washington state, moving from 152 EV up to 168 EV. This number still has a long way to go before it regains the strength Clinton showed in August, however, but at least it is now moving in the right direction — up 36 EV from her low point a few weeks ago.
    In the Weak category, Clinton began by rising from 79 EV up to 113 EV, with the addition of Colorado and New Mexico. This fell back by week’s end to only 87 EV, with some of the losses moving up to Strong and some down to Barely.
    By the numbers, Clinton’s Barely didn’t change much, but there was a lot of reshuffling. Clinton started with 92 EV in the Barely category, slipped back to 58 EV but then rose at the end (with Ohio’s 18 EV) to finish at 97 EV — five more than she started with.
    The really good news for Clinton came in the Strong Plus Weak category, though. Clinton added four states to her total here (Colorado, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island) and only lost two (New Hampshire and Wisconsin). This meant adding 38 EV while subtracting 14 EV, for an overall gain of 24 EV. Clinton started the period with 231 EV in Strong Plus Weak, rose to 265 EV, but then fell back at the very end (with the loss of Wisconsin to Barely), to 255 EV. This puts her only 15 EV away from victory, in Strong Plus Weak alone. That is rather impressive, although still off from August’s highs (she hit 320 EV for almost a week here, in late August).
    Let’s put this into historical perspective with our occasional chart which tracks how Hillary Clinton is doing in Strong Plus Weak measured against how Barack Obama did in 2008 and 2012. As you can easily see, the positions are comparable.

    Clinton’s Strong Plus Weak ratings have bounced around more than Obama saw in either of his campaigns, and Clinton’s highest point has already topped Obama’s high in 2008. Clinton’s low also never sank to where Obama dipped to in 2008 as well. What’s interesting is that Obama’s 2008 recovery is so far close to matching Clinton’s recovery this year. A few days ago, they were almost a perfect match. Clinton was at 265 EV (until today), while Obama was at 264 EV in 2008, and 257 EV in 2012. The reason I decided to run this chart again is that this was the point where Obama’s trendlines diverged, rising in 2008 to an easy win, but falling in 2012 to a much closer victory over Mitt Romney. Will Clinton follow one of these paths, or one somewhere in between? Well, considering what happened Friday, the safer bet would probably be that Clinton follows Obama’s 2008 rise for the next week or so.
    My Picks
    Moving right along, let’s get away from pure polling analysis and add in gut feelings, for how I now see the race. Here is my new map of how I’m rating all the states, broken down into Safe, Probable, and Lean for both candidates, as well as Too Close To Call for those where I have no firm idea which way the wind is currently blowing. So here’s my map for this week, courtesy (as always) of the folks at 270toWin, where you can make a map of your own picks, if you feel so inclined.

    Likely States — Clinton
    Safe Clinton (15 states, 192 EV)
    Clinton added one state to her Safe category this week, as Rhode Island moves up from Probable Clinton. Rhode Island is one of those states that isn’t polled all that much, meaning one outlier poll can throw things off much more than, say, Ohio or Florida. There was one poll showing Rhode Island much closer than it likely actually is, a few weeks ago, but recent polling has put Hillary back with a comfortable lead.
    Probable Clinton (7 states, 76 EV)
    There was a goodly amount of activity in the Probable Clinton category, but most of it was good news for Clinton. Rhode Island moved up to Safe Clinton, and (the only bad news) New Hampshire moved down to just Leans Clinton. These two states were replaced by both Colorado and Pennsylvania moving up to Probable from Leans Clinton. In both Colorado and Pennsylvania, Hillary’s poll numbers are getting noticeably better, and her lead is widening, so they have to be seen as stronger than just Leans at this point.
    Likely States — Trump
    Safe Trump (16 states, 93 EV)
    Trump lost one state here this week, as I had to move Indiana down to just Probable Trump. This was largely a gut-feelings move, since the polling hasn’t really shifted at all. But Trump has never held an insurmountable lead in the Hoosier State, and what with all the turmoil it could conceivably come into play in the next few weeks. So, for now, Indiana moves down.
    Probable Trump (5 states, 78 EV)
    Other than Indiana moving down here, the rest of the Probable Trump category stayed the same this week. So far (and remember, this is before last Friday’s bombshell and before the debate), Trump seems to be doing a fairly good job of holding onto his core states. The problem for him is, they don’t add up to anywhere near what he needs to win.
    Tossup States
    Leans Clinton (2 states, 22 EV)
    As happened last week, this category completely changed, as both states previously in Leans Clinton moved up to Probable Clinton, to be replaced by one state moving down from Probable Clinton (New Hampshire), and one state moving up from Too Close To Call (Ohio). Both of these moves are debatable, of course. New Hampshire saw one weak poll for Clinton — she’s still leading, but not by much. If it’s an outlier and a future poll shows a bigger lead for her, then it could move right back up to Probable Clinton, but for now it has to be considered only a Leans Clinton state. Ohio is even more debatable, since it has been very close for quite some time now, and Trump had been leading in the polls up until very recently. Call this one a gut-feelings move if you will, but I feel that the momentum in Ohio has shifted in Hillary’s favor. I could be wrong and it could move right back down to Too Close To Call, but for now I’m considering it a Leans Clinton state.
    Leans Trump (2 states plus one district, 16 EV)
    Trump had a more stable time of it in the Leans Trump category, losing one state but seeing the others stay put. Arizona moved down to Too Close To Call, as a recent poll showed Clinton taking the lead there. Iowa and South Carolina stayed Leans Trump, as did the Maine district (with a single EV) where Trump still probably has an edge.
    Too Close To Call (4 states, 61 EV)
    We’ve got four states in Too Close To Call, but they’re not the same four as last week. Ohio moved up to Leans Clinton, and Arizona moved down from Leans Trump to replace it. The other three states (Florida, Nevada, North Carolina) remained complete tossups, though. Florida may be stuck here for weeks, because accurate polling may take some time to happen as the state’s east coast recovers from the hurricane (making accurate polling difficult if not impossible, since many people have other things to do right now than answer pollsters’ calls). Nevada and North Carolina both might be considered Leans Clinton, as she’s been leading for a while, but her lead is still razor-thin in both places, so I’ve decided to keep them here for now.
    Final Tally
    Hillary Clinton continued to improve in the aftermath of the first debate, adding one state to her total Likely Clinton states (Safe and Probable combined), putting 22 states in her pocket for Election Day. While adding one state isn’t that impressive, her rise in the Electoral College count was more so, as she moved up from 243 EV here last week to 268 EV this week — a gain of 25 EV in a single week. This puts her only 2 EV short of winning, without even counting any of her Leans Clinton states or the true tossups. Clinton only has to add one state (any state) to her Likely Clinton totals to put her over the top, and put this election out of reach for Donald Trump. That’s a pretty good place to be, one month out from the voting.
    Donald Trump didn’t lose any states from his Likely column, which is about the best news he could have hoped for, at this point. He still has the same 21 states here, with the same total of 171 EV between them. Once again, this leaves him a whopping 99 EV shy of victory.
    The gap between the two candidates grew larger this week in the EV count. Last week, Clinton was ahead by 72 EV in the Likely states category, but this week, she’s jumped ahead to a 97 EV lead over Trump.
    Only eight states can be considered tossups this week, down one state from last week. Clinton has two states in her Leans column, for a total of 22 EV. Even if she just wins New Hampshire’s 4 EV (and all her Likely states), she will be over the 270 EV mark, and she will be our next president. If she wins both her Leans states, she’ll be at 290 EV without any of the Too Close To Call states at all. This is a much better place for her to be than last week, when she would have needed both her Leans states to win.
    Trump has only two states leaning in his direction this week (plus that single district in Maine). This only adds up to 16 EV, down from 27 EV here last week. Adding together Trump’s Likely states and his leaners only gives him 187 EV, down 11 EV from last week. This means not only would he have to win all the Too Close To Call states, he would also have to wrest both New Hampshire and Ohio from Clinton to win. That’s a pretty steep hill to climb, to put it mildly.
    Four states are too close to accurately make any predictions at all. Clinton is actually polling ahead in all four states (Arizona, Florida, Nevada, and North Carolina) right now, but by very small margins. Any of these states could flip back to Trump at any moment, in other words. Due to the double-digit nature of three of these states, they add up to a substantial 61 EV between them.
    I would remind everyone once again that this is a snapshot in time taken before last Friday’s news hit and also before the second debate. Call it a benchmark to measure next week’s polls against. But even before the fallout hits from the Billy Bush bombshell videotape, Hillary Clinton is getting very close to clinching the entire race. All she needs from the eight states that are still close is a paltry 2 EV to win. She’s got many paths to get there (eight, in fact).
    With one month to go, Hillary Clinton is on the brink of putting the race away. This is not unprecedented — Barack Obama managed the same feat this far out from the election in 2008. Trump would have to mount the biggest comeback in political history to even have a shot at winning, at this point. And that’s before the polls start reflecting that leaked video. Next week is certainly going to be fun for poll-watchers everywhere, that is absolutely certain.


    No candidate in the modern era of polling has climbed back from a similar deficit in October to win the presidency.
    “(…) anything approximating a double-digit defeat all but guarantees the House and Senate will go Democratic.”

    Donald Trump trailed Hillary Clinton on average by about 5 points prior to the leaked video of his sexually aggressive comments. Now, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll out on Monday, he trails by 14.
    It might not matter either way: No candidate in the modern era of polling has ever climbed back from more than 4 points behind over the final month of the campaign to win the presidency.
    Story Continued Below

    That is the reality Republicans are confronting as the party grapples with how to handle an embattled but defiant nominee who many fear could drag down the rest of the GOP ticket with him.
    Ronald Reagan was the last presidential nominee who managed a final-month comeback. But in 1980, when he surged past then-President Jimmy Carter, he was facing only a 4-point deficit in October.
    Prior to that, the only other candidate to win the election after trailing by a similar margin in October was then-President Harry Truman. In the final month of the 1948 election, Truman lagged then-New York Gov. Thomas Dewey by a mid-single-digit margin, according to Gallup’s polling at the time. (While Gallup is eschewing horse-race polling this year, it remains the gold standard for historical presidential polling.)

    2016 polling center

    Last Friday, before the video dropped, Clinton led Trump by 4.7 points in the RealClearPolitics average — though her margin in polls that also included Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein was smaller, 3.1 points.
    Public polling has been limited since then. A POLITICO/Morning Consult poll conducted on Saturday, the day after the bombshell news, gave Clinton a 4-point lead over Trump: 45 percent to 41 person in a head-to-head contest.
    The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll — conducted on Saturday and Sunday — found a more profound change. Clinton led by 11 points in an initial question including Johnson and Stein, and by 14 points when matched up against only Trump.
    That survey, conducted in the time between the Trump tape becoming public and Sunday night’s debate, took place during what could be a nadir for Trump’s campaign: a period in which more than two dozen GOP lawmakers and candidates abandoned the presidential nominee, and media chatter centered around whether the real estate mogul might actually be pressured to drop out of the race.
    Trump, for his part, is questioning the veracity of the polls. At both of his events in Pennsylvania on Monday, he referenced Britain’s referendum earlier this year to leave the European Union, which many viewed as an upset at the time, despite neck-and-neck polls.
    “This is like Brexit, folks,” Trump said Monday. “You watch.”

    Ryan abandons Trump
    By Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan
    But even before that poll, Trump was lagging among subgroups key to any possible resurgence: He has surrendered significant support among historically GOP-leaning groups, including female and college-educated white voters.
    Whether the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll proves to be an outlier at Trump’s lowest moment, the GOP nominee remains in a precarious position. At this point four years ago, President Barack Obama’s lead over Mitt Romney, on average, was only a point — and he won by 4 points. Obama had a larger lead over John McCain on this date in October 2008: about 7 points, just a shade under his margin of victory in November.
    George W. Bush opened up a lead as large as 4 points over John Kerry in October 2004. In 2000, Al Gore staged a fall comeback in the polls — eventually winning the popular vote by a narrow margin — but Bush won a majority of electoral votes.
    If the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll is overstating the direness of his predicament, it will be because Trump manages to bring back some of the Republican voters he yielded this past weekend. In the poll, Trump is winning only 72 percent of Republicans, compared with Clinton, who captures 85 percent of Democrats. Trump’s post-tape performance among self-identified Republicans puts him 21 points behind Romney’s pace in 2012, according to exit polls.
    But simply bringing back the Republican voters who drifted away this weekend won’t be enough, as the pre-tape polls indicate. He’ll also need to build on his numbers among women. If Trump does lose, the margin by which he falls matters a great deal to other Republican candidates on the ticket — anything approximating a double-digit defeat all but guarantees the House and Senate will go Democratic and Republicans in competitive races even further down ballot will be wiped out.

    Clinton team projects open confidence
    By Gabriel Debenedetti
    The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll gave Democrats a 7-point lead on the question of which party voters want to control Congress next year.
    It’s too early to know whether the damage to Trump will be lasting — especially since the post-tape polls thus far render a split decision on his standing relative to last week. Moreover, even the newest polls can’t gauge the impact of Sunday night’s second debate, if the rancorous clash moved the numbers at all.
    But as Trump and his shoestring campaign monitor the upcoming public polling that will set a baseline for the deficit he must overcome in the final four weeks, Republicans across the country will also be watching to see how significant a drag he could be on their electoral prospects as well.
    “Trump is in a weaker position” than the previous NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, Bill McInturff, the Republican pollster who co-produced the survey, told NBC News. “It also does not mean he can’t get these points back.”


    Trump is at war with the Republican representatives and he may win!
    TYT explains this perspective.


    Jill Stein on Hillary & Trump

    Short: 03:00 minutes

    Full: 60:00 minutes


    Election Update: Women Are Defeating Donald Trump

    A series of national polls released on Tuesday showed Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump by margins ranging from 5 to 11 percentage points — except for the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times tracking poll, which defiantly continues to show Trump up by 2 points. There isn’t yet enough data from after Sunday night’s debate to really gauge its impact, however. For that matter, the polls may not yet have fully caught up to the effects of the release on Friday of a 2005 videotape, which showed Trump making vulgar comments about women and condoning unwanted sexual conduct toward women. For the time being, Clinton’s lead is holding at about 6 percentage points in our polls-only model, which gives her an 84 percent chance of winning the White House. Clinton’s chances are 80 percent in our polls-plus forecast.

    But while we’re in something of a wait-and-see mode, one demographic split caught my eye. That was from a Public Religion Research Institute poll conducted on behalf of The Atlantic. It showed a massive gender split, with Clinton trailing Trump by 11 percentage points among men but leading him by 33 points among women. To put those numbers in perspective, that’s saying Trump would defeat Clinton among men by a margin similar to Dwight D. Eisenhower’s landslide victory over Adlai Stevenson in 1952, while Clinton would defeat Trump among women by a margin similar to … actually, there’s no good comparison, since no candidate has won a presidential election by more than 26 percentage points since the popular vote became a widespread means of voting in 1824. To get to 33 points, you’d have to take the Eisenhower-Stevenson margin and add Lyndon B. Johnson’s 23-point win over Barry Goldwater in 1964 on top of it.
    There’s quite a wide range — with live polls showing a notably wider gender spread than online and automated polls. But on average, Clinton leads Trump by 15 percentage points among women while trailing him by 5 points among men. How would that look on the electoral map?

    Here’s a quick way to estimate it. In the polls I cited above, Clinton is doing 10 points better among women than among the electorate overall.2 So we’ll add 10 points to her current polls-only margin in every state to forecast her performance if women were the only ones who could vote. In addition to the states where Clinton is already leading Trump, that would put her ahead in Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and the 2nd congressional districts in Maine and Nebraska. Clinton would win 458 electoral votes to just 80 for Trump:
    If men were the only voters, conversely, we’d have to subtract 10 points from Clinton’s current margin in every state — which would yield an awfully red map. Trump would win everything that could plausibly be called a swing state, with Clinton hanging on only to the West Coast, parts of the Northeast, Illinois and New Mexico. That would yield 350 electoral votes for Trump to 188 for Clinton:
    Of course, if the electoral franchise were really restricted only to men, our politics would look a lot different. And if it were restricted only to women, they’d look really, really different, perhaps with entirely different coalitions than the ones that prevail now.

    But it seems fair to say that, if Trump loses the election, it will be because women voted against him. I took a look at how men and women split their votes four years ago, according to polls conducted in November 2012. On average, Mitt Romney led President Obama by 7 percentage points among men, about the same as Trump’s 5-point lead among men now. But Romney held his own among women, losing them by 8 points, whereas they’re going against Trump by 15 points.
    That’s the difference between a close election — as you’ll remember, those national polls in late 2012 showed the race neck-and-neck3 — and one that’s starting to look like a blowout.



    “The system is corrupt and it’s rigged and it’s broken, and we’re going to change it,” (Qoute by Trump) – CNBC on Trump’s consistent poll numbers

    A Reality Check on Trump’s Poll Numbers
    Chuck Todd, Mark Murray and Carrie Dann
    Reality check on Trump’s poll numbers: They’ve been incredibly consistent

    Campaigning in Florida yesterday, Donald Trump declared that the poll numbers showing him trailing to Hillary Clinton are “rigged” against him. “The system is corrupt and it’s rigged and it’s broken, and we’re going to change it,” he said in St. Augustine, FL. But here’s a reality check on Trump’s poll numbers: They’ve been consistent over the past year. In addition to trailing Clinton by double digits or close to it in the national NBC/WSJ poll since Sept. 2015 (with the exceptions of May, June, and July of this year), Trump’s unfavorable numbers among key demographic groups have barely moved since Jan. 2016 in the NBC/WSJ poll:

    Women: THEN: 68%, NOW: 62%
    Latinos: THEN: 69%, NOW: 80%
    African Americans: THEN: 81%, NOW: 87%
    Those ages 18-34: THEN: 72%, NOW: 70%
    Independents: THEN: 52%, NOW: 61%
    Suburban voters: THEN: 55%, NOW: 59%

    More from NBC News:
    Trump cites police, military, ICE endorsements that didn’t happen
    No, the presidential election will not be the next ‘Brexit’ for pollsters
    Trump tells reporters to ‘ask Obama’ about rigged elections

    Folks, it is hard to win a presidential race — let alone lead in national polls — when six in 10 women, seven in 10 young voters, eight in 10 Latinos, and nearly nine in 10 African Americans have an unfavorable view of you, even against another unpopular opponent. As The Atlantic’s Ron Brownstein wrote back in January, before the Iowa and New Hampshire contests took place, “Republicans are growing comfortable with the prospect of Trump winning the party nomination, even as resistance to him is solidifying among the voters he would need to win the general election.” If the polls are rigged against Trump, they’ve been rigged for a year.


    “white youth aged 18–30, 35% said they support Clinton, compared to 21% who say they support Trump. That’s a significant change from the September survey, which found that support from young white people was evenly split between Clinton and Trump, at 27% each.”

    Two weeks away from the election, more young white people say they’ll vote for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump than ever before, according to a survey released today.

    The GenForward monthly survey found that among white youth aged 18–30, 35% said they support Clinton, compared to 21% who say they support Trump. That’s a significant change from the September survey, which found that support from young white people was evenly split between Clinton and Trump, at 27% each.

    Young white voters appear to be breaking with tradition: As The Washington Post wrote last month, young white voters tend to vote more in line with white people of all ages (so generally more conservative) than with other, non-white young people in their age group (who tend to vote more liberal).

    The survey, which included 1,832 young people aged 18–30, was conducted online and over the phone between October 1–14 by the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago and the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

    “In fact, this is the highest level of support among white youth for Hillary Clinton that we have recorded since our surveys were first in the field in June,” the report authors write. “The events of the past month appear to have shifted young white voters’ support for Hillary Clinton, with most of her gains coming at the expense of Donald Trump.”

    The events the authors are referring to include allegations of sexual harassment and assault leveled at Trump by several women, and one incident in which former Miss Universe Alicia Machado told reporters Trump called her “Miss Piggy” after she had gained weight. The survey found that 56% of young white people who said they were Trump supporters were less likely to vote for him after hearing about these comments and allegations.

    Clinton has the same level of support among young people (60%) that Barack Obama had before his re-election in 2012, the survey found. But her support base is less diverse than Obama’s was–and her support among Latinx youth (63%) is noticeably lower than the support she has from black (80%) and Asian American (74%) youth.

    “While Latino/a youth were central to the Obama coalition in 2008 and 2012, when 76% and 74% of Latino/a voters, respectively, voted for Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton is struggling to make in-roads with this critical group of young people,” the report authors write. “Latino/a Millennials simply do not support Hillary Clinton at the same rate as other youth of color.”


    The Investor’s Business Daily/TIPP tracking poll has Trump at 42.1 percent and Clinton at 39.7 percent.

    The poll with the best track record over the last three presidential elections gave Donald Trump a 2 percentage-point edge over Hillary Clinton on Saturday.

    The Investor’s Business Daily/TIPP tracking poll has Trump at 42.1 percent and Clinton at 39.7 percent.

    The IBD/TIPP survey, which includes 791 likely voters and carries a margin of error of 3.6 percentage points, was the most accurate predictor of the final results in the last three presidential elections — calling the outcomes within 0.9 percent of the actual tally in 2004, 2008 and 2012.

    Trump pounced on the poll results. “Great new poll this morning, thank you. Lets #DrainTheSwamp and #MakeAmer­icaGreatAgain!” he tweeted.

    Clinton has a 95 percent chance of winning, according to a Reuters/Ipsos electoral-vote analysis from last week.

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