Final Polls Wrong In Predicting Easy Clinton Victory

 

 

Donald Trump at GOP debate Aug. 6, 2015Trump projected as U.S. presidential winner, explodes pollsters' predictions with victories in Florida, North Carolina, major Midwestern states

Most final polls of the 2016 federal election campaign as of Nov. 8 predicted a victory by Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton over Republican Donald Trump.

Nov. 9Donald Trump for President logo

New York Times, Donald Trump Wins 3 Big Prizes: Florida, North Carolina and Ohio, Michael D Shear, Nov. 9, 2016. Donald Trump won Florida’s 29 electoral votes, one of the biggest prizes of the night. Donald J. Trump, who ran an improbable and often ugly campaign against the establishment, was holding on to small but significant leads in a series of key battleground states on Tuesday night, upending months of polling that had given the advantage to Hillary Clinton and raising Republican hopes of seizing back the White House.

Donald Trump and Mike Pence logoJust after 11:30 p.m, Mr. Trump was declared the victor in Florida, earning him the state’s 29 electoral votes and giving him a more certain grip on the presidential contest with Mrs. Clinton. Reaction to the prospect of a Trump presidency rippled across the globe, with financial markets abroad falling as American television networks raised the prospect that Mrs. Clinton might lose. Asian markets were trading sharply lower, down around two percentage points, and in the United States, Dow Jones futures were down as much as 600 points in after-hours trading.

USA Today, Trump wins battlegrounds Florida, Ohio, N.C.; Clinton hangs on, John Bacon, Nov. 9, 2016. Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump was the projected winner in the crucial battleground states of Florida, North Carolina and Ohio on Tuesday, widening an incredible but increasingly likely path to victory for the billionaire real-estate mogul and reality TV star. Democrat Hillary Clinton was clinging to faint hopes as the election of the nation's 45th president neared a frenzied conclusion.

By midnight, Trump had claimed more than 240 electoral votes to Clinton's 215. The magic number is 270, and swing states still too close to call include Pennsylvania (20), Michigan (16), Wisconsin (10) and New Hampshire (4). 

Trump’s strong early showing brought angst to world financial markets, with the Dow Jones industrial average falling as much as 500 points in after-hours trading. Brad McMillan, chief investment officer at Commonwealth Financial Network, said a Trump win would spark uncertainty and likely result in a steep fall in stock prices Wednesday.

Nov. 8

The non-partisan Justice Integrity Project has compiled poll results showing Democrats also are predicted to win a narrow advantage in the U.S. Senate. But polls (updated to Nov. 8) suggest Democrats will fail to gain control of the U.S. House, which state legislatures heavily gerrymandered for a decade after the 2010 census.

  • Princeton Election Consortium, Predictions as of November 6, Dr. Sam Wang, Nov. 8, 2016 (6:06 A.M. EST). Snapshot (191 state polls): Clinton 307, Trump 231 Electoral votes. Meta-margin: Clinton +2.2 percent. Clinton Nov. win probability: random drift, 99 percent. Senate snapshot (48 polls): Dem+Ind: 50, GOP: 50.
  • Real Clear Politics, Presidential Electoral Map Predictions (No Toss-ups), Staff report, Nov. 8, 2016. Clinton/Kaine: 272; Trump/Pence 266 Electoral Votes. (Assumes Trump wins in FL, IA, NC, NV, OH but not NH.)
  • Huffington Post, Forecast for President, Natalie Jackson and Adam Hooper, Nov. 8, 2016. Clinton: 98.2 percent; Trump: 1.5 percent. In the event of a tie, the newly elected House of Representatives will elect the president, and the newly elected Senate will elect the vice president. Percent of simulations where each party gains control of Senate: Dem: 66 percent tie: 24 percent.
  • 538.com, Who will win the presidency?  Nate Silver, Nov. 8, 2016. Hillary Clinton: 71.6 percent; Donald Trump: 28.4 percent. Electoral votes: Clinton 302, Trump 234.
  • Donald TrumpNew York Times, Who Will Be President? Josh Katz, Nov. 8, 2016. Hillary Clinton has an 84% chance to win. The Democrats have a 52 percent chance of winning the Senate. The Upshot’s elections model suggests that Hillary Clinton is favored to win the presidency, based on the latest state and national polls. A victory by Mr. Trump remains possible: Mrs. Clinton’s chance of losing is about the same as the probability that an N.F.L. kicker misses a 38-yard field goal.
  • University of Virginia Center for Politics, Our Final 2016 Picks: Clinton 322, Trump 216 EVs; 50-50 Senate; GOP holds House, Larry J. Sabato, Kyle Kondik, and Geoffrey Skelley, Nov. 7, 2016. Based on RealClearPolitics’ state-level polling data for 2004, 2008, and 2012, the candidate leading the most polls in a given state usually wins said state. In those three election cycles, there were just three cases where the candidate who led in a plurality of all polls taken from Sept. 1 to Election Day did not go on to win the state: Wisconsin in 2004, Indiana in 2008, and Florida in 2012.
  • Washington Post, Final Predictions, Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake, Nov.  8, 2016. Electoral votes: Clinton 275, Trump 215, with FL, NC, NH as tossups.

An appendix provides a sample of relevant recent news coverage and commentary.

 

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On Aug. 19, 2016, Trump supporter Michael Cohen persistently resisted CNN's Brianna Keilar's suggestion that Trump was losing in "the polls." The exchange briefly went viral but acquired new meaning in light of the November election results (28 secs.). 

 

Commentary on Polls (Reverse chronological order)

Nation, Victory Is Unprecedented — and Still Growing, John Nichols, Nov. 15, 2016. Her margin is now bigger than the winning margins for John Kennedy and Richard Nixon. Hilllary Clinton now leads the national popular vote for president by roughly one million votes, and her victory margin is expanding rapidly. That margin could easily double before the end of an arduous process of counting ballots, reviewing results and reconciling numbers for an official total.

Hillary Clinton ButtonBut one thing is certain: Clinton’s win is unprecedented in the modern history of American presidential politics. And the numbers should focus attention on the democratic dysfunction that has been exposed. When a candidate who wins the popular vote does not take office, when a loser is instead installed in the White House, that is an issue.

The nonpartisan Cook Political Report maintains one of the most frequently updated spreadsheets on the race. One week after the election, it had Clinton with 62,403,269 votes to 61,242,652 for Trump. That puts Clinton ahead by 1.16 million votes. Another able chronicler of the count, Dave Leip’s Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections, also puts Clinton ahead by more than one million votes.

Elite media outlets do not, for the most part, have an interest in vote counts and what they mean. Coverage of the 2016 election campaign confirmed the extent to which major media is more interested in personalities than facts on the ground. The television networks like to declare a “winner” and then get focused on the palace intrigues surround a transition of power. Those intrigues are worth covering. But perspective on the will of the people get lost.

Clinton is now winning roughly 47.8 percent of the vote, according to David Wasserman’s count for the Cook report. But the percentage that matters is Trump’s. The Republican nominee will become president with less popular support than a number of major-party candidates who lost races for the presidency. Trump is now at 47.0 percent of the popular vote, according to the Cook count.

Verified Voting, Why last week's election MUST be investigated -- NOW, Jonathan D. Simon, Nov. 13, 2016. Jonathan Simon, leader of the advocacy group Verified Voting and shown below, is also author of the 2015 book "Code Red," which was updated in 2016. As I did in 2004 and have done in every federal election since, on election night last week I downloaded the exit poll results as soon as the polls closed and results were posted. As you may know, those exit poll numbers later get changed to match the vote counts. So those initial poll results are crucial, and I have them.

Jonathan SimonMy comparison between the exit poll results and the announced votecounts is all too familiar: it shows a red shift in the Presidential race and in nearly every Senate race in states where exit polls were conducted. (We call a shift towards Republicans a "red shift," and a shift toward Democratic candidates a "blue shift." We are seeing very, very few blue shifts in this election, and none outside the polls' margin of error.)

This data calls into question whether or not Trump really won in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Florida, and Michigan. These six states have a total of 108 electoral votes. We’re told that Trump won the Presidency with 290 electoral votes over Clinton’s 228. If the exit poll findings are accurate, the numbers should show a Clinton electoral college landslide to go with her popular vote victory. We'd be looking at Trump with 182 electoral votes and Clinton with 336!

Jonathan SimonAs for the Senate, in three states – Missouri, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, the discrepancy is enough to indicate the wrong candidate may have been declared the winner. Reversal of these three elections would change the majority in the Senate from Republican to Democratic.

Whatever your political beliefs or party affiliation (or independent voter status), these results should concern you. If we expect to be able to change anything through the election process ever again, we cannot afford have an election system where votes are tallied in secret by computer software vulnerable to hacking from outsiders and rigging from insiders.

Exit polls are the best way we have – and are trusted throughout the world, even by the U.S. government in regards to elections elsewhere – to get an immediate indication of the likelihood of election fraud.

What can you do about it? Help more people get access to this information. Share these two blog posts of mine:

  • Exit Polls from November 8 Election Show Patterns Indicating Possible Electronic Election Rigging in Favor of Republicans
  • 19 Big Myths About Our Elections That the Government and Media Want You to Believe

Sign and circulate this petition from VerifiedVoting.org demanding an audit of the 2016 Presidential election: Encourage people who want to learn more to purchase CODE RED: Electronic Election Theft and the New American Century. An excerpt is available free at my website.

Straight.com, U.S. election-integrity advocates question legitimacy of Donald Trump's victory, Charlie Smith, Donald Trump's win has some people criticizing the honesty of U.S. presidential elections.
An Internet chat group called This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. has seen a lot of activity before and after the November 8 presidential election in the United States. The founder, University of Pennyslvania professor Steven F. Freeman, is a coauthor of Was the 2004 Presidential Election Stolen? This 2006 book examined various hypotheses why George W. Bush won even though his challenger, John Kerry, enjoyed a wide margin in polls of people immediately after they voted. For many readers, the inescapable conclusion was fraud.

Over the election-integrity chat group, Freeman recently reposted an intriguing message that had been sent to another skeptic about the honesty of U.S. presidential elections, Mark Crispin Miller. He's a New York University media-studies professor and author of Fooled Again: The Real Case for Election Reform, which argued that the 2000 and 2004 presidential races were stolen. Crispin Miller has been critical of U.S. filmmaker Michael Moore for not acknowledging the possibility that the 2016 U.S. presidential election might have been stolen.

In a November 11 article on his blog, Crispin Miller suggested that Moore misinterpreted the significance of 90,000 Michigan residents filling out complete ballots in the recent election without voting for a presidential candidate. "How likely was it, really, that 90,000 Michiganders would have gone to all that trouble, going out to vote, but NOT for president, just to make the point (i.e., Mike’s point) that they weren’t happy with their choices?" Crispon Miller wrote. "And just how likely was it in a state where, as Mike noted, TRUMP had so much strong support among the state’s white voters? Did 90,000 NON-white workers, and ex-workers, in that state all cast those undervotes to mount that protest — or were their ballots changed without their knowing it?"

The NYU professor wasn't done yet, writing this blistering paragraph:

"With millions disenfranchised, coast to coast, through purges of the electronic voter rolls, and voter caging, and voter ID requirements, and partisan interference by election officials, and the deliberate placement of too few machines in certain precincts, and volleys of disinformation on the times and places to go vote—and as the exit polls suggest widespread manipulation of the vote-counts throughout the swing states—why are we NOT hearing anything at all about it from Michael Moore, Noam Chomsky, Angela Davis, Gloria Steinem, Robert Reich, John Nichols or Paul Krugman, or Bruce Springsteen, Katy Perry, George Clooney, Beyonce, JZ, Sarah Silverman, Bill Maher, John Oliver, Stephen Colbert, RuPaul, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Madonna, and the cast of 'West Wing,' or Media Matters, the Center for American Progress, Mother Jones, Slate, Salon, DailyKos, RawStory, The Progressive, AlterNet, or any of the other leftist stars and outlets and non-profits that cast Hillary as our ONLY choice (while also staying mum about the vast election theft whereby she seized the nomination)."

In the meantime, Democratic Party politicians and their supporters are saying this is the time to move forward, organize, and hold Trump accountable when he becomes president. Crispin Miller, however, argued in his recent post that they should "finally face the fact that the United States is not a real democracy." Moreover, he urged them to join the election-integrity movement "to fight to make it one at last."

Associated Press, After poll failure, expert makes good on promise to eat bug, Staff report, Nov. 12, 2016. A Princeton University polling expert who said he would eat a bug if Donald Trump got more than 240 electoral votes has followed through on his promise. Sam Wang, of the Princeton Election Consortium, made good on his Twitter word on CNN Saturday. He ate from a can of gourmet-style crickets and added in some honey. Wang says on the consortium's website that polls failed, but that his analysis "amplified that failure."

Washington Post, ‘Prediction professor’ who called Trump’s big win also made another forecast: Trump will be impeached, Peter W. Stevenson, Nov. 11, 2016. Few prognosticators predicted a Donald Trump victory ahead of Tuesday night. Polls showed Hillary Clinton comfortably ahead, and much of America (chiefly the media) failed to anticipate the wave of pro-Trump support that propelled him to victory. But a Washington, D.C.-based professor insisted that Trump was lined up for a win — based on the idea that elections are “primarily a reflection on the performance of the party in power.”

Dr. Allan Lichtman America University History DepartmentAllan Lichtman (shown in a file photo) uses a historically based system of what he calls “keys” to predict election results ahead of time. The keys are explained in-depth in Lichtman’s book, Predicting the Next President: The Keys to the White House 2016. In our conversations in September and October, he outlined how President Obama's second term set the Democrats up for a tight race, and his keys tipped the balance in Trump's favor, even if just barely.

At the end of our September conversation, Lichtman made another call: that if elected, Trump would eventually be impeached by a Republican Congress that would prefer a President Mike Pence — someone whom establishment Republicans know and trust.

“I'm going to make another prediction,” he said. “This one is not based on a system; it's just my gut. They don't want Trump as president, because they can't control him. He's unpredictable. They'd love to have Pence — an absolutely down-the-line, conservative, controllable Republican. And I'm quite certain Trump will give someone grounds for impeachment, either by doing something that endangers national security or because it helps his pocketbook.”

TDMS Research, Comparing 2016 Exit Polls With Results, Theodore de Macedo Soares, Nov. 10, 2016.According to the exit polls conducted by Edison Research, Clinton won four key battleground states (NC, PA, WI, and FL) in the 2016 Presidential Election that she went on to lose in the computerized vote counts.  With these states Clinton wins the Electoral College with a count of 302 versus 205 for Trump.  Clinton also won the national exit poll by 3.2% and holds a narrow lead in the national vote count still in progress.

Exit polls were conducted in 28 states. In 23 states the discrepancies between the exit polls and the vote count favored Trump. In 13 of these states the discrepancies favoring Trump exceeded the margin of error of the state.

AP via Washington Post, What went wrong in this year’s presidential polls? Emily Swanson and Thomas Beaumont, Nov. 10, 2016. Donald Trump’s victory came as a surprise to many Americans, the nation’s pollsters most of all. For now, it’s impossible to know for certain what exactly went wrong for pollsters this year — and, as votes are still being counted, exactly how far off they were.
 
Washington Post, How much did polls miss the mark on Trump — and why? Scott Clement, Nov. 10, 2016. The vast majority of polls were close to the result — but they tended to miss in one direction. Survey researchers expressed varying levels of concern Wednesday about the significance of polling inaccuracies and theories on the causes.

“The final high quality scientific RDD landline/cell-phone national polls consistently overestimated Clinton’s share of the vote by 3 or 4 percentage points,” said Jon Krosnick in an email, a Professor of Political Science at Stanford University and widely respected expert on survey methods. “That’s a systematic error but not huge.”

An analysis of 145 polls nationally and in 16 states completed within one week of the election shows a number of interesting results. The magnitude of national and state survey errors was not far from historical levels, the more troublesome dynamic was that errors systematically overestimated Clinton’s vote margin against Trump, leading to parallel errors that did not catch a number of key states moving into Trump’s column.

Mike Pence

Republican Vice President-elect Mike Pence, the new chair of the Trump Transition Team, is at left. Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate Tim Kaine is shown at right

Huffington Post, Pollsters And Forecasters Had A Rough Night, Natalie Jackson and Ariel Edwards-Levy, Nov. 9, 2016. It’s time to figure out what went wrong. When Donald Trump won the Republican primary nomination, he did so against the predictions of many pundits, but in line with months of polling data. His win Tuesday, by contrast, represents a stunning upset, going against the vast majority of public polling and every major political forecast.

Although predictions of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s margins varied, few doubted she would win. Trump’s argument that he held a potent well of white supporters hidden from the polls, long mocked by pundits, turned out to be correct.

Of course, all of these individual polling misses mean that HuffPost Pollster’s forecasts for both the Senate and the presidency were wrong. It’s that simple ― the forecasts relied on the polls. One of us (Natalie) said a few times before the election that if the polls go down, our model is going down with them. It’s not just ours, though. Most forecast models had Clinton up and Democrats with a good chance of winning the Senate.

Huffington Post, Nate Silver Is Unskewing Polls — All Of Them — In Trump’s Direction, Ryan Grim, Updated Nov. 6, 2016. The vaunted 538 election forecaster is putting his thumb on the scales. During the 2012 election, Republicans who hated the daily onslaught of polling showing that Mitt Romney was headed toward a comfortable defeat turned to Dean Chambers, the man who launched the website Unskewed Polls. The poll numbers were wrong, he said, and by tweaking a few things, he could give a more accurate count. His final projection had Romney winning close to all 50 states.

Chambers has wisely abandoned the field of election forecasting, and this year says he thinks the various models predicting a Hillary Clinton victory are probably accurate. The models themselves are pretty confident. HuffPost Pollster is giving Clinton a 98 percent chance of winning, and the New York Times’ model at The Upshot puts her chances at 85 percent.

There is one outlier, however, that is causing waves of panic among Democrats around the country, and injecting Trump backers with the hope that their guy might pull this thing off after all. Nate Silver’s 538 model is giving Donald Trump a heart-stopping 35 percent chance of winning as of this weekend.

Tim Kaine official

538.com, Election Update: Why Our Model Is More Bullish Than Others On Trump, Nate Silver, Oct. 24, 2016. Statistical expert Nate Silver is a prominent analyst and predictor of political and sports outcomes. As I wrote last week, Hillary Clinton is probably going to become the next president. But there’s an awful lot of room to debate what “probably” means. FiveThirtyEight’s polls-only model puts Clinton’s chances at 85 percent, while our polls-plus model has her at 83 percent. Those odds have been pretty steady over the past week or two, although if you squint you can see the race tightening just the slightest bit, with Clinton’s popular vote lead at 6.2 percentage points as compared to 7.1 points a week earlier. Still, she wouldn’t seem to have a lot to complain about.

Other statistical models are yet more confident in Clinton, however, variously putting her chances at 92 percent to 99 percent. Maybe that doesn’t seem like a big difference, since people (wrongly) tend to perceive odds above 80 percent as sure things. But flip those numbers around, and instead of Clinton’s chances, consider Donald Trump’s. The New York Times’s Upshot model gives Trump an 8 percent chance of winning the election. Our models say a Trump presidency is about twice a likely as The Upshot does, putting his chances at 15 percent (polls-only) and 17 percent (polls-plus). And our models think Trump is about four times as likely to win the presidency as the Huffington Post Pollster model, which puts his chances at 4 percent.

So let me explain why our forecast is a bit more conservative than some of the others you might be seeing — and why you shouldn’t give up if you’re a Trump supporter, or assume you have it in the bag if you’re voting for Clinton.

 

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Recent Campaign Coverage, Commentary (Samples, In Reverse Chronological Order)

RealClearPolitics, Trump Makes Closing Argument In New Hampshire, James Arkin, Nov. 8, 2016. Donald Trump campaigned at a packed and raucous arena here Monday night, rallying the same supporters who gave him his first political victory in the primary nine months ago, setting him on the path that ends Tuesday night with either a come-from-behind victory, or a third consecutive Republican presidential defeat that would leave the party's future in question.

It wasn’t Trump’s final event of the 2016 campaign -- he jetted off for a midnight rally in Grand Rapids, Mich., a state where he has consistently trailed in polls but claims he can win. In New Hampshire, Trump is in a dead heat with Clinton. The Granite State could provide her a critical Electoral College buffer in a tight election, or could give him a slight boost as he searches for a path to 270 Electoral College votes.

Washington Post, How the stampede for big money enabled Trump’s rise, Matea Gold, Nov. 8, 2016. The pursuit of mega-donors drew early front-runners in both parties away from the campaign trail, leaving them vulnerable to the fiercely populist mood gripping voters — and to a candidate on the GOP side, Donald Trump, uniquely positioned to harness that anger.

The hunt for big dollars began in January 2015 outside Palm Springs, Calif., at a luxury hillside resort with sweeping views of the sprawling desert floor. There, the emerging crop of Republican presidential candidates jockeyed to impress the millionaires and billionaires who make up the Koch political network. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas jetted in from a forum in Iowa, joined by Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.

Washington Post, Officials brace for chaotic day of voting, William Wan and Sari Horwitz, Nov. 7, 2016. Long lines, voter intimidation among top concerns. As the historically bitter presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump nears its end, election monitors are especially worried about the specter of voter intimidation after calls by the Republican nominee for his supporters to stake out polling places and watch for fraud.

President Obama meets 12-year-old expelled from Trump rally (Facebook photo)

TPM, Obama Meets 12-Year-Old With Cerebral Palsy Who Was Kicked Out Of Trump Rally, Allegra Kirkland, Nov. 7, 2016. One day after he was removed from a Donald Trump rally, a 12-year-old boy who has cerebral palsy met with the president. (Photo above via Facebook.) J.J. Holmes and his mother, Alison, stopped by a Saturday Trump event in Tampa to protest the Republican nominee’s treatment of the disabled. After chanting Hillary Clinton’s name, Trump ordered them out of the rally and his supporters turned on them.

“The crowd started chanting 'U-S-A' and pushing his wheelchair,” Alison Holmes told the Washington Post. “We were put out by security. Mr. Trump kept saying, 'Get them out.' "

“I hate Donald Trump,” J.J. piped up, speaking through a computer vocalization device. A woman who witnessed the incident asked for help in arranging a meeting between J.J. and President Barack Obama, who stumped for Clinton Sunday in nearby Kissimmee.

Huffington Post, America’s First Major Party Female Nominee And Only Black President Rally Voters At Nation’s Birthplace, Ryan J. Reilly and Jeffrey Young, Nov. 7, 2016. The Founding Fathers would be stunned to see what happened outside Independence Hall in Philadelphia on Monday night.

Washington Post, ‘Something is happening that is amazing, Trump said. He was right,’ Jenna Johnson, Nov. 7, 2016. Over more than 170 rallies, the GOP nominee’s supporters explain why he’s their guy. I followed Trump to more than 170 rallies in 35 states and talked with thousands of his supporters. The first question I usually asked: Why do you like him?

Donald Trump Gage Skidmore photo CPAC conventionThe answers were nearly always the same: He’s saying what I’m saying, thinking, feeling or wanting to hear. He’s not a politician and not part of a corrupt system. He’s honest and speaks his mind, even if it gets him in trouble. And he’s tough.

Plus, Trump (shown in a Gage Skidmore photo) told his supporters that it was okay to blame their financial problems on undocumented immigrants and the Chinese, that it was okay to be fearful of Muslims and those who don’t speak English, that it was okay to punch back at Black Lives Matter activists, that it was okay to hate Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Rolling Stone, Donald Trump Cannot Be President of the United States, Jesse Berney, Nov. 7, 2016. The time has come for voters to decide what it truly means to be an American. You cannot vote for Donald Trump and pretend that this is just another election, and he is just another candidate.

The "grab 'em by the pussy" moment was disastrous for Trump's campaign; it reinforced the defining narrative of his sexism. But it drew his strongest supporters even closer to him, because it reminded them of the world they're losing. They want to live in an America where they can grab women by the pussy and brag about it to their friends. They want to casually use the n-word – just for the bad ones; they're not racist! – without being set upon by the PC police. They want what's coming to them, what's owed them.

And they are willing to burn down the world to get it.

Donald TrumpDonald Trump is the worst major-party candidate for president in American history. This is not a close call. By virtually any measure, he is unfit to lead a Cub Scout troop, let alone the nation with the world's most powerful military.

It's worth going back and reading the transcripts of his debates with Hillary Clinton just to remember how he speaks when he's answering questions off the cuff. It's breathtaking how incapable he is of forming a single coherent thought. The expectations for him were so low that there was little to no coverage of his failure over four-and-a-half hours to say anything intelligent about any issue important to the American people. He meanders, he interrupts, and he whines. He is uninformed and unprepared.

Now is the moment for every last American to decide what it truly means to be a citizen. You can be reluctant about Hillary Clinton. You don't even have to vote for her (though I did, without doubt or hesitation). What you cannot do is vote for Donald Trump and pretend that this is just another election, and he is just another candidate. It is your minimum duty as a citizen not to support a racist, sexist, unqualified, dishonest, corrupt manchild who celebrates everything that's ugly about America and not a single thing that's great about it.

No matter how left out or left behind you feel, voting for Trump is nothing short of a moral failure. It's a vicious act against the human beings, mostly women and people of color, who would suffer miserably under his presidency. It's an act of violence against America itself, whose greatness has always been about progressing from more oppression to less – slowly, sometimes haltingly, but forward.

Daily Beast, The Flat-Earth Set Helped Donald Trump Hijack the GOP and Crash It Into the Ground, Stuart Stevens, Nov. 7, 2016. His candidacy, aimed at an electorate that no longer exists, is a classic example of losing five bucks on every sale and trying to make it up in volume.

Republican presidential candidates, from left, John Kasich, Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and Rand Paul take the stage during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Venetian Hotel & Casino on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Washington Post, In Pennsylvania, Trump’s call for radical change is cheered and feared, Robert Costa, Nov. 6, 2016. Donald Trump’s chances Tuesday are likely to hinge on whether there are enough voters in states like Pennsylvania, which last sided with a Republican in 1988 and where Trump has poured energy, who are willing to abandon their usual voting patterns in favor of disruption.

Huffington Post, Anti-Hate Group Condemns Donald Trump’s Closing Ad, Elise Foley, Nov. 6, 2016. “This needs to stop.” The new ad from Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump ― which warns of evil global elites and uses three Jewish people as examples ― adopts the language of anti-Semites, the head of the Anti-Defamation League said on Sunday.

“Whether intentional or not, the images and rhetoric in this ad touch on subjects that anti-Semites have used for ages,” Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said in a statement. “This needs to stop.” He added that with tensions “extremely high” as the election nears, “all candidates need to be especially responsible and bid for votes by offering sincere ideas and policy proposals, not by conjuring painful stereotypes and baseless conspiracy theories.”

Trump released the ad on Friday as a closing statement to the campaign. It features the same type of fear-based rhetoric that has dominated his campaign, including mention of establishment figures “that don’t have your good in mind.” As examples, the ad features images of progressive billionaire George Soros, Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen and Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein. All of them are Jewish.

Huffington Post, Good News For Clinton In Pennsylvania: SEPTA Strike Ends Ahead Of Election, Dave Jamieson, Nov. 7, 2016. There should be no problems getting to the polls in Philly on Tuesday. Philadelphia’s transit system resolved a labor dispute with its workers’ union on Monday, ending a major strike that threatened to carry into Election Day.

A New and Ancient Story, This Is How War Begins, Charles Eisenstein, Nov. 6, 2016.  "Disgusting, twisted human beings." Anyone who reads Facebook or pretty much any political website is sure to see comments like these that dehumanize not only the opposing candidate, but the candidate's supporters too. This polarization and vitriol, unprecedented in my lifetime, has me more concerned than the prospect of an evil candidate winning. It is as if what is really going on here is a preparation for civil war.

Dehumanization is a predecessor of war. When you see your opponents as subhuman in their morals, conscience, or intelligence, then you will have to defeat them by force. Moral or rational persuasion won't do it. That is what the above-quoted comments imply.

The dehumanization runs top to bottom, from the headlines in major news outlets to the comments on Facebook and Twitter. Photos of political candidates chosen to provoke contempt, statements taken deliberately out of context...the no-holds-barred tactics of war. Both sides feature the most outrageous comments made by partisans of the other side, seeking to indict all of them through guilt by association. Similar to the atrocity stories used to whip up war hysteria among a pacifist public before World War One, these reports polarize the electorate and sow paranoia and distrust.

What can you do about it? I suggest the following: see to it that you imbue everything that you post to social media, every comment, every reply, with a spirit of compassion and respect. Do not let your pain erupt forth as an implicit call to hatred. Do not beat the drums of war.

Washington Post, Candidates spend final days in tug of war over key states, John Wagner, Sean Sullivan and Abby Phillip, Nov. 5, 2016. Donald Trump is banking on a late-hour attempt to win at least one blue-leaning state while Hillary Clinton is trying to keep her lead as the polls tighten in the race’s closing days.
  

Donald and Melania Trump

Donald and Melania Trump (File photo)

Washington Post, Report: Melania Trump worked in U.S. without proper permit, Rosalind S. Helderman and Mary Jordan, Nov. 5, 2016. Ledgers from the modeling agency of the GOP nominee's wife indicate that she was paid more than $20,000 before she was authorized to work in the U.S.

Democratic Debate 12-19-15Political Wire, Elector Says He Won’t Vote for Clinton, Taegan Goddard, Nov. 5, 2016. “A Democratic elector in Washington state said Friday he won’t vote for Hillary Clinton even if she wins the popular vote in his state on Election Day, adding a degree of suspense when the Electoral College affirms the election results next month,” the AP reports. There’s nothing in the Constitution that says the electors are required to vote for a particular candidate, but some states have penalties for so-called “faithless electors.”

BBC (British Broadcasting Corp.) via YouTube, The Conspiracy Files: The Trump Dossier, Nov. 3, 2016 (59:28 min. documentary). Narrated by Carolyn Catz; Filmed, Produced and Directed by John O'Kane; and  Producer (American footage) Ceri Ishfryn. A BBC team, O'Kane and Ishfryn, traveled the United States to document "conspiracy theories" involving presidential candidates either as advocates or as alleged perpetrators. Aside from candidates, among those voicing opinions were commentators Roger Stone, Ann Coulter, Dick Morris, Nancy Soderberg, and Wayne Madsen. The producers began their United States-based research with a background interview with the Justice Integrity Project in Washington, DC.

Donald Trump for President logoWashington Post, Trump is refusing to pay his campaign pollster $767,000, Matea Gold, Oct. 31, 2016. The Republican candidate appears to have taken issue with some of the services provided by veteran GOP strategist Tony Fabrizio, who has advised candidates from 1996 GOP nominee Bob Dole to Florida Gov. Rick Scott.

Washington Post, CNN drops Donna Brazile over WikiLeaks revelations, Paul Farhi​, Oct. 31, 2016. The network cut ties with the DNC chair and commentator after hacked emails revealed she sent debate questions to the Clinton campaign.

National Press Club, Silicon Valley's Peter Thiel defends funding lawsuit against Gawker, support of Trump, Angela Greiling Keane, Oct. 31, 2016. Venture capitalist and entrepreneur Peter Thiel told a packed National Press Club audience Oct. 31 that his only regret about funding a lawsuit against Gawker Media is that he wasn’t more transparent about being the person with the deep pockets financing the suit.

Peter Thiel Noel St. John Oct. 31, 2016Thiel's comments about the highly publicized suit, which led to the website's bankruptcy, came at a Speakers newsmaker event where he also defended his controversial support for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

That position has garnered criticism from Thiel’s Silicon Valley counterparts. Thiel, a cofounder of PayPal (and shown in a Noel St. John photo), characterized Trump as a candidate of change whom he supports even as he criticized the nominee’s comments on women. He said the timing of his announcement of his contributions to support Trump’s campaign was coincidental to the fact that it came just days after a raw tape of Trump talking graphically about women was released.

"Voters are tired of being lied to," Thiel said. "It was both insane and somehow inevitable that D.C. insiders expected this election to be a rerun between the two political dynasties who led us through the two most gigantic financial bubbles of our time." Thiel’s appearance at the Club was the first time he’s spoken at length and taken questions about his donations to support the Trump campaign. He spoke in July at the Republican National Convention to endorse the candidate.

 

Sean Stone, Tyrel Ventura, Tabetha Wallace

"Watching the Hawks" co-host Sean Stone, shown at right above, interviewed Justice Integrity Project Editor Andrew Kreig about current relevance of Kreig's book "Presidential Puppetry" regarding Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on a taped edition of the show cablecast Oct. 31, 2016.

In the segment, Kreig made the "strong" circumstantial case that both candidates were compromised if not controlled by powerful and secretive financial interests, with the CIA playing a role in the Clinton family ascendancy and the mob in Trump's. In the photo above with Stone are his co-hosts Tabetha Wallace and Tyrel Ventura. The 12-minute RT interview segment can be seen on reruns and via YouTube.

Interview Part I; Interview Part II

Presidential Puppetry by Andrew Kreig

Tomorrow Woman, Trump vs. Hillary: Who Are Celebs Voting For? Jon Hartley, Oct. 31, 2016. The nation is set to hit the polls on November 8th. Here’s a rundown of who celebs plan on casting their vote for on election day.

  • Monica LewinskyTom Brady: Trump. Brady recently returned to the field for the New England Patriots following a four-game suspension. He counts Trump among his friends and plans on voting for the Republican candidate.
  • Monica Lewinsky: Hillary. This one may come as a surprise, but Lewinsky (shown in a file photo) will vote for Clinton despite her rocky history with Hillary’s husband, Bill. She sees Trump as a bully and says that as an anti-bullying advocate, she can’t support him.

Huffington Post, Video Shows Donald Trump Sexually Humiliating Woman Before Large Audience, He decided to take revenge on another former Miss Universe, Ryan Grim, Oct. 28, 2016. Revenge has been a fixture of Donald Trump’s corporate speeches for years. It almost always comes up as he offers advice to his audience on how to succeed in business, and usually includes a Rosie O’Donnell anecdote.

But at one speech in Sydney in October 2011, he decided to give the audience a live example of what revenge looks like by calling a woman he felt had slighted him onstage and sexually humiliating her in front of thousands of onlookers.

Remarkably, Trump telegraphs precisely what he is about to do. “Get even with people. If they screw you, screw them back 10 times as hard. I really believe that,” he begins, receiving a round of applause and cheers.

“I’ll give you an example: Jennifer Hawkins. Where’s Jennifer? Where’s she sitting? Get over here, Jennifer,” Trump says, referring to the 2004 Miss Universe winner, who is Australian. “First of all, how beautiful is Jennifer? This is about getting even.”

Trump then explains why he needs to “get even” with Hawkins, whom he accuses of declining to introduce him at the event. “I was so angry at her yesterday. Seriously, as I said, I thought that she dissed me. I thought that my Jennifer ― I’m going around saying she’s my favorite Miss Universe, but I think I like the new one better, Jennifer. So I go around saying she’s the greatest ... then when I came here, there was no Jennifer Hawkins to introduce me.”

Huffington Post, Trump Calls Black Supporter ‘Thug, Throws Him Out Of Rally,’ Daniel Marans, Oct. 28, 2016. Donald Trump ejected a black man waving a note at him at a North Carolina rally after accusing him of being a “thug” hired by Democrats to disrupt the event. But C.J. Cary, the man who was thrown out, claims he is a Trump supporter and was merely trying to deliver a message to the candidate to mend ties with some key demographic groups the GOP presidential nominee has offended.

Donald Trump button open mouthAt the Wednesday campaign rally in the town of Kinston, Cary stood a few dozen feet from the stage trying to get Trump’s attention by waving a note and yelling “Donald,” the Raleigh News & Observer reported. Trump assumed Cary was a disruptive protester. “Were you paid $1,500 to be a thug?” Trump asked Cary, according to the Observer. The real estate mogul then asked security to remove him.

The News & Observer’s Bryan Anderson, who was at the rally on Wednesday and reported on Friday that Cary is a Trump supporter, told the Huffington Post he initially thought the man was a protester as well. In a tweet from the rally, Anderson simply referred to him as a “protester.”

Shortly after the rally, however, Cary contacted Anderson to tell him his story. Cary, an ex-Marine and resident of Nash County, not far from where Kinston is located, told the reporter that he plans to vote for Trump. He merely wanted to offer his advice that the candidate should treat certain groups of Americans with more respect. He singled out African-Americans, women, college students and people with disabilities as constituencies that deserved better treatment from the GOP nominee.

 

FBI's Announcement (Reverse Chronological Order)

Huffington Post, Trump Says The FBI Clearing Clinton Is More Proof The System Is ‘Rigged,’ Marina Fang, Nov. 7, 2016 (updated from previous day). “You can’t review 650,000 new emails in eight days. You Donald Trump and Mike Pence logocan’t do it, folks.” Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Sunday blasted FBI director James Comey’s announcement that Hillary Clinton will face no charges in connection with newly discovered emails the bureau has been reviewing. Trump said Comey’s decision is proof that things in Washington are “rigged” in Clinton’s favor. “Right now, she is being protected by a rigged system. It’s a totally rigged system,” Trump told supporters in Michigan.

Donald Trump button open mouthTrump, who has seized upon Clinton’s email scandal to argue that she is corrupt and unqualified to be president, said Comey’s announcement is evidence that the system is “rigged” against him. “Hillary Clinton is guilty. She knows it, the FBI knows it, the people know it,” he said. “And now it is up to the American people to deliver justice at the ballot box on November 8.”

“It’s unbelievable, unbelievable what she gets away with,” he added. “We don’t want it taken away from us,” Trump later said of the election. “We don’t want it taken away.” Trump surrogates also criticized Comey, claiming that the agency could not have reviewed the full number of emails in so short a time. GOP leaders, meanwhile, used the news to continue to attack Clinton.

Republicans have also threatened that if Clinton is elected president, she will continue to face investigations into the scandal. “Hillary Clinton is the most corrupt person ever to seek the office of the presidency of the United States,” Trump said on Sunday. “The investigations into her crimes will go on for a long, long time.”

Huffington Post, Edward Snowden Shows Just How Fast The FBI Could Read Hillary Clinton’s Emails, Ed Mazza, Nov. 7, 2016 (updated from previous day). “Old laptops could do it in minutes-to-hours.” Minutes after FBI Director James Comey’s announcement on Sunday that Hillary Clinton won’t face charges over recently uncovered emails, supporters of Donald Trump broke out the conspiracy theories. Leaving aside the false assumption that just one agent would have to read all of the emails found on former Congressman Anthony Weiner’s laptop, it turns out “machines” are a lot smarter than Flynn seems to think.

Reports indicated that nearly every email on the laptop was a duplicate of messages the agency had already examined ― something NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden said the FBI would’ve been able to figure out within hours. In response to a question from Jeff Jarvis, professor and director of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism, Snowden explained how to sort the duplicates. If Snowden is correct, the real question isn’t why the examination of the emails was over so quickly, it’s why it took so long to clear up the mess Comey made with his Oct. 28 letter to Congress.

James Comey FBI file photo

Washington Post, FBI Director Comey says agency won’t recommend charges over Clinton email, Tom Hamburger and Rosalind S. Helderman, Nov. 6, 2016. FBI Director James B. Comey notified key members of Congress Sunday afternoon that after reviewing all of the newly discovered Hillary Clinton emails the agency stands by its original findings against recommending charges.

Comey, shown in a file photo, wrote that investigators had worked “around the clock” to review all the emails found on a device used by former congressman Anthony Weiner that had been sent to or from Clinton and that “we have not changed our conclusions expressed in July.” The conclusion from Comey provided one last twist to the 2016 presidential campaign and came just two days before Clinton will face Republican Donald Trump on Election Day.

 

Rudy Giuliani

Washington Post, Rudy Giuliani is claiming to have insider FBI knowledge. Does he really? Matt Zapotosky, Nov. 4, 2016. Rudy Giuliani (shown above) told Fox News’s Martha MacCallum on Oct. 26 that Donald Trump had “a surprise or two that you’re going to hear about in the next two days.”

FBI logo“I’m talking about some pretty big surprise,” he said. Two days later, FBI Director James Comey revealed to Congress that his agents had resumed their investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, after agents in an unrelated case discovered emails that could potentially be relevant to the server case.

Giuliani is a former U.S. attorney and New York mayor whose former law firm represents the FBI Agents Association, as the Daily Beast points out. But does he have inside sources at the bureau who might have given him a heads-up about what was to come?

MSNBC / Rachel Maddow Show, Possibility of FBI leaks to Trump campaign raises alarm, Nov. 3, 2016. Spencer Ackerman, national security editor for The Guardian, talks with Rachel Maddow about concerns about connections between the Donald Trump campaign and the FBI, particularly the New York field office, and the apparent willingness of some in the FBI to politicize the bureau to help Trump. Maddow introduces the segment by describing how financier Robert Mercer is Donald Trump's biggest donor, as well as the former boss of his campaign CEO Stephan Bannon, Campaign Manager Kellyanne Conway and Deputy Campaign Manager David Bossie.

AOL, Hillary fires back at heckler who shouted 'Bill Clinton is a Rapist' at rally: 'I'm sick and tired,' Inside edition staff, Nov. 2, 2016 (video). Hillary Clinton shot back at a heckler in the crowd during a Florida rally Hillary Clinton Buttonwho shouted that her husband, Bill, was a rapist Tuesday night. "I am sick and tired of the negative, dark, divisive, dangerous vision and the anger of people who support Donald Trump," Clinton said as she pointed a finger at the protester.

The heckler began shouting: "Bill Clinton is a rapist" at the top of the Democratic presidential candidate's 20-minute speech. The heckler also held a sign with the phrase written on it. "We're not going backwards, we're going forward into a brighter future," Clinton said as the crowd began to chant "Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!" Clinton's security detail quickly removed the heckler from the audience.

Washington Post, Democrats demand swift answers after news of a renewed FBI inquiry, Anne Gearan, Jenna Johnson and John Wagner, Oct. 31, 2016.​ Senators have asked for an answer by the end of the day about what FBI Director James Comey is looking for and why — after ending the email investigation without charges in July — he chose to renew it less than two weeks before Election Day.

OpEdNews, What is Comey Up To? Who is he working for?  Michael Collins (shown at right), Oct. 31, 2016. The 1939 Hatch Act bars Federal employees from a broad range of political activities. Richard Painter, a former lawyer in the Bush White House Counsel's office, filed a formal complaint against FBI Director Comey for violating that act.

If Comey acted on his own without any outside inducements or threats, we should all pause and say a short prayer for Michael Collinshim. In that scenario, he is an utter fool, playing in a league way above his skill set, and doing great and memorable damage to the political process.

But, Comey is no fool. I wrote favorably about his willingness to stand up to the Bush White House in 2007, Comey's Evidence of a Crime. Then, he seemed to have a quality not often seen in government or corporate environments — la willingness to "stand up to the boss." That may have been true at the time.

Today, however, Comey seems unable to decide who his boss is. He clearly caved in to the administration and the Clinton interests when he failed to indict Hillary Clinton for even a misdemeanor for her many violations of national security policies. Now, he's caving into the interests of the Republicans and the repellent Trump campaign.

The key question is who got to Comey and how?

We know that both Clinton and Trump are unfit for the presidency or any other elected or appointed office in the United States. However, we need to know who has the type of power and force to make the FBI Director behave like a fool.

Slate via Yale Law School, Comey Is a Constitutional Lightweight, and Donald Trump Remains the Only Scandal Worth Talking About, Prof. Akhil Reed Amar (Constitutional law scholar at Yale Law School), Oct. 30, 2016. Together they’re trashing not just Hillary Clinton but the rule of law.

With their usual double standards, false equivalences, and misdirected hype and hyperventilation, most pundits and politicos have missed the constitutional scandal staring us in the face this weekend. The real news is that one of the two people within realistic reach of supreme power has shown—once again and with fresh smoking-gun evidence—profound contempt for the rule of law and gross unfitness for America’s highest position of honor and trust. That person is not Hillary Clinton but Donald Trump. The only principal here who seems more disastrously unaware of the constitutional issues in question is the man who set this latest tarantella in motion, FBI Director James Comey.

The real news about Clinton is that there is no news. We know nothing new; all we have is speculation about what might or might not be in the emails found on a computer that was never in Clinton’s possession. Simply because Comey has made an enigmatic statement, the press now has license to spin more breathless commentary, with no new facts. True, we now perhaps know a bit more about what we don’t know. But for any serious journalist or would-be voter, the real story today and every day should be that we still know almost nothing about Trump’s tax returns — even though detailed tax information has always been made available by presidential candidates in the modern era and is especially important in Trump’s case given that his main claim to competence is his business acumen.

Now is not the right time for President Obama to sanction or sack Comey — there is still much that we do not know about what Comey did and why, and presidents should not rush to judgment. But Comey is removable at will by the president, and not merely because a 1976 statute allows removal. The more basic point is that the Constitution requires that the president be in charge of his own branch, and the FBI is ultimately part of the executive branch. This is a core constitutional principle, brilliantly expounded by the late Justice Antonin Scalia in his most celebrated judicial opinion, in the 1988 case Morrison v. Olson.

Clinton may never become president, and if she falls short, the constitutional cluelessness and moral fecklessness of the many journalists and pundits this weekend will be part of the story told, with chagrin, by future historians. Over the past few days, Trump, once again, has outrageously gotten a pass — actually, a good grade — from various commentators, who have thus far failed to call out fresh smears that betoken tyranny and the breakdown of the rule of law.

Washington Post, Computer seized in Weiner probe prompts FBI to take new steps in Clinton email inquiry, Rosalind S. Helderman, Matt Zapotosky and Sari Horwitz, Oct. 28, 2016. Clinton urges FBI to explain renewed email inquiry ‘without delay.’ Newly discovered emails found on a computer used by former congressman Anthony Weiner and his wife, top Clinton aide Huma Abedin, have prompted the agency to make new inquiries related to Hillary Clinton’s private email server. The surprise announcement, less than two weeks before the election, could reshape a race that the Democratic nominee has been leading in most public polls.