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Ten Weeks Out: The Presidential Race Tightens A Bit, But Clinton Still Leads

Trump Clinton

The past week of Presidential campaigning has been dominated most notably by some very obvious confusion on the part of the Trump campaign regarding what their candidate’s position on immigration reform should be going forward into the fall. Given the fact that immigration has been the central issue of the Trump campaign since he entered the race in June 2015, this is obviously somewhat confusing to those of us paying attention since one would assume that it would be the one area where the candidate and the campaign were on the same page and the policy positions had been made clear long ago. For Trump, those policy positions were the construction of a border wall that Mexico would pay for, unspecified restrictions on legal immigration such as limiting the number of H1-B and similar “work” visas that allow people from foreign countries to work in the United States provided there’s a demonstrably need for them and proof that employees have been unable to fulfill those needs from among the domestic work force, and the deportation of the estimated 11 million people in the nation illegally, possibly by use of a so-called “deportation force” if necessary. Last week, though, the Trump campaign flip-flopped back and forth between an apparent softening of that last position that would not require illegal aliens to leave the country to a restatement of the candidate’s previous position that no illegal immigrant could obtain legal status without first leaving the country. As things stand now, the candidate is set to deliver a major immigration policy speech in Arizona tomorrow, so we’ll either get a restatement of past positions or something entirely different. On the Clinton side of the ledger, the candidate continues to deal with issues surrounding donations to the Clinton Foundation and her use of a private email server, but otherwise had a somewhat quiet week that included a long fundraising stint on the West Coast that reportedly raked in a large amount of money. Additionally, toward the end of the week Clinton unloaded on Trump and his ties to the extremist and racist political movement that describes itself as the “alt-right” in a speech that could have an impact down the road if her campaign keeps up the attacks. It was, in other words, a relatively quiet week for both campaigns made notable by the fact that Donald Trump failed to actually stick his foot in his mouth, which I suppose is somewhat of an accomplishment.

On the polling side, there hasn’t been that much of a change over the past seven days at either the national or the state level, at least not anything that would suggest a major change in the status of the race.

Looking first at the national polls, we see that Hillary Clinton continues to lead Donald Trump quite comfortably, although there has been some tightening since last week. In a two way race, RealClearPolitics shows Clinton with at 46.7% to Trump’s 41.7%, giving her a five point lead in the poll average. That constitutes a drop of one-half a point since last week and reflects the fact that we’ve seen Clinton’s lead in the national polling that has been released over the past week narrow somewhat, although not in what could fairly be called to a statistically significant degree. The change is even smaller in the four-way race that features both Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein. In that race, Clinton is averaging 42, 2% to Donald Trump’s 38.0%, which is slightly higher than they stood last week, while Johnson has slipped down to an 7.8% average and Stein to an average of 3.2%. This gives Clinton an average lead in a four-way race of 4.3 points. The situation is roughly the same in the Pollster two-way and three-way polls. In other words, there’s been very little significant movement in the national polls, as this chart of the two-way race shows us:

 

RCP Two Way Chart 82916

The stability of the race is even more apparent in the four-way race:

 

RCP Four Way Chart 82916

There has also been somewhat of a tightening at the state level, with polls in several battleground states showing a somewhat closer race than they did at the beginning of the month. The big difference between 2016 and 2012, though, is what states are considered battlegrounds. At the moment, states that were battlegrounds in 2012 and 2008, such as Virginia, appear to be out of reach for the Trump campaign, while traditionally red states such as North Carolina, Georgia, Missouri, and Arizona seem as though they might be vulnerable to a Democratic pick-up in November, something that would essentially be a disaster for Republican hopes to take back the White House. Meanwhile, the polls continue to show that the Trump campaign’s to forge an alternate path for victory through the industrial Midwest continues to largely be a dream, with Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania all firmly in the Democratic camp, and Hillary Clinton leading by 3.8 points in the two-way race, and 3.2 points in the four-way race in Ohio. Clinton also has a 2.7 point lead in Florida in the head-to-head race, and a 3.6 point lead in a four-way race. These numbers come on the eve of Trump’s first major ad buy of the campaign season, which will focus on many of these states, so we’ll get a chance over the next couple weeks to see if he’s able to move the needle in any significant respect. As things stand now, though, there’s very little change in the races as the state level as measured by the RealClearPolitics Electoral Map, which shows Clinton leading in enough states to give her 272 Electoral Votes, Donald Trump leading in enough states to give him 154 Electoral Votes, and some 112 Electoral Votes classified as Toss-ups due to the margin between the candidates in eight states being too close to give to one candidate or the other. Without tossups, Clinton leads with 362 Electoral Votes to Donald Trump’s 176 Electoral Votes, which would make the outcome of the 2016 race most resembling the outcome of the 2008 race between Barack Obama and John McCain. These are the same numbers we saw in the maps I posted last week, which shouldn’t be a surprise since there were no major changes at the state level and state level polling tends to move slower than national polling in any case.

Expanding the review to look at other projections, Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight projection models show Clinton as the favorite in each of the models that site uses. The polls-only forecast projects a 78.5% likelihood of a Clinton victory and a 21. 4% chance of a Republican victory, for example, while the ‘Polls-Plus’ forecast gives Clinton a 73.6% chance of winning versus 26.4% for Donald Trump and the “Now-cast,” which purports to project would happen if the election were held today, showing a 77. 2% chance of a Clinton victory and a 22.8% chance of a Trump victory. Sam Wang’s projection, meanwhile, foresees Clinton  ending Election Nigh with 341 Electoral Votes, leaving Trump with 197 Electoral Votes. The University of Virginia’s Larry Sabato, meanwhile, projects Clinton with 348 Electoral Votes to 190 for Donald Trump.

In other words, with ten weeks out this remains Hillary Clinton’s race to win or lose. While there has been some tightening in the national and state polls, this is to be expected and, so far at least, the tightening has not been severe enough to really through the outcome of the race in doubt. Donald Trump’s potential change of position on immigration and his campaign’s impending ad buys are likely to be the biggest influences on the race in the short term, but absent some outside force acting on both candidates it’s hard to see many major changes happening in the near-term, which works to Clinton’s advantage especially as we get closer to the beginning of early voting in crucial states such as Ohio and Florida. In fact, it’s likely that we won’t see much change in the race at all until the first Presidential debate at the beginning of September, which is setting up to be one of the defining moments of the campaign going forward.

Previous Posts:

With Eleven Weeks To Go, Hillary Clinton Appears To Be Unstoppable

Note: The national poll numbers noted above, and associated charts, were updated to include the impact of a Public Policy Polling national poll released contemporaneously with the publication of the post. In that poll Clinton leads Trump by five points in a head-to-head match, and also five points in a four way match. 

 

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    It will be interesting to see what, if any, effect the debates have on the polls. There was a interesting article in the New York Times this morning concerning Clinton’s debate prep. Apparently she’s consulting the ghostwriters who worked with Trump as well as psychologists to determine best how to needle him. It shouldn’t be hard.

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  2. gVOR08 says:

    @CSK: Hmmmm. 11 dimensional chess. I’ll leak that I’m ready to dump on Trump on these subjects so he’ll leave them alone or play them straight and low key. On the other hand, Trump’s campaign can’t manage checkers, so maybe she really is prepping to set him off.

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  3. CSK says:

    @gVOR08:

    Here’s the thing: Trump isn’t prepping for these debates, other than having informal conversations with advisors over lunch.. He’s said that he sees no need to hold a mock debate, since he did so well (his opinion) in the primary debates.

    He probably does plan to bluster his way through the debates. It might be entertaining, in a grisly way.

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  4. grumpy realist says:

    @CSK: Now we’re just going to have to deal with the very large chunk of the media who want to see a horse-race, no matter how they create it.

    Which means that they’re likely to declare Trump the winner of the debates providing he does anything on a higher order of coming out and drooling on his shoes. Bad cess to them all!

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  5. Facebones says:

    @grumpy realist: Bingo. They really, really, really want to report on a horse race. Watch for a repeat of the first Bush-Gore debate, where Gore cleaned his clock but was declared the loser by the media because he sighed too much at Bush’s nonsense.

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  6. CSK says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Well, I think the Trump propaganda sites such as Breitbart will declare Trump the winner even if he does nothing but stand at the lectern and blow saliva bubbles. If he makes a total fool of himself–which is clearly Clinton’s goal–it’ll be impossible for anyone but Breitbart to declare him the winner.

    It’s possible that Trump will do so badly in the first debate (if he doesn’t decide to cancel at the last minute because it’s “rigged”) that he’ll bail on the remaining two. Which would be another first in a year of firsts.

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  7. Thor thormussen says:

    Grassley’s now saying he wants to confirm Garland in the lame duck period.

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  8. michael reynolds says:

    By the way, I told you ‘the softening’ wouldn’t hurt Trump.

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  9. CSK says:

    @michael reynolds:

    The Trumpkins are claiming now to have known all along that the Cheeto Savior was speaking only metaphorically about the wall.

    In an interesting side note, Rush Limbaugh is now claiming that he never took seriously Trump’s stand on immigration.

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  10. bookdragon says:

    @grumpy realist: Yep. There’s too much vested in getting clicks from a horse race. As long as Trump drop trou to prove he has a dick, at worst they’ll call it a tie. (Otoh, if he did do something that outrageous, it wouldn’t matter that HRC won – Trump would dominate the news cycle for the next week at least).

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  11. Pete S says:

    @CSK: @michael reynolds:

    So Trump now officially doesn’t stand for anything at all in this election and his supporters are fine with it. How inept is the Republican Party? After 25 years of them demonizing the entire Clinton family, “Not Clinton” is still losing.

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  12. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @CSK:

    The Trumpkins are claiming now to have known all along that the Cheeto Savior was speaking only metaphorically about the wall. .

    But TODAY’s pivot tweet by The Trupster is that he DOES mean it to be a real wall, and has always meant that from Day 1.

    From day one I said that I was going to build a great wall on the SOUTHERN BORDER, and much more. Stop illegal immigration. Watch Wednesday!
    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 30, 2016

    So, I guess his policy now is: that he will get the largest base if he takes ALL positions on ALL issues.

    That way he gets ALL the voters… right?

    All your base are belong to us!

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  13. CSK says:

    @Pete S:

    Well, it’s becoming clear now that it’s not Trump’s “policies” nor ideology that enraptures his fans. It’s him. This is a cult of personality. I don’t think it matters what he says at this point. He could invite the population of Mexico City to move to Sioux Fall and start collecting Social Security and they’d be cheering.

    We keep trying to analyze these people by rational standards, and keep forgetting that they’re not rational.

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  14. CSK says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    Yep, all our base are belong to Trump.

    He can take any position he likes.

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  15. C. Clavin says:

    @michael reynolds:

    By the way, I told you ‘the softening’ wouldn’t hurt Trump.

    I don’ think it’s going to help him much either.
    The dupes who are for him aren’t going to change their minds.
    And the rest of us, who recognize the insanity in this man, aren’t going to change our minds.
    The race is amazingly steady, as the graph above shows.
    A softer Cheeto is still not going to get to 270.

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  16. Tyrell says:

    I don’t recall seeing a campaign in which the news media was so obsessed with polls. It is almost like they are trying use poll results to influence poll results. Then of course they try to put their own spin, interpretation, and explanation of them.
    I have also noticed the candidates ignoring the major issues by and large. The economy, Europe, Middle East, and ISIS are being ignored. Immigration is not a major issue here like it is in Europe.

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  17. Tony W says:

    @Tyrell:

    I don’t recall seeing a campaign in which the news media was so obsessed with polls.

    Then you weren’t paying attention.

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  18. grumpy realist says:

    @Tyrell: Gee, bad memory problems, huh?

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  19. Tyrell says:

    @grumpy realist: My frame of reference is Humphrey -Nixon and Reagan-Carter.

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  20. Pch101 says:

    @Tyrell:

    I don’t recall seeing a campaign in which the news media was so obsessed with polls.

    The Alzheimer’s Association has a chapter in your area.

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  21. Pch101 says:

    @Tyrell:

    My frame of reference is Humphrey -Nixon and Reagan-Carter.

    I’m willing to bet that you spent less time using the internet to follow those elections.

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  22. Pch101 says:

    I remain convinced that this will be a close election.

    PPP has Clinton beating Trump 42% vs. 37%. But that includes 6% for Johnson, 5% for other third party candidates and 10% undecided.

    NBC’s 4-way poll has Clinton beating Trump 41% vs. 37%. But that includes 11% for Johnson, 5% for Stein and 10% not included in the above.

    The major candidates are getting 79% of the vote in the PPP poll and 78% in NBC’s. That should create a great deal of discomfort. I would presume that most of that 20%+ of the voting population is actually still up for grabs — the question is whether many of them will vote for a major party or stay home.

    With Johnson getting the bulk of the third-party vote, that should create some room for doubt. Can a guy who has barely campaigned and who won 1% of the vote in 2012 really be expected to siphon off that many votes?

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  23. CSK says:

    @Pch101:

    I suspect Johnson is getting the votes of some Republicans who can’t stomach Trump but can’t bring themselves to vote for Clinton.

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  24. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Facebones: I remember Dubya being quoted as saying that since the press was expecting him to fumble on “good evening, my name is George Bush,” that it was down hill all the way after he got past the introduction.

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  25. Pch101 says:

    @CSK:

    My point is that the vast majority of them aren’t going to vote for Johnson. If Johnson gets more than 2-3% of the vote, I’ll be surprised.

    My guess is that some of the supposed Johnson voters will vote for Trump, just a few of them will vote for Clinton, and many of the rest will either spoil their ballots for the presidential candidate or else stay home.

    If that happens, then Clinton probably wins the popular vote but not by much.

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  26. al-Alameda says:

    Trump has one thing going for him – only one:
    He’s not Hillary. That’s it.

    He really is almost – almost – free to say stuff like:
    (1) “I’ve slept with Vladimr Putin, and I will reduce your taxes.”
    (2) “I will launch nuclear missiles and obliterate Iran, and I will bring manufacturing jobs back to America.”
    (3) “I will deport all illegal aliens, including white people who have overstayed their visas, and issue an executive order retroactively removing all birthright to citizenship for the children of illegals born here, and finally I will repeal the ‘Death’ and Capital Gains taxes.

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  27. Mikey says:

    @Pch101:

    I remain convinced that this will be a close election.

    Don’t sell Trump short. He’s got ten weeks to alienate everyone who hasn’t firmly latched on to his cult of personality. I think he’s more than capable.

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  28. Tyrell says:

    @Pch101: It may wind up with neither candidate getting enough votes to win. In that case, I am not sure what happens, but I would suspect Congress would get involved. I am researching to see when or if this has happened in the past. My recollection of school history is that something similar occurred way back in the 1800’s, and Whig Party split up after that.
    It would not be surprising considering well over 50% of the people are saying none of the above.
    I think if Johnson gets in the debates, his numbers could realistically go to the 20 -30 % range.

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  29. Pch101 says:

    @Tyrell:

    It may wind up with neither candidate getting enough votes to win.

    If you have even a little familiarity with the Constitution, then you ought to know why that isn’t going to happen.

    I still can’t figure out whether you’re trolling or if you genuinely believe what you say.

    @Mikey:

    Believe it or not, not everyone loathes Candidate Trump. A fact that should give us pause about the electorate…

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  30. grumpy realist says:

    @Tyrell: You’re assuming that either Johnson or Stein will swipe more than a few percentage of the vote.

    I think that if they were, we would be seeing it by now. As it is, I doubt either of them is going to crack the ceiling to participate in the debates (15%).

    Which means….the best that either they can do is act as a spoiler like Gore did in the 2000 election.

    (One reason why I suspect we’re going to have more people coming back to voting for either Clinton or Trump as we get closer to the actual day of election. For all the yelling, I suspect people will be voting more “lesser of the two evils” than voting FOR an individual.)

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  31. Jen says:

    @Tyrell:

    It may wind up with neither candidate getting enough votes to win.

    I’m a little bit surprised at this statement, but here’s an explanation. A candidate needs to get 270 of the available 538 electoral college votes to win. The only scenarios under which this does not happen is if either the two candidates tie, each getting 269 EC votes, or if a third party candidate like Johnson wins sufficient EC votes to hold the leader at 269 or lower. In that case, the Speaker of the House determines the outcome of the election.

    It is quite unlikely we’d see either of those scenarios this year. FiveThirtyEight has each state’s EC vote count and currently predicts Clinton receiving 330.

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  32. C. Clavin says:

    @Pch101:

    I still can’t figure out whether you’re trolling or if you genuinely believe what you say.

    Or, more likely, he read it somewhere and doesn’t know any better.

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  33. Zachriel says:

    @Jen: In that case, the Speaker of the House determines the outcome of the election.

    If no candidate receives a majority of Electoral votes, the House of Representatives elects the President from the 3 Presidential candidates who received the most Electoral votes. Each state delegation has one vote.
    http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/faq.html#no270

    See also the 12 Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

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  34. anjin-san says:

    @Jen:

    currently predicts Clinton receiving 330

    Sam Wang has her @ 341 right now. I think Hillary has to be somewhat careful about playing a prevent defense, but short of a major disruptive event that somehow favors Trump (who managed to utterly bungle his response to the Orlando tragedy) I see a comfortable win for Hillary.

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  35. Zachriel says:

    @Tyrell: I think if Johnson gets in the debates, his numbers could realistically go to the 20 -30 % range.

    Unless Johnson secures some electoral votes by garnering the majority of votes in a state,* then one of the two other candidates will almost certainly have enough electoral votes to win (other than a 279-279 tie). Coming in second counts for nothing.

    That’s why the U.S. is a two-party system. The system wasn’t designed that way. It’s an incidental result of winner-take-all elections.

    * Maine and Nebraska have split votes, two to the state winner, and one for winners in each congressional district.

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  36. Zachriel says:

    Z: majority plurality

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  37. Jen says:

    @Zachriel: that was shorthand for “the House decides.”

    It was sloppy shorthand, I agree.

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  38. Concerned UK Citizen says:

    I don’t understand how a man who, at 70 years of age, has absolutely never bothered to educate himself about, and takes no interest in, the world (“Putin is not going into Ukraine…… “) can possibly be prepared for the upcoming debates.

    Clinton is, despite what you think of her personally, red hot when it comes to policy, understanding of geo-politics, etc etc.

    What kind of strategy can be developed for a man who, for his adult life, appears never to have read a newspaper, let alone watched a TV news bulletin?

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  39. @Pch101:

    Can a guy who has barely campaigned

    Just because the news media doesn’t cover something doesn’t mean it’s not happening.

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  40. Pch101 says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Gary Johnson has spent less than $2 million on his campaign.

    https://www.opensecrets.org/pres16/candidate.php?id=N00033226

    Much of that has been paid to a political consultant.

    http://time.com/4349802/gary-johnson-libertarian-consultants/

    Exactly what campaign is the media missing?

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  41. Lenoxus says:

    @CSK: The way I see it is that his most infamous initial comments about Mexicans won him a lifetime pass. His acolytes consider that attitude his “true colors”, by contrast to the face one wears to deal with the various obstacles of the “lamestream PC media”. They themselves spend a lot of their time keeping their mouths shut in “polite company”, so they find it relatable — rather than detestable or cynical — if Trump waffles here or there.

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  42. rachel says:

    @Thor thormussen: Which lame duck period, the current “lame duck” era, or the actual one?

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  43. Barry says:

    @CSK: “Apparently she’s consulting the ghostwriters who worked with Trump as well as psychologists to determine best how to needle him. It shouldn’t be hard.”

    This is a guy who can’t keep from tweeting attacks at the unassailable, vs. a woman who faces 11 hours of nonstop sh*t grilling and keeps her cool doing it.

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  44. Barry says:

    @Tyrell: “I don’t recall seeing a campaign in which the news media was so obsessed with polls. It is almost like they are trying use poll results to influence poll results. Then of course they try to put their own spin, interpretation, and explanation of them.”

    Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww……………………………..

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  45. CSK says:

    @Lenoxus:

    @Barry:

    And this is why the debates may prove so entertaining. How difficult will it prove to goad him into a total meltdown while she maintains her smiling composure?

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  46. michael reynolds says:

    Now he wants to meet with the President of Mexico. Tomorrow. Because Pena Nieto is going to want to be part of this shit show. And he’ll promptly agree to pay for the wall.

    Credit where credit is due, none of us saw this particular bit of crazy coming.

    I have a theory that Hillary’s silence is driving Trump even crazier. He doesn’t know how not to be the center of attention. She just leaves the stage out there and the buffoon cannot stop himself from drawing attention. Sooner or later he’ll drop trou. He can’t help himself.

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  47. dennis says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    Let me tell you, my fellow OTBans, from professional experience. There are vast areas and geographical impediments along the Southwest border that make it impossible to build a large, continuous wall from the Pacific all the way to the gulf. Ain’t no way Trump is going to accomplish that.

    As always, rank and file Republican voters have been swindled. Bamboozled. Duped. Run amok.

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  48. Paul Hooson says:

    Trump has a few campaign structural problems on his way to the White House. One serious problem is he runs well behind Romney’s share of Jewish, Black, Hispanic and Asian voters, who can and will likely tip the electoral votes of Ohio, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Nevada to Clinton, leaving Trump with no electoral path to victory unless he can somehow win the White vote by some massive landslide on a par with Reagan’s 1980 win. In the primary struggles, Trump may have succeeded to find a core of White voters with his anti-immigration views and suggestions of race-baiting politics. But, that same sort of politics is his undoing in the general election among all voters.

    The second structural campaign problem for Trump is a lack of management skills applied to his state and county campaigns. In Jefferson County, Colorado, a 12 year old child is managing the Trump Campaign in Colorado’s fourth largest county. In Minnesota an inept campaign staff nearly missed Trump’s November ballot access deadline by an inability to fill out critical papers that needed to be filed with the Secretary Of State, and line up a necessary slate of electors. And, this is nothing to say that Trump’s “get out the vote” efforts are probably a complete mess compared to the very scientific Democratic efforts where Democrats use computer programs to target likely voters and to be sure they get out and vote.

    Trump would have everyone believe that he’s a brilliant manager. But, his lack of management skills and lack of ability to delegate responsibility to responsible persons will sink any chances he may think he has. The election is not an election between two candidates as much as it is a contest between two competing campaigns where the better campaign wins every time.

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  49. Jen says:

    @michael reynolds: I do wonder how the campaign accomplished that meeting. There’s no way his hard-line wall-building will be the core of his immigration speech if he’s meeting Nieto today.

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  50. Mikey says:

    @Pch101:

    Believe it or not, not everyone loathes Candidate Trump.

    Oh, I know, believe me. People I never thought could possibly get sucked in by the Great Orange Swindle have become fervent supporters. It’s truly saddening, and maddening.

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  51. Mikey says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Now he wants to meet with the President of Mexico. Tomorrow. Because Pena Nieto is going to want to be part of this shit show.

    It’s insane for Trump to do this. He has absolutely nothing to gain. He is universally despised in Mexico and Nieto will have a great opportunity to improve his own political fortunes by shitting all over Trump.

    I have a theory that Hillary’s silence is driving Trump even crazier. He doesn’t know how not to be the center of attention.

    Yeah, she’s just letting him have all the rope.

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  52. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Pch101:

    He’s been holding almost daily rallies all over the country. True he’s not buying a lot of TV ads, but that doesn’t mean he’s not campaigning.

    And may I take a moment to point out the irony of the “money isn’t speech” crowd treating spending levels as being equivalent to campaign activity.

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  53. Moosebreath says:

    @Paul Hooson:

    “One serious problem is he runs well behind Romney’s share of Jewish, Black, Hispanic and Asian voters, who can and will likely tip the electoral votes of Ohio, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Nevada to Clinton”

    Catholic voters as well:

    “Back in 2012, GOP nominee Mitt Romney lost the Catholic vote by just 2 points, 50 percent to 48 percent. And the GOP has actually won the Catholic vote as recently as 2004 and in 5 of the last 10 presidential elections.

    But Trump trails among Catholics by a huge margin. A new poll from the Public Religion Research Institute released this week shows him down 23 points, 55-32.

    A Washington Post-ABC News poll released earlier this month painted an even worse picture for Trump’s Catholic support. He was down by 27 points, 61-34.”

    And while the groups you mentioned generally vote pro-Democratic anyway, so the shift is not so great, it is YUUUUUGE here.

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  54. C. Clavin says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Sooner or later he’ll drop trou. He can’t help himself.

    I may have to start reading your books….

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  55. C. Clavin says:

    I just don’t get the Mexico gambit…I hope Pena Nieto is totally fwcking with him.

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  56. Pch101 says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Real campaigning takes money, and Johnson doesn’t have any.

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  57. Tyrell says:

    I remember a time when there was just one main poll – the Gallup poll. Now they have dozens. I am getting calls two or three times a week from polling companies. The questions are written to produce a desired outcome. “Who do you prefer” can get a different answer than “who do you plan to vote for”. And even that can get a different answer than “who would you vote for if the election was held today ?” They certainly don’t like the answer of “none of the above”.
    The networks go through the same thing: the poll results are shown, then they will ask some so-called experts “what do you make of these results? ” Obviously the goal here is to control what the people are supposed to think.

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  58. pylon says:

    @C. Clavin: Is it possible Trump thinks he can actually come out of this meeting with some sort of a deal to build a wall so he can say “see, I told you so”? Is he that dumb?

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  59. Kylopod says:

    @Moosebreath: My personal theory about the Catholic vote is that it’s mostly a reflection of the larger populace. Dubya won the Catholic vote in 2004 even though his opponent was the first Catholic nominee since JFK. That suggests more than anything that Catholic voters are not given to tribalism. Obama won the Catholic vote twice, but then he won the election twice. Trump polls poorly among Catholics, but then he polls poorly among nearly everyone. It may be disproportionate (probably because he’s offended virtually all religious groups other than white Protestants, and his tiff with the Pope earlier this year surely didn’t help matters), but it’s also because American Catholics are a good bellwether of the general populace. One of the fallacies pundits make is to view every demographic through the lens of particular issues of special interest to that group. In other words, it’s not so much that Trump or McCain or Romney or Kerry did a poor job of appealing to Catholics in particular as that Catholics tend to vote more or less the way the rest of the nation does, and if you’re losing with the electorate as a whole, then it’s likely you’re losing among Catholics as well.

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  60. C. Clavin says:

    @pylon:
    This just looks dumb. The president of Mexico is not popular…only Trump is less popular…so cow-towing to Trump is not in his best interests. And why would he want to piss off Clinton?
    Sessions is a huge bigot…so how does his going help?
    And now the American Embassy is asking Trump not to come because it’s too short notice to put a trip like this together…which makes sense given the incompetence of the Trump campaign in general.

    But the bigger question here…is how does Clinton respond?
    She can’t keep playing prevent defense. She needs to take him to the woodshed over this.

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  61. rachel says:

    @Kylopod:

    …he’s offended virtually all religious groups other than white Protestants…

    There are white Protestant groups he’s offended too.

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  62. Tony W says:

    It’s nearly time for the Trump campaign to start de-legitimatizing President Clinton’s upcoming victory by setting an arbitrary margin she must win by in order to be fairly elected. I’m going to say that she’ll win 48% to 42% in the popular vote, which will be spun to mean that a majority voted against her.

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  63. C. Clavin says:

    This trip to Mexico by Trump seems to be about as well thought out as that trip I took to Tijuana in 1990.
    Dumb.

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  64. Moosebreath says:

    @Kylopod:

    If Trump were losing the Catholic vote in roughly the same percentage as he is losing nationally, or even slightly greater (say by 10-12 points), I would buy that. He’s losing them by double that margin, which is far out of proportion to how he is faring nationally.

    The explanation may be that the composition of the Catholic vote is changing, becoming less white and more Hispanic. If so, the swing within both the white and and Hispanic group is not out of proportion, but the change in the composition magnifies it.

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  65. Kylopod says:

    @rachel:

    There are white Protestant groups he’s offended too.

    My perception is that he ought to have offended all Christians everywhere (his “my little cracker” remark, for example), but what do I know? The fact is that he’s still popular among white evangelicals, so apparently these things don’t bother them as much as we might expect.

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  66. Kylopod says:

    @Tony W:

    I’m going to say that she’ll win 48% to 42% in the popular vote, which will be spun to mean that a majority voted against her.

    There’s nothing especially unusual or unprecedented about that kind of argument. (If I recall correctly, after her husband’s 1992 victory Republicans were immediately talking about how 57% of the public voted against him.) I’m not saying it’s an airtight argument, but it’s substantially less insane and unnerving than his talk about a “rigged” election and insinuation that his supporters should engage in voter intimidation at the polls.

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  67. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Tyrell: Considering how amazing you claim your history teacher was, you don’t seem to remember much of anything that he taught about government.

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  68. grumpy realist says:

    @michael reynolds: Everyone in Mexico is also going “WTF?”

    The only benefit to the President of Mexico in his domestic support will be if he stands up to Trump. If he says anything that Trump interprets as “paying for the wall” I suspect his next acquaintance will be with a rope.

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  69. grumpy realist says:

    I DO hope that Trump gets stuck in a YUUUGE traffic jam in Mexico City….

    Maybe we’ll have another earthquake? (looks up at the sky hopefully)

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  70. Grewgills says:

    Stormy, if a man campaigns in the woods and noone hears him, is the really campaigning?

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  71. Don Honda says:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2015/02/27/opposition-to-immigration-reform-is-a-winning-strategy-for-republicans/

    “By any measure, fears of (Illegal) immigration are driving many white Americans to the Republican Party. And, indeed, the Republican strategy on immigration appears to have been successful. Republicans now control the House and the Senate, the governor’s office in 31 states, and two-thirds of the state legislatures. They are winning the political war.”

    “An even bigger factor is that the ties of racial and ethnic minorities to the Democratic Party are tenuous. Research by Taeku Lee and myself shows that most Latinos and Asian Americans don’t feel like they fit into either party. In national surveys, those who refuse to answer a question about party identification, those who claim that they do not think in partisan terms, and independents make up the clear majority of both groups. All told, 56 percent of Latinos and 57 percent of Asian-American identify as nonpartisans.

    Even among blacks, there are signs of ambivalence. Almost 30 percent of blacks feel
    that the Democratic Party does not work hard for black interests.”

    http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/20151016_As_Trump_fades__be_smart_about_immigration.html#disqus_thread

    “Most Hispanics aren’t single-issue voters when it comes to immigration. A recent Gallup poll found that among registered Latino voters, 67 percent are at least willing to support a candidate who doesn’t share their views on immigration. And 18 percent don’t consider the issue important at all.

    What’s more, many Hispanic citizens have little sympathy for immigrants who haven’t played by the rules. Especially among Latino voters born in the United States, resentment of immigrants who have entered the country illegally can run deep. Forty-two percent of American-born Hispanics disapprove of President Obama’s executive actions to prevent the deportation of illegal immigrants.”

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/02/12/no-joke-trump-can-win-plenty-of-latinos.html
    Reuben Navarette: No Joke: Trump Can Win Plenty of Latinos

    http://townhall.com/tipsheet/connorhoffman/2016/07/18/conservative-hispanic-leaders-poised-to-endorse-trump-n2194143
    Conservative Hispanic Leaders Poised To Endorse Trump

    Gee, No wonder why I fall into the Proud Independent group.

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  72. Don Honda says:

    If Trump didn’t exist, why he would have been invented:

    https://pjmedia.com/victordavishanson/illegal-immigration-finally-turned-off-public/?singlepage=true
    How Illegal Immigration Finally Turned Off the Public

    “Why did the illegal-immigration issue launch Donald Trump’s campaign? Why did his recent tense press conference exchange with Univision’s Jorge Ramos please even some of Trump’s liberal critics? What is it about illegal immigration that has finally turned off so many Americans?”

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  73. Don Honda says:
  74. Don Honda says:

    From Telesur:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PV_PLCC6jeI

    Empire Files: Abby Martin Exposes What Hillary Clinton Really Represents
    Private Prisons, Wall St. Love Hillary

    https://www.cnbc.com/2016/03/10/despite-her-rhetoric-big-pharma-likes-hillary.html

    Despite her rhetoric, big pharma likes Hillary

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  75. grumpy realist says:

    P.S. fugghetabaht the purpose of this trip; I can’t even figure out how they’re doing the logistics!

    I don’t CARE how much of a high mucky-muck you think you are, unless you have a Blackbird or something equivalent there is no friggin WAY that Trump will be able to fly from a decent-sized airport in Arizona down to Mexico City and then back to NYC in anything less than 6 hrs, and probably closer to 7 hrs. (Trump’s plane is a Boeing 757 which has a cruising speed of 858 km/hr)

    And that’s leaving out landing at the airport, getting through traffic to wherever El Presidente hangs out, have a long enough discussion with him to be able to claim that you’ve actually negotiated something, then back to the airport, etc.

    Does Donald Trump expect that everything will be automatically arranged for him so there will be a waiting limo for him? Probably does. The American Embassy has asked him to not come because they don’t have time to plan anything, but is that going to stop The Donald? Oh no….

    I hope he gets stuck in the biggest, fattest traffic jam EVAH and then they get a flat tire!

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  76. Mikey says:

    @grumpy realist:

    The only benefit to the President of Mexico in his domestic support will be if he stands up to Trump.

    Trump “enjoys” approval ratings of about 2% in Mexico, so Nieto may see this as an opportunity to beat up on an easy target and maybe boost his own abysmal approval.

    But really there isn’t much benefit for Nieto either, unless Trump pulls a 180 on the wall or something similarly crazy (and unlikely). He’ll be seen as lending legitimacy to Trump, and quite possibly diminishing his own still further.

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  77. CSK says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Trump is supposed to give his MAJOR YUGE IMMIGRATION speech in Phoenix at 6 this evening, so presumably he’d be flying back to Phoenix from Mexico City. Whether he flies back to NYC from Phoenix, I don’t know. He does insist on sleeping his his own Trump Tower beddy-bye every night.

    Whatever happens during this lunch–if it happens–you can bet Trump’s version of it will have Nieto eating out of the palm of his stubby little hand.

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  78. Neil Hudelson says:

    @grumpy realist:

    I don’t know air traffic laws surrounding Mexico city but I’m guessing Trump can afford to charter a helicopter.

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  79. grumpy realist says:

    @CSK: Here’s the schedule:

    Here are some details on how the day is expected to unfold.

    Larry Rubin, the president of an organization of Republican Party members who live in Mexico, and a member of the delegation that will join Mr. Trump at the presidential palace, provided some details about Mr. Trump’s day in Mexico City:

    • The meeting between Mr. Trump and Mr. Peña Nieto is scheduled to start by 3 p.m. local time (4 p.m. Eastern time) and last for approximately 50 minutes. The Mexican president, who will be joined by his foreign minister, is expected to speak English at the meeting.

    • Mr. Trump will focus on the positive, Mr. Rubin said, seeing the meeting as the start of a dialogue about shared economic interests and security interests. Mr. Rubin said he believed Mr. Trump would only briefly mention his intention to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and to get Mexico to pay for it — a deeply offensive proposal to many Mexicans.

    • Mr. Trump will depart Mexico City by 5:30 p.m. local time (6:30 p.m. Eastern) en route to Phoenix to deliver his immigration speech.

    Well dayum. If he’s leaving 6:30 EST it’s going to be pushing it to be in Phoenix making a speech at 6 pm MST.

    Heh. It looks like Phoenix doesn’t “do” DST, so they’re probably actually pretending they’re in PST right now.

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  80. grumpy realist says:

    Oh, you HAVE to see HuffPo’s take on this….

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  81. charon says:

    @grumpy realist:

    It’s summer, thus 6:30 Eastern would be 6:30 EDT, thus 3:30 PDT which is identical to 3:30 MST.

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  82. grumpy realist says:

    Looks like the guy who put out the invite never expected anyone to show up.

    I don’t know whether to giggle insanely or pull my hair.

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  83. Tony W says:

    @Kylopod:

    There’s nothing especially unusual or unprecedented about that kind of argument.

    True, but it invites the response “well a larger percentage voted against your guy – so suck it :)”

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  84. C. Clavin says:

    @grumpy realist:
    It gets better, grumpy.
    Trump came out of the meeting and said they didn’t discuss paying for the wall.
    The Mexican President says he lied…and that he told Trump flat out that Mexico wouldn’t pay for it.
    I don’t believe in God, but if I did I would pray to her that there is a recording.

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  85. grumpy realist says:

    @C. Clavin: Yes, I noticed that. So these two clowns played kissy-face for an hour or so for a PR stunt and they can’t even figure out what they were talking about?

    Dudes, use Skype the next time. Or GoToMeeting. And make a recording. It probably still won’t help matters because Trump won’t understand a “no” unless it’s delivered to him with a two-by-four and probably not even then, but at least you’ll have evidence of what you said.

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  86. Concerned UK Citizen says:

    As an outsider looking in, I think that there does need to be clarity, from all sides, as to what they will do regarding immigration and the issu of undocumented citizens.

    Immigration was, in my opinion, the key driver for the UK’s vote to leave the European Union.

    So it is an important issue, and is challenging all governments across Europe.

    However, that being said, here in the UK, the fact that over 30,000 people a year in the USA die as a result of guns, far outweighs the problems of immigration.

    My friends and I are staggered that this is not being addressed by either candidate (if you exclude DT’s reference to “…… 2nd amendment people…)

    We feel that It even outweighs the threat of” Islamic terrorism”. The Boston Marathon; LA club attacks and others, deplorable as they were, pale into insignificance when compared to the daily loss of life by guns in the US

    It is unthinkable that that level of gun related death’s would be tolerated by a UK government.

    Why are the candidates not addressing this issue & and why aren’t the US media pressing then on it?

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  87. Jen says:

    @Concerned UK Citizen: To be fair, an entire night of the Democratic convention focused on the issue of gun violence in this country.

    The problem is that the right to own a gun is enshrined in the principal document governing our country. It’s right there up with free speech. We also have an extremely powerful gun lobby, and most of the gun violence is spread out across a physically vast country, so it’s generally a localized phenomena. People in Chicago are well aware of the gun violence there, but I’ll bet that someone in suburban Kentucky, or Colorado, or rural Montana isn’t aware of the scope of what Chicago is dealing with. So the annual figure of 30K gets diluted.

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  88. C. Clavin says:

    @grumpy realist:
    Se the ad Clinton already has up, here…
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImSPpR-q1lw

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  89. Concerned UK Citizen says:

    What is being done regarding American businesses that employ undocumented immigrants?

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  90. Matt says:

    @Concerned UK Citizen: Nothing because that would require “job killing regulations that strangle our entrepreneurs” and I’m pretty sure they’ll work in a talking point about it killing the middle class too. The business and agricultural lobby both work overtime against any bill that targets the employers. Mostly because without illegals most of the farm produce in this country would never be harvested.

    Your gun number sounds super scary but you do realize over 6000 people die in the USA every day from various things including car accidents/illness etc? That’s barely 5 days worth of deaths here. Over 60% of your number are suicides which frankly don’t matter. If someone wants to commit suicide they’ll do what is needed. From exit bags to the old handy rope. I know this will set some people off but I believe people should be allowed to take their life in a painless manner. Sometimes it’s the only way to stop the pain and I hold no grudge against those who “take the easy way out”.

    EDIT : I’ve had a few friends kill themselves over teh last few decades. One did it quickly with a shot gun in the house I was raised as a kid. She was always troubled and I don’t believe she would of found peace. Then there’s the alcoholics who killed themselves somewhat slower by engaging in high risk behavior.

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  91. Concerned UK Citizen says:

    @Jen:

    Thanks for the info – I didn’t see the whole of the DNC , what with time difference, work etc.

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  92. Concerned UK Citizen says:

    From what I gather, “gun control” may be a bit of moot point, as its estimated there are c 300 million firearms in circulation in the US…. one for pretty much every man woman and child in the country

    Would be interested to know if that is actually the case. If it is, it’s truly staggering from a UK viewpoint.

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