The Blackburn Report

The Truth As I See It

New poll Shows Trump Has Zero Chance of Winning In Electoral College

Hillary Clinton’s strength in many battlegrounds and some traditional Republican strongholds gives her a big electoral college advantage, according to a 50-state Washington Post poll. The survey of all 50 states is the largest sample ever undertaken by The Post. The state-by-state numbers are based on responses from more than 74,000 registered voters during the period of Aug. 9 to Sept. 1. The individual state samples vary in size from about 550 to more than 5,000, allowing greater opportunities than typical surveys to look at different groups within the population and compare them from state to state.

The massive survey highlights a critical weakness in Trump’s candidacy — an unprecedented deficit for a Republican among college-educated white voters, especially women. White college graduates have been loyal Republican voters in recent elections, but Trump is behind Clinton with this group across much of the country, including in some solidly red states.

The 50-state findings come at a time when the average national margin between Clinton and Trump has narrowed. What once was a Clinton lead nationally of eight to 10 points shortly after the party conventions ended a month ago is now about four points, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average. A number of battleground states also have tightened, according to surveys released from other organizations in recent days.

The Post results are consistent with many of those findings, but not in all cases. Trump’s support in the Midwest, where the electorates are generally older and whiter, appears stronger and offers the possibility of gains in places Democrats carried recently. He has small edges in two expected battlegrounds — Ohio and Iowa — and is close in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan, each of which Democrats have won in six consecutive elections.

At the same time, however, Trump is struggling in places Republicans have won consistently and that he must hold to have any hope of winning. These states include Arizona and Georgia, as well as Texas — the biggest surprise in the 50-state results. The Texas results, which are based on a sample of more than 5,000 people, show a dead heat, with Clinton ahead by one percentage point.

Clinton also leads by fewer than four points in Colorado, Florida and is tied with Trump in North Carolina. In Colorado, other polls have shown a larger Clinton lead. In Mississippi, Trump’s lead is just two points, though it’s doubtful that the GOP nominee is in much danger there.

Electoral college advantage for Clinton

In a two-way competition between the major-party candidates, Clinton leads by four points or more in 20 states plus the District of Columbia. Together they add up to 244 electoral votes, 26 shy of the 270 needed to win.

Trump leads by at least four points in 20 states as well, but those add up to just 126 electoral votes. In the 10 remaining states, which hold 168 electoral votes, neither candidate has a lead of four percentage points or better.

A series of four-way ballot tests that include Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein project a somewhat narrower Clinton advantage, with more states showing margins of fewer than four points between the two major-party candidates. But even here, at the Labor Day weekend turn toward the Nov. 8 balloting, the pressure is on Trump to make up even more ground than he has in recent weeks if he hopes to win the White House.

The poll finds Johnson is poised to garner significant support. He is currently receiving at least 15 percent support in 15 states. The libertarian’s support peaks at 25 percent in New Mexico, where he served two terms as governor. He is only four points shy of Trump’s 29 percent standing there. His support in Utah is 23 percent, and in Colorado and Iowa it is 16 percent. Stein has less support in the poll, peaking at 10 percent in Vermont and receiving at least 7 percent support in 10 states.

Overall, the results reflect Trump’s strategy of maximizing support in older, whiter Midwestern states where his anti-free-trade message and appeals to national identity generally find more fertile ground.

But his struggles elsewhere, including places that have long supported Republicans, illustrate the challenges of that strategy in more diverse states where his stances on immigration and some other positions have turned off Democrats, independents and many Republicans.

Demographic divisions shape the competition

To win the election, Trump must quickly consolidate the Republican vote. With prominent Republicans declaring they will not support Trump and some even announcing they will back Clinton, this represents a major challenge for the GOP nominee. In the Post poll, Clinton is winning 90 percent or more of the Democratic vote in 32 states, while Trump is at or above that level in just 13.

As expected, the Clinton-Trump contest has split the electorate along racial lines. Their bases of support are mirror images: On average, Clinton does 31 points better among nonwhite voters than whites, and Trump does 31 points better among white voters than nonwhites.

The electorate is also divided along lines of gender and education, in many cases to a greater extent than in recent elections. Averaging across all 50 states, Clinton does 14 points better among women than men, and Trump does 16 points better among men than women. Clinton is winning among women in 34 states, and she’s close in six others. Trump leads among men in 38 states, is tied in six and trails in the other six.

It is among college-educated voters, however, where Trump faces his biggest hurdle. In 2012, white voters with college degrees supported Republican nominee Mitt Romney over President Obama by 56-42 percent. Romney won with 59 percent among white men with college degrees and with 52 percent among white women with college degrees.

So far in this campaign, Clinton has dramatically changed that equation. Among white college graduates, Clinton leads Trump in 31 of the 50 states, and the two are about even in six others. Trump leads among college-educated whites in just 13 states, all safe Republican states in recent elections.

Across 49 states where the poll interviewed at least 100 white college-educated women, Clinton leads Trump with this group in 38 states and by double-digit margins in 37. Averaging across all states, Clinton leads by 23 points among white women with college degrees.

Trump’s base among white voters without a college degree remains strong and substantial. He leads Clinton in 43 of the 50 states, and the two are roughly even in five others. She leads among white voters without a college degree in just one state: Vermont.

Overall, Clinton does 19 points better among white college graduates than whites without degrees while Trump does 18 points better among whites without degrees than whites with college educations, on average.

Trump’s challenge in the states that remain close will be to produce significant turnout among white, non-college voters to offset those Clinton margins, but it’s far from clear that there are enough of them to be decisive. Absent that, the GOP nominee must find a way to appeal to these college-educated voters during the final weeks of the campaign.

States and regions shaping the race

Trump’s strength across some of the states in the Midwest is one potential bright spot for the Republican nominee. Clinton’s biggest lead among the contested states in that region is in Pennsylvania, where her margin is just four points. In Wisconsin and Michigan, she leads by a nominal two points, while Trump leads by four points in Iowa and three points in Ohio.

Recent polls by other organizations have indicated that Wisconsin has tightened over the past month. A recent Suffolk University poll in Michigan shows Clinton leading by seven points, and the RealClearPolitics average in Ohio shows Clinton ahead by three points. Overall, among the quintet of Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa and Pennsylvania, Michigan has been the Democrats’ most reliable of the group, always one of the 15 best-performing Democratic states over the past five elections.

The Rocky Mountain West is another area of fierce competition. The Post-SurveyMonkey poll shows Colorado closer than other polls there, with Clinton leading by just two points and the race tied when Johnson and Stein are included. Meanwhile, Clinton and Trump are roughly even in Arizona. InNevada, Clinton enjoys a lead of five points in head-to-head competition with Trump but by just three points in a four-way test.

Of all the states, Texas provided the most unexpected result. The Lone Star State has been a conservative Republican bastion for the past four decades. In 2012, President Obama lost the state by 16 points. For Democrats, it has been among the 10 to 15 worst-performing states in the past four elections.

The Post poll of Texas shows a dead heat with Clinton at 46 percent and Trump at 45 percent. Democrats have long claimed that changing demographics would make the state competitive in national elections, but probably not for several more cycles.

A comparison of the current survey with the 2008 Texas exit poll (there was no exit poll there in 2012) points to reasons the race appears close right now. Trump is performing worse than 2008 GOP nominee John McCain among both whites and Hispanics, while Clinton is doing slightly better than Obama.

Among men, Trump is doing slightly worse than McCain did eight years ago. The bigger difference is among women. McCain won a narrow majority of women in Texas while Trump is currently below 40 percent. That’s not to say Texas is turning blue in 2016. Given its history, it probably will back Trump in November and possibly by a comfortable margin. But at this stage, the fact that it is close at all is one more surprise in a surprising year.

Emily Guskin contributed to this report.

Is Donald Trump Getting His Cues from Hitler? How the GOP Leader Is Following the Führer’s Recipe

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Donald Trump is an apparent fan of Adolf Hitler’s speeches.

That stunning but not entirely surprising revelation comes from his ex-wife Ivana, who told Vanity Fair in an interview that “from time to time her husband reads a book of Hitler’s collected speeches, My New Order, which he keeps in a cabinet by his bed.” The magazine said Trump confirmed he got it from a film industry friend, Marty Davis. “I thought he would find it interesting,” Davis said. “I am his friend, but I’m not Jewish.”

Adolf Hitler’s My New Order is not just any book. It came after Hitler’s two-volume Mein Kampf (German for My Struggle), and was published in 1925 and 1926 before the Nazi rise to national power and World War II. It is not just a collection of excerpts from speeches Hitler made between 1918 and 1941; it is profusely indexed and filled with details about the speeches’ impact on the media and political establishment.

The American literary magazine Kirkus Review, founded in 1933, puts it this way: “Paralleling actual quotations from Hitler’s own utterances, he [the editor of the English edition] includes corresponding data showing the effect on the world press, and his own commentary relating the statements to doctrines previously presented in Mein Kampf… Section after section follows pattern-background, speech, press.”

Ivana Trump told Vanity Fair that her ex-husband occasionally read it, which supports the rest of the magazine’s profile of a tycoon who loved to live in the public eye and manipulate media coverage. Trump, after confirming he had the book, later told the reporter, “If I had these speeches, and I am not saying that I do, I would never read them.”

Nobody can know what Trump reads or does not read—or if he even reads. But it appears that one way or another, much of the content in My New Order about how Hitler says propaganda works, and how he structures his speaking style, and how Hitler targets the lowest-common denominator as his intended audience, has seeped into Trump: the way he speaks, argues, rages and responds in public. This goes beyond what has been reported in the New York Times, which analyzed 95,000 words from five months of speeches and concluded that Trump shares a style with the 20th century’s biggest demagogues.

Trump’s speeches are filled with simplistic racist attacks, first against Mexicans and more recently Muslims. He belittles and insults his competitors for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. He attacks Democrats’ political “correctness” as weak. He mocks women and disabled people. He threatens to obliterate the enemies he names. He doesn’t care about facts or inconsistencies, and plays to his followers’ fears and prejudices.

All of these tactics, from the repetitive style of his speeches, to believing whatever he says is true, to his excessive and unrivaled view in his leadership, are modeled by Hitler in My New Order, according to a psychological profile of the book in the September 2013 issue of the scholarly journal, Psychiatric Quarterly. “The elements of a delusional system are there,” it states. “This is not simply to say that the man is mad and so has plunged the world into chaos; but it is to say that there is overwhelming evidence in 19 years of his speeches that Hitler himself firmly believes many of his most absurd declarations, including some which are contradictory.”

What is really stunning—whether or not he carefully read My New Order—is that Trump is channeling the very tenets about how propaganda works laid out by Hitler in his books. In addition to the collection of speeches and their impact, Mein Kampf has a chapter on the hows and whys of political propaganda. Look at these six excerpts from Ralph Manheim’s 1943 translation that have been put into a “Teachers Guide To The Holocaust” produced by the University of South Florida. Hitler wrote:

“The function of propaganda does not lie in the scientific training of the individual, but in calling the masses’ attention to certain facts, processes, necessities, etc., whose significance is thus for the first time placed within their field of vision.”
“All propaganda must be popular and its intellectual level must be adjusted to the most limited intelligence among those it is addressed to. Consequently, the greater the mass it is intended to reach, the lower its purely intellectual level will have to be.”
“The more modest its intellectual ballast, the more exclusively it takes into consideration the emotions of the masses, the more effective it will be. And this is the best proof of the soundness or unsoundness of a propaganda campaign, and not success pleasing a few scholars or young aesthetes.”
“Once understood how necessary it is for propaganda to be adjusted to the broad mass, the following rule results: It is a mistake to make propaganda many-sided, like scientific instruction, for instance.”
“In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan.”
“The function of propaganda is, for example, not to weigh and ponder the rights of different people, but exclusively to emphasize the one right which it has set out to argue for. Its task is not to make an objective study of the truth… its task is to serve our own right, always and unflinchingly.”
Who Are Trump’s Followers?

Trump’s latest media-baiting, attention-grabbing gambit has been to call for a temporary ban on foreign Muslims entering the country. Even though he’s been criticized by most of the GOP (except right-wing radio hosts), as well as Democrats and foreign leaders, his popularity among Republican primary voters has gone up. Bloomberg.com reports that his Muslim-ban idea is supported by two-thirds of likely GOP primary voters, based on a Tuesday poll. RealClearPolitics.com says he has support of 30.4 percent of GOP voters nationwide, when averaging the most recent polls. That is almost double the second place holder. Trump also leads in Iowa and New Hampshire, the polling-tracking website says.

All of this raises the question, who are these people who support Trump? Or put less delicately, who is buying his vicious propagandizing? Snapshots from various media and polling firms show these sections of the electorate are disaffected, tend to be Republican, are mostly but not entirely white, are not highly educated—and crucially, according to focus groups led by Frank Luntz, a top Republican pollster cited by the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal—they are incredibly loyal to Trump, supportive of his posturing and swipes, and completely unmoved by condemnations of their candidate.

In Thursday’s Post, Luntz is quoted as saying, “I’ve never seen anything like this. There is no sign of them leaving.” In Thursday’s Journal, he lists six features of Trump’s supporters: “They have a dim view of the U.S.,” “They hate President Barack Obama.” “They hate the media, too.” “They’re suspicious of Muslims.” “They are unswervingly loyal to Mr. Trump.” “They kind of like Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.”
The Los Angeles Times, in a recent deconstruction of its polling data, finds that Trump supporters increase with age. Only 15 percent are aged 18 to 29; 53 percent are age 30 to 64; and 34 percent are 65 and older. Many of them did not state their race, but of those who did, only 31 percent said they were white, while 12 percent said they were black, and another 11 percent said Latino. And they span the economic spectrum: 28 percent said they made less than $50,000 a year. The same percent said they made from between $50,000 and $100,000. And 22 percent said they made more than $100,000. This data was from the November 25 poll.

The most detailed profile might be from RealClearPolitics.com, which homed in on the personalities of people who would be drawn to Trump’s fascist presence. His backers are not particularly ideological, but mostly in the Republican camp. Only “20 percent of his supporters describe themselves as ‘liberal’ or ‘moderate.'” They’re also “a bit older, less educated and earn less than the average Republican. Slightly over half are women.”

On education, “One half of his voters have a high school education or less, compared to 19 percent with a college or post-graduate degree,” the website’s reporters said, adding that Trump appeals to a certain breed of southern Republican. “The Donald appears to have a special appeal to Texans: he took the highest proportion of support from Ted Cruz, then from Rick Perry,” the former governor who slammed Trump before withdrawing from the race. “Trumpism—a toxic mix of demagoguery and nonsense.”

The New York Times, when analyzing the content and style of the 95,000 words comprising all of Trump’s speeches in the five months between July and November, wrote his “pattern of elevating emotional appeals over rational ones is a rhetorical style that historians, psychologists and political scientists placed in the tradition of political figures like [Barry] Goldwater, George Wallace, Joseph McCarthy, Huey Long and Pat Buchanan, who used fiery language to try to win favor with struggling or scared Americans.”

They compare Trump to some of America’s worst demagogues. “Several historians watched Mr. Trump’s speeches last week, at the request of the Times, and observed techniques—like vilifying groups of people and stoking the insecurities of his audiences—that they associate with Wallace and McCarthy.”

But what the Times did not do is go far enough back in history or look at the purported reading material at Trump’s beside, where they would see the unnerving parallel with Adolph Hitler in his style, beliefs, delivery, egotism and intended audience. Trump did tell Vanity Fair’s reporter in 1990—before he tried to retract the statement—that he had been given Hitler’s My New Order by a friend, which Ivana said was kept by his bedside where he read it.

As Trump’s campaign for the presidency continues, one can only wonder if he’ll be propelled by a 21st-century American version of the “good Germans,” people who are seduced by Trump’s boasts, prejudice, blaming, war-mongering and authority. As Gustave Gilbert, the prison psychiatrist at the post-WWII Nuremburg War Crimes tribunal famously said, “The perpetrators showed no great deviation from the norm.”

By Steven Rosenfeld

Steven Rosenfeld covers national political issues, including America’s retirement crisis, democracy and voting rights, and campaigns and elections. He is the author of “Count My Vote: A Citizen’s Guide to Voting”