Second Presidential Debate Draws 66.5 Million Viewers

Viewership for the second debate fell some twenty percent from the first debate, but that doesn't necessarily mean that voter are losing interest.

 

Trump Clinton Second Debate

Sunday night’s second Presidential debate saw a significant fall off in viewership from the first debate back in late September:

Maybe Americans are starting to get fed up with the ugly tone of this strange presidential election. Maybe viewers are tired of R-rated video clips and scorched-earth attacks.

Or maybe people just prefer football.

Whatever the reason, the audience for Sunday night’s bout between Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump fell sharply from their first debate. About 66.5 million people watched on television, according to Nielsen, down 20 percent from the record 84 million who tuned in last month.

Sunday’s figure was nothing to sneeze at. It was roughly the same number of people who watched the first two debates between President Obama and Mitt Romney in 2012. And it is unusual for a second debate to draw a bigger audience than the first.

Still, the release on Friday of a bombshell recording, which showed Mr. Trump boasting in vulgar terms about aggressively kissing and groping women, had seemed to promise a dramatic showdown, on a night of the week when many Americans stay in.

But one broadcast network, NBC, ran an N.F.L. game instead of the debate. There was a baseball playoff game airing on TBS. And, perhaps, the novelty of Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump clashing on the same stage had worn thin.

CBS had the largest viewership of any network, with about 16.5 million viewers. CNN, whose anchor Anderson Cooper served as a moderator alongside Martha Raddatz of ABC News, was the winner on cable, drawing 11.2 million viewers, its biggest-ever debate audience.

More from CNN media reporter Brian Stelter:

The second Clinton-Trump debate had about 20% fewer viewers than the first face-off did.
Why the drop-off? The “Sunday Night Football” game was definitely a factor. There is speculation that the ugly, bitter nature of the presidential campaign also had something to do with it.

“I think people are repulsed by it now,” a senior TV executive said Monday morning when the overnight ratings came in.

The audience was still massive by any measure. The six biggest channels that televised the debate — CNN, ABC, CBS, Fox News, MSNBC, and the Fox broadcast network — had a combined 60 million viewers.

With the addition of Spanish language broadcasters and smaller channels, the total reached 66.5 million.

For comparison’s sake, the first debate, held on September 26, averaged 84 million viewers via TV, setting an all-time record for presidential debate viewership.

Millions more people watched both debates via the Internet.

In the days leading up to Sunday’s rematch, TV executives predicted that the second debate would have a slightly smaller audience. A chief reason: one of the big broadcast networks that aired the first debate, NBC, showed the Giants-Packers game during the second debate instead.

The game attracted more than 15 million viewers, which accounts for some of the decline between debate #1 and debate #2.

There are other factors too, like Hurricane Matthew, which displaced families and disrupted power (by extension affecting television ratings) in some Southeastern markets.

But some analysts immediately wondered on Monday if campaign divisiveness — driven by Donald Trump — is also partly to blame.

Fox Sports research guru Michael Mulvihill tweeted, “Have to say I’m surprised and maybe a little encouraged by debate decline. Looks like it’s finally gone too far for millions of people.”

Ken Bone, a town hall questioner who became an overnight celebrity, may have said it best. “It felt almost like watching mom and dad fight. It got very uncomfortable,” he told CNN’s Carol Costello on Monday.

While that is true, the ratings remained relatively steady from the beginning until the end.

Some channels fared better than others. CBS, which was boosted by NFL coverage earlier in the evening, had the biggest overall audience, with more than 16 million total viewers.

ABC had 11.5 million viewers and CNN had 11.3 million. ABC’s Martha Raddatz and CNN’s Anderson Cooper co-moderated the debate.

Sunday’s match-up ranked as the most-watched general election debate in CNN’s history.

Fox News averaged 10 million viewers, Fox broadcast had 5.6 million, and MSNBC had 5.5 million. PBS had about 2.9 million and Univision had about 2.4 million.

While the ratings fell between debate #1 and #2, online chatter was even higher the second time around.

According to Facebook, which crunched its numbers overnight, the debate between 9:03 and 10:37 p.m. ET was “the most talked-about debate on Facebook — ever.”

The company found that about 20 million users in the United States were commenting, liking and sharing content about the debate.

The same thing was true on Twitter (TWTR, Tech30). “Tonight’s #debate was the most tweeted ever,” the company said afterward, “with more than 17 million debate-related tweets sent.”

Furthermore, Twitter said, Sunday was “the most tweeted day of the entire 2016 election, with nearly 30 million tweets sent.”

As both articles note, the drop off between the first two debates isn’t all that surprising. Historically, it has generally been a rule that the first debate draws the most interest from viewers and that the number of viewers traditionally drops with each subsequent debate. The fact that this is true even this year, when debates and election coverage are drawing record numbers of viewers to broadcast and cable coverage and the rise of video streaming service is allowing even people who have cut the cord with cable television to watch the debate on any number of social media and other outlets. Additionally, as noted, there were a number of factors at play on Sunday night, ranging from large numbers of people in Florida, Georgia, and North and South Carolina dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew and the fact that there was a football game on that involved two teams that have fan followings all across the country, the New York Giants, and the Green Bay Packers, meant that potentially millions of people were focused on something other than politics for most of Sunday evening, and  I can hardly blame them. Finally, the fact that many states have already started early and absentee voting could mean that many voters have already made up their minds and thus don’t see a reason to tune in to a debate late on a Sunday evening.

Notwithstanding the drop in viewers, and the fact that the Vice-Presidential debate drew lower ratings than any such debate in since 2000, it’s worth noting that viewership of the debates continues the pattern established in the primary for record numbers of viewers. Sunday’s debate got roughly the same number of viewers that the Romney and Obama debates did four years ago, and it’s entirely possible that we’ll see the numbers for the final debate on October 19tn return to something closer to the ratings for the first debate. What this means for the election is unclear. A good part of it could just be public fascination with the spectacle of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, both of whom have been celebrities in different ways for many years now, on a stage together that doesn’t translate into more voters coming to the polls. On the other hand, we could be looking at a numbers that are a reflection of intense interest in the election as a whole that will result in higher turnout both for early voting and on Election Day itself. In the end, only the final turnout numbers will answer that question.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Politicians, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
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. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. al-Alameda says:

    More from CNN media reporter Dylan Byers:

    The second Clinton-Trump debate had about 20% fewer viewers than the first face-off did.
    Why the drop-off? The “Sunday Night Football” game was definitely a factor. There is speculation that the ugly, bitter nature of the presidential campaign also had something to do with it.

    “I think people are repulsed by it now,” a senior TV executive said Monday morning when the overnight ratings came in.

    The audience was still massive by any measure. The six biggest channels that televised the debate — CNN, ABC, CBS, Fox News, MSNBC, and the Fox broadcast network — had a combined 60 million viewers.

    With the addition of Spanish language broadcasters and smaller channels, the total reached 66.5 million.

    It was a spectacle, in the same way that watching NASCAR to see the spin-outs and crashes into the wall is. Once I had the news that Trump planned to have Paula Jones, Juanita Broaderrick and Katherine Willey attend the debate as guests of the Trump campaign there was no way I was NOT going to watch this debate.

  2. gVOR08 says:

    In the end, only the final turnout numbers will answer that question.

    Two things keep me worried despite the gratifying rise in Hillary’s poll numbers. One is that I worry whether anyone’s turnout models are any good in this weird election. The other is hacked email releases. That didn’t used to worry me much, they’ll be mostly boring and maybe the Russians got Hillary’s secret toll house cookie recipe. But it now appears the Russians are both altering the emails and feeding them to Trump. I see this morning that Trump is saying he’s seen more emails and they’re bad. He won’t tell us what’s in them, but trust him, they’re bad. He may also have a secret list of commies in the State Dept. But he may be setting the stage for something he’s been told is coming.

    Gawd I wish I could dismiss that as paranoid raving. But I can’t.

  3. Moosebreath says:

    @gVOR08:

    “He won’t tell us what’s in them, but trust him, they’re bad”

    One of my unalterable rules of life is that anyone who says “Trust me” is lying.

  4. C. Clavin says:

    @gVOR08:

    But it now appears the Russians are both altering the emails and feeding them to Trump.

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/10/trump-knows-nothing-about-russia-repeats-their-propaganda.html
    And of course he’s too stupid to realize he’s being pranked.
    I’ve come to see Trump as the classic sufferer of Dunning-Kruger effect…at first I thought he was being malevolent…but now I realize he’s just one of those people who is just too stupid to know that he is stupid.
    But who is dumber? Trump? Or the idiots who support such an idiot?

  5. CSK says:

    @C. Clavin:

    He’s malevolent and stupid. Very bad combination, because it makes him doubly dangerous.

  6. barbintheboonies says:

    I don`t know about anyone else, but I would love to see a debate where each candidate gets to speak for awhile alone. Tells us what they want for the country, and not spend any time bad mouthing the other candidate. The media already does this. Take questions that are important to us all, and let the commentators dig up dirt later if they want. It makes me so uncomfortable to listen to 2 middle-aged people fighting like teen-ager`s. I end up turning it off.

  7. SenyorDave says:

    @barbintheboonies: I would agree if this was a normal election. But Trump has long since disqualified himself from consideration by any thinking person. His followers don’t want reasoned discourse from him, and the rest of the people don’t care because it would be ridiculous to believe anything out of his mouth at this point.

    And as far as two adults fighting like teenagers, that is back to the both sides do it narrative that is just false this election cycle. Clinton mostly talks about policy, Trump blathers on nonsensically or makes threats about putting his opponents in jail, but both side don’t do it. Its Trump. He’s now officially off the rails, has now gone full Breitbart.

  8. CSK says:

    @barbintheboonies:

    Barb, you’re asking Trump to do something of which he’s incapable.

  9. C. Clavin says:

    @CSK:
    But should we have a man…so easily manipulated by the Russians…as the POTUS???
    It’s one thing to see Jenos being a marionette…but someone with the nuclear codes?

  10. cian says:

    @barbintheboonies:

    Actually, the debates are working just fine. They are designed to allow voters watch the candidates react in real time under extreme pressure. 66.5 million people saw Trump bully, lie, and sniff his way through 90 glorious minutes. That foul odor you smell is the stink of his goose cooking on a fire of his own making. And that lovely tinkling sound is the sound of his numbers collapsing.

  11. CSK says:

    @C. Clavin:

    I think you may have misunderstood what I said, if you thought I was in any way even faintly endorsing Trump. The man’s a disaster, and I’ve been making that point loudly and consistently for over a year now.

    Trimp. Is. An. Unqualified. Disaster.

  12. barbintheboonies says:

    @SenyorDave: I blame our media for all this. It`s all about ratings and nothing about reporting and letting the public think for themselves. They stir the pot and add in commentary report only the stuff that will keep us pissed. They created this monster and his followers, and now they may have all of them tearing up our country. All for the almighty buck. Funny how you see these thugs make you feel sympathetic for one war ravished town, and by pass the places they drive through weekly that are run down by poverty. People forced to live there because it`s the only place they can afford. Weekly shootings are normal. Homeless men and women begging in the streets. Why are they not all over this. They have demonized them in the public eye. Notice they will always ask the person who makes them all look like fools, just like they did to the occupy movement. We are in a real life hunger games. We are the pawns, and they place us just where they want us. Manipulation, mind games. We applaud when our side gets ahead, and pissed when the other side does. We are all a game to them. These people run our government too.

  13. CSK says:

    The Washington Post quotes Donald Trump as saying in Ambridge, Pennsylvania that “other communities” are gearing up to steal the election.

    Of course he’s been talking about “rigged debates” and “stolen elections” for some time now, but he appears to be ramping it up. His internal polling must be abysmal.

  14. barbintheboonies says:

    @cian: If they were working fine I would at least know what and how either one plans to make things better for the country. I heard Donald`s plan, but not how he plans to make it work. Even if he could it would be disastrous. Hillary has not really said what she plans and if she did she did not get it across to me. She says she will work with congress, how does she expect to do what President Obama could not do in 8 years. Obama did get his affordable care act in place, but for many their premiums went up and coverage went down. I was all for this and got screwed again. I guess the insurance companies needed more and they got it.

  15. Mister Bluster says:

    @barbintheboonies:..I blame our media for all this.

    So the “media” is forcing us at gunpoint to turn on our TVs, our radios and phones and computers to see whatever antics Mr. and Mrs. America can come up with.

    HucksterBerry Hound must be proud!

    I almost wish that there would be something like a simultaneous telecast and all Americans would be forced, forced — at gun point no less — to listen to every David Barton message. And I think our country would be better for it. I wish it’d happen. Mike Huckabee

  16. SenyorDave says:

    @barbintheboonies: The media created Trump? He’s been a racist, sexist pig from day one, and his followers LOVE him for that. The media is complicit, but if his followers occasionally read a GD newspaper they could discover that Trump has stolen from his own charity, stiffed hundreds, if not thousands, of small businessowners, fronted a phony university (Trump U). His followers are the main problem, the same ignorant morons who bought into the birther thing, which was a main part of the start of his political career.

    The party is also complicit, where were Boehner, McConnell, et. al. when the birther thing was going on? The GOP is getting what they deserve, but the country doesn’t deserve it.

  17. Mikey says:

    I thought there’d be more viewers for this one than the first, given the appearance of the Access Hollywood tape, but I was wrong. I don’t watch much football so I forgot there was a game on Sunday evening.

    As far as Trump’s regurgitation of Russian propaganda, I haven’t yet figured out if he’s being rolled by the Kremlin or if he’s actually a willing stooge. It’s hard to tell, what with him being an inarticulate buffoon and all.

  18. C. Clavin says:

    @CSK:
    Of course…I was merely continuing the thought.

  19. michael reynolds says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Many months ago I offered four statements about Trump the man:

    1) That he is a psychopath, incapable of empathy, amoral, with an innate talent for spotting and exploiting weakness. Check.

    2) That he is rather stupid. Check.

    3) That he has Attention Deficit Disorder and probably dyslexia. Not proven, quite, but close enough for a Check.

    4) And I said that he is a pig of a human being. Check, check, check, for being even more of a swine than I thought.

  20. CSK says:

    @Mikey:

    He’s a willing stooge being rolled.

  21. barbintheboonies says:

    @Mister Bluster: No we are not held at gun point. We do this because we think we are doing the right thing. We are told only what they want us to know and as good sheep we go along.

  22. gVOR08 says:

    @barbintheboonies: I’m old enough to have watched the Nixon-Kennedy debates. You would have liked them.

    @barbintheboonies: That was also a time in which we had only three networks. The news was a money loser they provided only to meet the public service requirements of their licenses and which they used to build their brands. It was, I think, less competitive and less careerist. In any case, with three, it made no sense to cater to a small niche audience. There were also a handful of national newspapers and 2-1/2 news magazines. There was much more of a consensus mutually reinforcing a broad policy overlap between the two parties.

    I feel the two pillars of our current discontent are the Southern Strategy and the splintering of the media into niche markets.

  23. barbintheboonies says:

    @SenyorDave: Yes they deserve to be thrown out on their asses, but we know that will not happen. We pay for congress for life WOW they can destroy our country and go off into the sunset and we pay for them to enjoy the benefits. They get paid big bucks from lobbyist and us. It would be to their benefit to keep going on politics as usual. The people 1% them 99%

  24. CSK says:

    @michael reynolds:

    You forgot that Trump’s hypersensitive to imagined slights and is maniacally, singlemindedly vengeful.

    In short, he appears to have every personality trait of every homicidal dictator in history.

  25. barbintheboonies says:

    @gVOR08: I am probably as old as you, and I miss the stoic newscasters. They allowed me to think for myself, and I did not have to listen to the giggling idiots.

  26. grumpy realist says:

    @SenyorDave: His followers don’t care. Donald Trump is how they would like to be able to interact with the world–to grope women, commit adultery, walk away from promises (contracts), rage against anyone who pushes back against them, and in short, act like a screaming toddler.

    Trump has a religion all right–it’s the one in which he is God and gets to do anything he wants.

  27. Mister Bluster says:

    @barbintheboonies:..We do this because we think we are doing the right thing. We are told only what they want us to know and as good sheep we go along.

    Where do you get the idea that you can speak for “we”? You may think of yourself as a “sheep”.
    Leave me out of it!

    They allowed me to think for myself, and I did not have to listen to the giggling idiots.

    Why do you have to listen to giggling idiots today? Turn off the TV.

  28. Moosebreath says:

    @grumpy realist:

    “Trump has a religion all right–it’s the one in which he is God and gets to do anything he wants.”

    For my birthday, my brother got me a copy of Yuge, the collected Doonesbury comics over the years with Trump in them.

    There was a set I remembered from the late 1980’s where Mike’s first wife JJ was hired to paint murals for Trump’s yacht. She painted one based upon Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam, and Trump went ballistic because she used his face in place of Adam’s, instead of God’s. Seems like Trudeau nailed his character decades ago.

  29. Gromitt Gunn says:

    I couldn’t even bear to watch it. My roommate had it on in the living room, and I retreated to my room as much as I could.

  30. barbintheboonies says:

    @Mister Bluster: My bad I`m sorry.

  31. Mister Bluster says:

    @barbintheboonies:..Here are two sources for news that in my humble opinion are not staffed by giggling idiots.

    The Christian Science Monitor
    http://www.csmonitor.com

    British Broadcasting Corporation
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world/us_and_canada

  32. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @barbintheboonies: Before we get into your ranting about the media,

    I would love to see a debate where each candidate gets to speak for awhile alone

    That’s called a rally, not a debate.

    I’m pretty sure you really want each candidate to have a segment of TV-Radio time in which they are required to speak only about their goals and how they would achieve those goals.

    My desire/dream would be format in which the candidates would be penalized (cut off microphone, deduct speaking time for example) everytime they mention their opponent, their opponent’s plans, their opponents husband etc.

    That would satisfy the intellectuals among, but there is a YUGE audience for a cagematch. Now you can say that is what the “media” wants, but the canidate’s themselves want it because it activates their base.

  33. DrDaveT says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Why do you have to listen to giggling idiots today? Turn off the TV.

    @barbintheboonies has a legitimate point that it is significantly more difficult today to get reasonably neutral reporting of facts and analysis of issues than it used to be. Back in the day, you could just tune in to Walter Cronkite, with commentary by Eric Sevareid, and you’d be close. Today, where is the equivalent? All of the news media (TV, print, whatever) are for-profit entertainment ventures engaged in a Darwinian struggle to eliminate the neutral voice.

    Getting a clear picture of what’s really going on, how various policies might play out, and what the political chances of those policies are is now hard. Very hard. It’s research that most people do not have the time, patience, or skills to do. That’s the problem I think barb is pointing to.

  34. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @barbintheboonies:

    I blame our media for all this.

    Can I suggest that you be a bit more specific, “media” is an awfully gross generalization.

    For example, do you include this OTB site, as an object of your criticism? Do you make any distinction between CSM and Infowars?

    Do you blame the internet “for all this”. How about newspapers?
    Would you prefer censorship?

    While I will quite agree that some “media” is dominated by “giggling commentators”, you have the ultimate solution at hand……turn it off !

  35. DrDaveT says:

    @Bob@Youngstown:

    My desire/dream would be format in which the candidates would be penalized (cut off microphone, deduct speaking time

    That was my wife’s comment during the few minutes of the first debate that were all she could stand:

    If they were serious about limiting interruptions, they would turn off your mike when it isn’t your turn to speak.

  36. barbintheboonies says:

    @Bob@Youngstown: Can anyone who does not agree with me at least tell me what Hillary`s plan is and how she plans to get congress on board. If I missed something in the debate, and I admit I could not watch much. I need to have something to rally around, and to tell my Republican friends why I like Hillary without saying she is better than Trump, because every Republican candidate was better than him. The reason his base want him is he is not a politics as usual person, and they wish they could tear down the walls of our shameful government and rebuild it from scratch. They know he will create a storm unlike anything we ever seen until he is thrown out, probably within a week. The fact we got this far with him is mind blowing. Hillary to Trump supporters is a woman who knows the system and can double talk her way out situations, says all the right things to all the right people. I wish I could like her, but I don`t.

  37. Blue Galangal says:

    @CSK:

    Of course he’s been talking about “rigged debates” and “stolen elections” for some time now, but he appears to be ramping it up. His internal polling must be abysmal.

    I strongly suspect there is no internal polling, or if there is, none of its is being reported to him or his inner circle/listened to by same. There is no math they can do “as Republicans” to make themselves feel better at this point, so I think they’ve gone full-on Newt and truly believe that fact is what they “feel.” Cf. Trump’s repeated insistence that he is going to win because people show up in droves to his campaign events.

  38. C. Clavin says:

    @barbintheboonies:

    how she plans to get congress on board.

    Look…if you don’t vote for Clinton because Congress has become treasonous and refuses to do it’s job…then the terrorists win. That’s just short-sited and myopic. Especially when you consider that the alternative is giving someone like Trump a rubber-stamp Congress. Not 48 hours ago he threatened to use the power of the office against a political opponent. And that’s before he’s elected. What is he going to do once in office and free to do most anything he wants?

    And why exactly don’t you like her? Because the Republican echo chamber has been telling you not to for 30 years? There is some independent thought for you.

  39. barbintheboonies says:

    @C. Clavin: It still does not answer the question what is she running for? I know she`ll most likely win this election I have no doubt about it I just wish we had someone who was a leader for the people. I loved President Obama and believed in him, and felt let down. When we lost the seats in congress and the Republican`s vowed never to let Obama get anything past them we all lost. I cannot stand 4 or 8 years of the same.

  40. Blue Galangal says:

    @barbintheboonies: I think it’s our job to get Congress on board to some extent. Rejecting the Tea Party at the polls will help restore moderates to Congress. I also think Hillary will be less willing to trust the GOP’s assurances – she will work across the aisle in good faith, but I doubt she’ll continue to work with the GOP when they pull the football away; if I have any criticism of Obama, it’s that he believes in the good in all people, even Mitch McConnell. I don’t think Hillary suffers from the same belief, having borne the brunt of Republican attacks for 30 years. For this campaign, her messaging has been disciplined, if unexciting (not that that’s a bad thing in this cycle) and I have hope that the Democrats are finally learning to fight back against the conservative infotainment complex.

    As far as her specific policies, there are too many to outline here. A full list can be found at her website (www.hillaryclinton.com). Specifics on, for instance, her Wall Street agenda can be found here in PDF format with citations: https://m.hrc.onl/briefing/Hillary-Clintons-Wall-Street-Agenda.pdf

  41. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @barbintheboonies:

    and to tell my Republican friends why I like Hillary without saying she is better than Trump,

    then…

    I wish I could like her, but I don`t.

    If you don’t like her (as you say), why are you trying to tell your friends why you like her??

    My selection of HRC has nothing to do with whether I “like” her or not. I am selecting a leader for the country, not deciding who I like the most.

    My decision for the leader is the one who most closely represents my morality, my principles and values.

    On balance, Hillary, in spite of any real or imaginary shortcomings, is far-and-away a better representation of my values and principles than Donald.

    And that is what I tell my friends.

  42. C. Clavin says:

    @barbintheboonies:

    I loved President Obama and believed in him, and felt let down.

    Let down? Why? Because we got out of the worst recession since the depression? Because 20 million more people have insurance? Because Osama Bin Laden is dead? Because Iran has been prevented from building a nuclear weapon? Because he’s done more for the environment than any other President? Because we are all freer than 8 years ago? Because consumers are better protected? Because big banks are better regulated?
    You are blaming the wrong people for the dysfunction of a hyper-partisan Republican Congress and their feverish opposition. Stop listening to Fox News or wherever you are getting this nonsense.
    Obama has been one of the most successful and effective Presidents in history…in spite of all the Republican efforts to the contrary.
    Jesus-Gawd…if he was white and Republican they would already be carving his visage on Rushmore.

  43. Rodney dill says:

    Of course. There was a Packer game to watch.

  44. Tillman says:

    @DrDaveT: there’s always PBS, who I’ve been using to watch the debates.

    But PBS isn’t as sexy as network and cable news with their motormouthed pundits and tantalizing graphics.

  45. Blue Galangal says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Obama has been one of the most successful and effective* Presidents in history…in spite of all the Republican efforts to the contrary.

    *And scandal-free.

  46. Tillman says:

    @barbintheboonies: This is basically the problem I’ve had with Democrats the whole year long: the absolute focus on the presidency with occasional wish-fulfillment that Dems will somehow take the Senate, and the utter fever dream of taking the House. No one paying attention to the Clinton campaign’s strategy thinks the former is anything beyond a coin toss. (Older article, maybe something more recent has been done on this?) For the House, beyond gerrymandering, the national party didn’t focus on grooming candidates in districts that are now probably vulnerable due to Trump’s toxic brand. No, as long as Dems get the presidency, the coattails will solve the rest. Or at least we’ll have the presidency if nothing else.

    Vaguely reminds me of 1876. We probably won’t see a replay of that though. If we do, this country’s in serious trouble.

  47. Kari Q says:

    @gVOR08:

    This might cheer you up. It’s a review of early voting trends in North Carolina. It’s only one state and still early, but the data is good one for Hillary:

    But this election, while both Dems and independents have posted modest upticks relative to 2012 (107% and 106%, respectively), Republicans are voting at just 55% of their 2012 numbers. And this ‘Trump slump’ fully accounts for the overall decline in ABM voting so far.

    emphasis mine

  48. Jen says:

    @barbintheboonies:

    Can anyone who does not agree with me at least tell me what Hillary`s plan is and how she plans to get congress on board.

    Her plans are long and detailed and on her website. On getting congress on board–look at her track record as U.S. Senator. A number of Republicans have lauded her ability to reach across the aisle and work to get things done.

    I know that in this current climate reaching out to the other side and accomplishing things is considered tantamount to caving in, but it’s critical. She is a policy wonk who has ALWAYS done the hard work of trying to broach the divide. Heck, when she was at Wellesley she had to work with an administration and a student body that were at odds–and she did so. Few people have the leadership chops to do what she’s done since she was in college.

    She’s not personable. I get it. She’s guarded to the point of looking guilty–but ask yourself how you would treat your everyday existence if there was an ongoing and dedicated effort to catch anything you screw up on and then litigate the heck out of it in an effort to destroy your career. Most of us would have cracked by now had we been subjected to even a quarter of what she’s been through. She just seems to get stronger.

  49. DrDaveT says:

    @Tillman:

    there’s always PBS, who I’ve been using to watch the debates.

    Point taken. The News Hour certainly beats the network offerings.

    Nevertheless, I have been disappointed by the extent to which they, too, have stopped talking about the substance of proposals and instead have taken to calling the horse race. Of course, part of that is forced by the fact that The Donald has very few policies one could point to, and is a natural disaster all on his own, but that should be the story — not what the polls are doing, or why.

    (Also, for more than half of America watching PBS is a partisan act. The people who most need an injection of objective fact do not believe they can get it at PBS, which has been successfully slandered by the GOP as a leftist tool.)

  50. gVOR08 says:

    @barbintheboonies:

    Hillary to Trump supporters is a woman who knows the system and can double talk her way out situations, says all the right things to all the right people.

    They’re right. She is a skilled and experienced political operator. If there were a job description for President, that would right there at the top.

    @barbintheboonies:

    Can anyone who does not agree with me at least tell me what Hillary`s plan is and how she plans to get congress on board.

    Trump likes to make a big deal about telling ISIS when we’re going to attack Mosul. It’s because we have to pull together a recalcitrant coalition who hate each other and whose administrations are riddled with informers and spies; and because there’s no place to hide the logistics buildup. There’s no way to keep it a secret.

    McConnell and Ryan can only guess at Hillary’s targets and tactics. In any case, her plan, if she has one, is not something you want to campaign on. It won’t be dramatic and impressive. It’ll be small ball, a deal here, a threat there, and a lot of patience. Something that requires a skilled and experienced political operative.

  51. grumpy realist says:

    @gVOR08: That’s the major thing that far too many people forget: you can’t correct a battleship’s course within 30 seconds. It takes time.

    (And if, godforbid, Trump were to become elected, I suspect he would be led out of the White House in a straitjacket within one month, as he discovered all the checks-and-balances he has been so negligently avoiding. Not that he couldn’t do a heck of a lot of damage in the interim…)

  52. Tillman says:

    @DrDaveT: they also make the constant mistake of thinking David Brooks has worthwhile things to say.

  53. C. Clavin says:

    This is dangerous…
    At a Pence rally today:

    The rallygoer, who identified herself as Rhonda, told the Indiana governor that many in the room are “scared of voter fraud” in the upcoming general election—garnering applause from fellow attendees. Our lives depend on this election,” she continued, “and I will tell you that, if Hillary Clinton gets in… I’m ready for a revolution because we can’t have her in.” Pence responded, “Don’t say that,” prompting Rhonda to declare that she is “like Trump” in that she speaks the truth on behalf of the crowd. Although he did not denounce her words any further, Pence attempted to calm the conversation, saying, “There’s a revolution coming on November the 8th, I promise you.”

    Trump:

    At rallies in Pennsylvania this week, Trump has made the most pointed case yet that the only way he can lose the presidency is if it is stolen from him through voter fraud.
    More specifically, he insisted that Pennsylvania will be wrongly wrested from his grasp due to shenanigans in Philadelphia. “We have to make sure we’re protected. We have to make sure the people of Philadelphia are protected, that the vote counts are 100 percent,” Trump said in Wilkes-Barre. “I hear these horror shows and we have to make sure that this election is not stolen from us and is not taken away from us. And everybody knows what I’m talking about.”

    Trump is almost certain to lose…the most accurate election forcasters say he hasn’t led this race at all, or maybe for a nano-second. And yet he is out telling the rubes that it’s close and it has to be stolen for Clinton to win. He is actively undermining the democratic process. If he can’t win he is going to burn it all down.
    This is not going to end well.

  54. Jen says:

    @C. Clavin: I just posted in another thread that the WSJ (and others, Chuck Todd on Twitter) are now suggesting the burn-it-down strategy is an effort to depress overall voter turnout. Trump (or Bannon) think that by firing up the base and making everyone else disgusted could make him competitive. They are probably also banking on some votes being thrown to Johnson or Stein in protest.

    I don’t know. I don’t THINK it can work at this stage in the game, but who knows?

  55. CSK says:

    @C. Clavin:

    I was talking with some friends about this the other day, and we had concluded that Clinton had to win big in order to prevent some kind of insurrection. It sounds melodramatic to contemplate, but Trump’s fans, like Trump himself, are not wrapped too tightly.

  56. JohnMcC says:

    @Jen: That’s pretty amazing (which isn’t the same at all as saying I don’t believe you!). Remember when they were going to win by increasing the white turnout to never-before-seen levels. That was — gosh — last month! Maybe two weeks ago. Good times.

  57. gVOR08 says:

    @CSK: I don’t know about win big enough to prevent an insurrection, but I’d sure like to see her win big enough the Trump name is dirt and Trump’s spit weasel son-in-law has to seek honest work.

  58. Jen says:

    @JohnMcC: Indeed. Two, three weeks ago…those were simpler times…

  59. CSK says:

    @gVOR08:

    I think the son-in-law is employed by his own father. In any case, there appears to be sufficient family money so that the son-in-law never has to work another day in his life.

    As for Trump’s brand being trashed, I hope so. The thing about his gaudy, tacky hotels is that the people who would like to stay there don’t have the money to do so, and those who have the money wouldn’t be caught dead in any place that has gold leaf on the night tables.

  60. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @DrDaveT: Also, they would turn it off after your two minutes were up.

  61. grumpy realist says:

    @CSK: Ah yes, the Russian bordello look….

    One of the threads I was reading somewhere had a comment by someone who said he had been visiting Las Vegas and had asked the taxicab driver how many people he was now regularly driving to Trump’s hotel and got a roar of laughter in return.

    Zilch. Ab-so-lute-ly zilch.

    The guy had the taxicab driver let him off by Trump’s hotel just to pop in and he said it was totally deserted except for one receptionist snoozing at the desk.

    I figure that the next pass in this imbroglio will be people insisting that “Trump” be taken off the buildings they live in due to the collapse in property values it causes…..

  62. grumpy realist says:

    And if things weren’t Bad Enough for The Donald, Spy is back!

    I expect a lot of 3 AM whining from the Talking Yam.

  63. Mr. Bluster says:

    @DrDaveT:.. Back in the day,…

    Ah the “Good Old Days”! When the news was read by shills for big tobacco.

    John Cameron Swayze was chosen in 1949 to host NBC’s first television newscast, the fifteen-minute Camel News Caravan.
    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/77/86/a0/7786a0914faf2206510399b9588b5c0c.jpg
    (gotta love the “Thinker” bookend)

    David Brinkley on a commercial he did for Camel Cigarettes.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6C3RO8S4oE

    What is everyone complaining about? My TV at home does not get any channels. The internet and AM/FM radio provide me with more than enough national and international political and social information.
    I guess we should go back to “The Day” (whenever that was?) of three 15 minute long TV Network Newscasts (all broadcast in the same time slot so you can only watch one) so it won’t be such a challenge to explore current issues.
    Or citizens could follow Tom Hanks advice to his AAGPBL players: “Use your head. That’s that lump three feet above your ass!”

  64. grumpy realist says:

    Great article over at Politico.

    Maybe after this is all over, the media takes a good long look at itself and realizes how much they covered up for this troglodyte.

    I want, not just Trump to go down, but every single one of the malevolent clowns surrounding him to be driven out of polite society. I want them to be reduced to having to pump gas in Podunk, Nowhere Flats.

  65. C. Clavin says:

    @grumpy realist:

    I want them to be reduced to having to pump gas in Podunk, Nowhere Flats.

    I’m pretty sure that is what Jenos does.

  66. Moosebreath says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Quite a read.

  67. Mr. Bluster says:

    @grumpy realist:.. I want them to be reduced to having to pump gas in Podunk, Nowhere Flats.

    Don’t know if Oregon or New Jersey would want Jenos.
    Those are the only states that prohibit self service gas pumps.

  68. gVOR08 says:

    @grumpy realist:
    I hope the fwcks at POLITICO cover Trump’s collapse as closely as they followed, and drove, his rise.