There's something I want to flag. There's always been some debate over whether the national debate 'commission', which no one picked to be in charge of debates but simply created itself, should control the presidential debate regime. That said, they've actually done quite a good job of it over the generation they've run the process. As political debates go, the debates are pretty substantive. And they've made it much more difficult for the frontrunner to set the terms of debating or in theory choose not to debate at all. Aside from minor negotiations at the margins, they've never budged from any of their decisions over format, moderators, timing, etc. But ... this year we still haven't heard who the moderators are going to be because the Commission is trying to be sure they pick people who Donald Trump or his supporters won't view as biased against him.
That is a huge, huge problem. Obviously this should always be a top priority. The moderators shouldn't have a bias against either candidate. But Trump of course sees everybody who is not obsequious and toady-ish as biased against him. Over recent weeks he's made Sean Hannity his official interviewer, like a doofus Boswell to Trump's clownshow Dr. Johnson.
On Friday The Guardian uncovered that Steve Bannon was registered to vote at a residence in Florida where he does not in fact live. In response to that story, Bannon moved his registration to the home of business associate and sometime Breitbart contributor Andy Badolato, also in Florida. That's curious since, again, Bannon doesn't seem to live in Florida or maintain even a nominal residence there. If he gets dinged for being registered to vote in a state he doesn't live in, why switch to another address in the same state? Perhaps there's some home he lives in in Florida that I haven't heard about. But if he does, why is he registering to vote at the house of Andy Badolato?
I asked someone familiar with Bannon where he actually lived. I'm told he has a loft in New York City and a condo he co-owns in Los Angeles. When he's in DC he stays at a place the Breitbart crew refers to as the 'Breitbart Embassy', actually a townhouse owned by an Egyptian businessman.
The TPM Senate Scoreboard currently stands at Democrats 50, GOP 49, Toss Up 1. (This count includes independents with whichever party they caucus with.) Beneath the numbers the Democrats look well positioned to control the Senate in 2017.
In the novel we're currently living in, this would be an unrealistic plot development. The editor would strike it from the narrative. But Donald Trump has no editor. So this is happening. Trump is hiring Bill Stepien, a central, implicated and almost immediately fired, figure in the Christie Bridgegate scandal as his national field director. Yes, that's happening. And yes, you're supposed to have a national field director before late August. And quite possibly, yes, this means the Trump field campaign will focus on engineering a crippling election day traffic jam in every black neighborhood in the country. Here's the full story.
This is far from the biggest problem plaguing Donald Trump's campaign. But as we get into the thick of the fall campaign, it's worth noting. Kellyanne Conway now carries the label campaign manager. But that does not appear to be what she's doing. Campaign Managers seldom make many press appearances. Frequently they're almost totally invisible to the public. In part that's because it's a different skill set. But the bigger issue is that being campaign manager requires a huge investment of time. You simply don't have time to do the job while making constant TV appearances - especially self-destructive, or at least campaign self-destructive appearances like Conway's appearance on Rachel Maddow's show.