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Was Melania Trump an "Illegal"? (Also Argh!!!)

I cringed this morning when I read this story in Politico which pretty clearly demonstrated that Melania Trump was an undocumented worker for years when she began her modeling career in the US in the mid-90s. I say I cringed not because there's anything wrong with the piece but because we too were working on it back in February and March and had it pretty well nailed. The hold up was that there was at least one theoretically possible way she could have been legal that we couldn't definitively rule out since the Trumps' of course were not going to answer any questions or provide any of her immigrants papers. The irony in all of this is that the evidence against Trump comes almost entirely from her own mouth, specifically a January interview she gave to Harper's Bazaar and a subsequent TV interview with Mika Brzezinski in which she explained that she was nothing like those awful 'illegals' her husband wants to expel en masse.

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This One's Special

Zachary Roth was our go-to reporter on voting rights and voter suppression issues for years. He left TPM a while back and now he's out with a whole book on the topic, The Great Suppression: Voting Rights, Corporate Cash, and the Conservative Assault on Democracy. This is an incredibly important issue at any time. But it's very relevant today with the raft of recent court decisions knocking down state voter suppression laws and Donald Trump's new push to put bogus claims of 'voter fraud' at the center of the election and perhaps use them to lay the groundwork to contest a loss in November. Zack is going to join us for a Live Chat in The Hive (sub.req) tomorrow at 1 pm eastern.

Come by and get your question in now or join us tomorrow at 1 pm.

Donald Trump's Fall from Grace: It wasn't exactly from being Dumb

I had expected that when Donald Trump sewed up the Republican nomination, he would jettison some of his more non-Republican economic positions on trade, runaway shops, and government spending. I also expected that he would forego his incendiary anti-PC rhetoric on Mexicans, Muslims, and women. I was wrong on both counts. His economic stands might have made the election competitive, especially in the industrial Midwest, but his casual bigotry – typified by his remarks on the “Mexican” judge and by his recent attempt to defame the Khan family – have cut him off the from the 10-15 percent of the Republican and independent electorate who don’t share his economic positions, but would have been willing to vote for him out of distaste for Hillary Clinton and/or loyalty to the Republican party.

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It Doesn't Get Easier

Let me start by saying I see no chance that Trump withdraws from the race, despite Republican wishful thinking to the contrary. Call it big game unicorn hunting. But unicorn studies is a perfectly respectable discipline. So I wanted to explore one aspect of this scenario. In the quite unlikely case of Trump leaving the race, who would replace him? My understanding is that in this all but unprecedented situation the Republican National Committee would convene and pick a replacement. Even if they wanted to canvas the views of Republicans nationwide there's simply no practical way and no time to do that.

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That Ship Has Sailed

There's a lot of chatter this morning - based on absolutely nothing, so far as I can tell - that Donald Trump might drop out of the presidential race. I emphasize: as far as I can tell, chatter based on nothing but what I suspect is wishful thinking on the part of Republicans. At the same time, reporters are quoting high level Republicans sources saying that in the next few days top tier Republicans might come out in opposition to Trump. I will totally believe it when I see it.

But I can't help but note what seems obvious.

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2016 TPM Electoral Scoreboard

I'm excited to announce the debut of our 2016 TPM Electoral Scoreboard. In 2012 the Scoreboard was our most popular tool of the entire election season. The Senate Scoreboard will debut soon. (Click on the image below to go to the Scoreboard page.)

The Scoreboard runs off polling data from PollTracker. And unlike many other predictive maps it runs purely on poll data. It debuts today with Clinton at 271 electoral votes, Trump with 179 and 88 in the Toss-up category.

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Seeing Russia, the Khans and Donald All Together

I'd like to take a moment to pull together a series of recent threads on Donald Trump. We've now seen another episode of Donald Trump's impulsive and self-destructive behavior play out in his fight with the Khan family. There was a less noted moment where he apparently didn't realize that Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula two years ago and has been operating in eastern mainland Ukraine ever since. This brings me back to my early posts drawing concern to Trump's mix of policy friendliness and financial ties with Russia and especially persons in the orbit of Vladimir Putin. They all flow together in ways that may not at first be clear.

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