Opinions, Context & Ideas from the TPM Editors TPM Editor's Blog

Great Public Moment

Because of the seriousness of the issue, I'm taking the rare step of posting to the Editor's Blog a twitter poll I just posted on my Twitter account.

Yep

To be clear, I don't buy that there's any real tightening in the race between Clinton and Trump. But TPM Reader BL still has a point ...

I agree that the shift in the polls, though it may not prove durable, should not be dismissed out of hand. Quite possibly, we are seeing the readiness of a large swathe of white Americans to vote for literally anybody. Under these conditions, the future course taken by Bernie Sanders becomes more important than ever. His supporters, in my view, have seriously damaged Clinton, not by supporting Sanders, but by flooding social media with claims that she is corrupt. By doing so, they have amplified her negatives. Nonetheless,Clinton is still virtually certain to become the nominee. If Sanders really supports her, she should win. If he withholds real support, he greatly increases the chances of a very close election and of a political catastrophe of unfathomable dimensions.

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Trump's Tax Returns

A few thoughts on Trump and his tax returns. He now says he'll never release them - November means never, in political terms. So what's the deal?

A few thoughts.t

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Is Donald Trump Making a Move in the Polls?

Yesterday Quinnipiac came out with batch of swing state polls showing Donald Trump near even or ahead in three key swing states - Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio. In recent cycles, the Q poll has tended to be Republican friendly at least in part because it models the electorate with fewer college educated voters and fewer minority voters than other pollsters; indeed, fewer than the number who've shown up in recent presidential elections. But this morning Reuters/Ipsos released its latest weekly poll which shows Trump just 1 point behind Clinton at Clinton 41, Trump 40. The same poll showed Trump 9 points back just one week ago.

That's a big big move and from a poll that hasn't shown a clear GOP lean.

So what's up?

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Paul Ryan's Very Telling Silence

House Speaker Paul Ryan just took a small number of questions about Donald Trump and his efforts to genuinely unify the GOP for the November election. It was notable what he did and did not say.

The gist of Ryan's remarks is that there are different wings in the GOP, as there is in any national political coalition, and they need to unify around a common message while accepting existence of different wings, different policy positions, etc. Secondly, it's been a deeply bruising primary. Simply on an interpersonal level, it takes a while to absorb and get past that.

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Good Luck With That

One of the great privileges of being in Congress is the relative anonymity, the anonymity of numbers. That may sound counter-intuitive or even nonsensical; but it's true. Very few pieces of legislation are sufficiently politicized to focus a spotlight individually on the hundreds of members of the House of Representatives. It's scarcely less true of the Senate. Even when issues or bills do gin up sufficient attention members can usually skate by with bromides about considering all the relevant issues or giving this important issue careful consideration and other such can-kicking nonsense. Then there are all the parliamentary complexities that help further muddy the picture. Without any way to get a clear sense of where people stand and which votes count, politicians can do what they do best, which is to keep their options open as long as possible and hope that hard decisions never have to be made at all. The key is that there's safety in the herd. As long as there's some diffuse, collective decision-making and no real way to pin particular people down, everybody is safe.

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