The Likely Outcome Of The Latest Trump Revelations

You know the problem. Not just the release of the "I'd grab her ..." tape, but starting before that. Here, watch:

A roughly written Facebook comment by me, reacting to much of the reaction I'm seeing:

To everyone who is saying that Trump is out of the race because of his admitted preference for sexual assault as a way of getting women to like him: Sorry, you are wrong, and you may be living in a bubble.

Do a transect across humanity, in the US. You will find that a double digit percentage of both women and men (though I'll allow you the possibly true but possibly not true idea that more men than women) view intersexual relationships exactly as Trump views them. Not only that, but they probably view this as both normal and, suddenly, politically preferred.

(While you are doing your transect of society, take notes on decals and bumper stickers on pick up trucks. You will see the correlation between "Trump for President" stickers and "Get her drunk and get her done" stickers.)

Putting this a slightly different way, now that sexual assault is part of the known Trump behavioral repertoire (it already was, but for some reason these remarks are being taken seriously while earlier indications were not), it is now a feature of Republican philosophy (yes, my dear friends and family who are Republicans, you are now part of the Sexual Assault is OK Party, so let's see how long you can live with that!)

This revelation may affect the distribution of support for Trump at close to the level that a bad debate performance will. Not much, but a little.

Second point: All the talk about replacing trump, or how would that work, etc. etc. is pretty much information free yammering.
On one hand, it is virtually impossible to change a ticket.

No, you can't replace the Presidential candidate with the VP candidate. It simply does not work that way.That is not what the VP candidate is or does. Even if a ticket was elected and the president elect died, the VP would not take over that position (this doe not apply after the electors have chosen, thanks to Steve for noting my ambiguity here). The VP has no role in party or national politics or governance other than to replace the president on the event of the president's death, or in certain other situations.
On the other hand, the electors are not legally bound at the federal level to do anything in particular. They are bound at the state level. I'm pretty sure that faithless electors, say, the electors from a state that are supposed to vote for Trump vote for someone else instead, were charged by their state's attorney, that would be thrown out of court at the federal level like moldy cottage cheese.

Of course, what electors would do this, and for whom would they vote? They'd be from that population of inexperienced but energized by Sanders or Trump to join up, who somehow got to be electors. There are probably no more than a handful of such individuals, most electors are experienced in the process. But in a close election it would only take a few electors voting for a third party to send the entire process to the House of Representatives. This is highly unlikely, but it would give us a non-elected Republican president for four years. Cruz? Romney? Gingrich? the fight would be epic.

It is possible that this process gets ruined so far down the line that this does not work either, and we get to the part in the Constitution that says something like, "Hand the problem over to The Congress and they will figure out, in a manner they deem appropriate, who the next president is"

(The process for the VP is parallel and different. Senate not house, etc.)

So, to summarize:

1) No, this revelation has no real meaning, no real new information, and will have no effect. Trump really is the candidate because he represents the party that nominated him, nothing has changed.

2) Most of the yammering about what might happen or what might be done is based on zero understanding or information about anything.

I made a big ugly graphic to summarize two possible effects: small vs. large. Unfortunately, the Monday debate will be conflated with this effect. Let's check back on Friday and see.


Of course, according to my four day theory (there will be a major October surprise every four days until the election) there will be yet another big news story on Tuesday (plus or minus one day) so it may be impossible to test this hypothesis.


More like this

True. But this is pretty raw. If you think of it as a boxing match (where admittedly things can go sideways in a hurry) this isn't a knockout. But the effects of repeated blows are cumulative. So long as Clinton can hang in, this will help cement her lead.

Look at it this way, that people are taking this seriously now (it has the ring of a direct admission + maybe journos are starting to take their jobs more seriously) is a hint of a possible sea change. We'll have to see what happens.


By Obstreperous A… (not verified) on 08 Oct 2016 #permalink

Electors are party hacks selected for past loyalty to the party. The likelihood of any of them breaking ranks is nil.

By Don A in Penns… (not verified) on 08 Oct 2016 #permalink

Don, then why have so many party hacks (who are not electors), famous for past loyalty to the party, broken ranks and publicly, officially done everything from denouncing Trump, declaring they will not vote for Trump, declaring they will vote for Hillary, to outright endorsing Hillary for POTUS?

I think we're a bit past the point where we can say with any conviction that the electors will not break ranks. They were made part of the system specifically to break ranks in the rare (now current) situation where too many of the populace lose their collective minds and vote for a dangerous demagogue.

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 08 Oct 2016 #permalink

OA @ #1, if you want to get depressed look around at the "Come on guys, did Trump say anything wrong or that we haven't said about women ourselves?" posts going around different places. (They usually go on to say this was released to take attention away from more of Hillary's emails having been released.)

It is to be hoped that Donald's tireless outreach to the female voter will bear fruit.

Yeah, they're following the lead of Li'l Lord Trumpleroy saying to his minions that this was locker room talk and that Bill Clinton has said worse. It's what you'd expect from the Creepy Orange Clown's troll camp. It's the same quality of crap that douche bag trolls have beed trying to distribute at Scienceblogs for years...

The interesting regions of the polls are the margins where they rise and fall. That's where the action is.

(And so you know, I'm already depressed by all the Trump/Pence signs that have sprouted like poisonous mushrooms in my neighborhood-- a lot of senility out there.)

By Obstreperous A… (not verified) on 08 Oct 2016 #permalink

Me @ #7 was a response to dean @ #5.

By Obstreperous A… (not verified) on 08 Oct 2016 #permalink

See above, I've added a graphic and some text just above and below it.

"Even if a ticket was elected and the president elect died, the VP would not take over that position."

Things get complicated if the Electoral College has yet to vote (sounds like the choice would probably go to the House) but if after that a president-elect dies then the veep-elect takes the office on January 20th. Details.

By Steve Bloom (not verified) on 08 Oct 2016 #permalink

Just to add, if it did go to the House I think they'd have a very hard time justifying not giving it to the veep-elect.

By Steve Bloom (not verified) on 08 Oct 2016 #permalink

The big rumor last night was that "several" high-ranking Republicans were trying to convince Pence to drop out of the race.

I have been keeping journals for our sons since before they arrived (they are both adopted). The older boy has 22 years of journals so far, the younger boy 20. This election year's events have been, are now, and will probably continue to be the second highest discussions (after September 11th).

Steve, correct. If there is a qualified president and VP before inauguration, then that is the president and vice president, so the VP would step in for the president.

If it goes to the house, they don't have to justify anything. The fact that people widely believe that succession applies before the electors act (or, for that mater, that primaries are part of our national constitutionally prescribed system of election) shouldn't play a role and likely wouldn't.

It would only go to the house if no candidate gets a majority of electoral votes. If the non-winning candidate dies, there is no issue.

My understanding is that the House is expected to choose among candidates who have received at least one electoral vote. So a lot would depend on what the electors did. If they all chose to vote for the winning vice-presidential candidate, then that candidate would become President. It only really matters if the winning candidate dies before the electoral college votes, and his electors don't agree on an alternative candidate. I don't think the electors would be bound in that scenario.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 10 Oct 2016 #permalink

One day later:

Per CBS radio network news, 25% of Republican leaders are not endorsing Trump: I'd consider that a large effect.

Polling shows an 8% spread between Clinton and Trump: that's within your "small effect" boundary. Per extensive posts by knowledgeable activists on Daily Kos (progressive Democratic site), an 8% spread is also the boundary to the territory where the House as well as the Senate is in play.

Today's latest Trump tweet-storm includes "finally the shackles are off!" and there are indications he is going to further sabotage House Republicans for not supporting him.

And lastly, your hypothesis about 4-day intervals between big news items was further supported by this one: Trump read at a speech, a purported Wikileaks email from or about Sid Blumenthal, conceding all the Republicans' points about Benghazi.

However, that version of the email had a very specific error, that attributed to Blumenthal something that Blumenthal had quoted in from a Newsweek story. It was an error that was briefly posted on the website of Sputnik, a Russian news agency. The probability that someone on Trump's campaign staff made the same error by random coincidence is small, therefore two hypotheses occur to me:

a) Both Sputnik and Trump's staff member made the same error independently due to some aspect of the way the email was formatted when released by WIkileaks: therefore that Wikileaks may have deliberately used that formatting to give that impression.

b) Someone on Trump's staff is taking their news items from various Russian sources including Sputnik. That "someone" is what you could call a mole, or at least someone who has Russian interests in mind to influence Trump. But they are acting independently based on their interest in promoting Russian views, rather than acting on specific orders from Russia. That is, "shared interests" rather than "overt conspiracy."

I don't consider it likely that there is an "overt conspiracy" going on there. However, it's clear that there is a commonality of interest between Russian propaganda and Trump propaganda. And the distorted Blumenthal email makes that very clear.

I would argue that there's sufficient "there" there for DOJ to start a FARA investigation: potential Foreign Agents Registration Act violation, which is a felony. We've already seen a potential FARA violation by former Trump campaign chief Manafort, so the likelihood is that he is not the only one.

Stay tuned...!

"Electors are party hacks selected for past loyalty to the party. The likelihood of any of them breaking ranks is nil."

there are already multiple electors saying they will not vote for the candidate they ostensibly represent. last i checked, one Dem in Washington will not vote for Clinton (he's a Sanders dead-ender) and two GOP electors will not vote for Trump.