The Stretch Drive (7)

This morning’s election briefing offers the following items to process:

The ABC/Washington Post tracking poll has the race dead even today, at 46-46, but includes the finding that Donald Trump is now deemed more trustworthy than Hillary Clinton. Heh. (And the idiosyncratic LA Times poll has Trump up nearly six points today.)

One of the questions confronting the pollsters and election modelers was whether Hillary could match Obama in achieving the same high turnout of millennials and minority voters. The New York Times sends out a panic flare this morning that the answer may be No:

Black Turnout Falls in Early Voting, Boding Ill for Hillary Clinton

African-Americans are failing to vote at the robust levels they did four years ago in several states that could help decide the presidential election, creating a vexing problem for Hillary Clinton as she clings to a deteriorating lead over Donald J. Trump with Election Day just a week away.

As tens of millions of Americans cast ballots in what will be the largest-ever mobilization of early voters in a presidential election, the numbers have started to point toward a slump that many Democrats feared might materialize without the nation’s first black president on the ticket.

And RealClearPolitics reports:

Leslie Wimes, the president of the Democratic African-American women’s caucus, joins MSNBC’s Hallie Jackson to discuss the Clinton campaign being in “panic mode” about low voter enthusiasm in the black community.

“We love President Obama,” she said. “That doesn’t transfer to Hillary Clinton by osmosis.”

“It’s over now as far as the African-American community is concerned. She had time back then to get into the community and get people out to vote. Now, you know, the numbers are the numbers. There’s nothing she can do now.”

She added: “What I said before is she didn’t have the luxury of being Barack Obama. We are not as enthusiastic about seeing the first woman president as we were about seeing the first African-American.”

The old Chicago slogan “vote early and often” seems to be coming true this cycle. With a potentially close result in prospect, will “irregularities” in early-voting become the Florida 2000 scenario of this election? Some states allow early voters to change their mind and re-cast their vote. You can change your early vote in Wisconsin, Minnesota, New York, Connecticut, Louisiana, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. How does this process work? I have no idea, but it’s likely that most people who change their vote now are moving away from Hillary. I can easily imagine confusion over which ballots are the “right” ballots, and lots of legal challenges over the result. Another reason to curtail the promiscuous use of early voting. Make election-day great again!

Medical marijuana is now legal for medical or recreational use in 25 states, and several more may legalize it by ballot initiative next week. But I’m wondering if a lot of people haven’t jumped the gun with one of the crazier Evan McMullin scenarios, which requires a huge cloud of purple haze to believe.

It goes like this: McMullin wins Utah, and deprives both Hillary and Trump of 270 electoral votes, thus throwing the race to the House of Representatives, where Republicans are likely to hold the advantage. But the Constitution restricts the choice of the House to the top three finishers in the electoral collage vote. What if, the scenario runs, McMullin instructs his Utah electors to cast their votes for Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan instead? Voila! President Romney or President Ryan!

Much as I would prefer Romney or Ryan to Trump, I can think of no step that would wreck the Republican Party faster than House Republicans ignoring a vote result that put Trump within one state of winning the race, and picking someone who didn’t run. But then, a studied distance from reality seems to be a qualification for office in Washington these days. . .

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