Monday, October 10, 2016

Trump Stops Some Of The Bleeding But The Ship Still Leaks; He Shores Up Base At Debate, Plus: Susana's Trump Position; Clear Enough? 

Going into last night's debate Donald Trump looked like a dead man walking. A performance that beat low expectations restored his pulse, at least among Republicans. It will probably slow or even halt the prominent GOP defections that Trump has endured since release of the now infamous sex tape.

Former ABQ City Councilor and attorney Greg Payne, now a Democrat and one of our '16 analysts, came with this take:

Hillary could have taken him out at the debate, but she didn't so the election is not a done deal. I am not saying he is on the track to winning, but the race is still in play. Any other politician would have ended their campaign after release of that tape, but this is Trump and he lives to fight another day.

Clinton partisans like former Lt. Gov. Diane Denish pushed back against that widespread narrative:

Women saw him stalking. His facial expressions were better but his body stalking was awful. Life support is keeping something alive but you can't take him off the ventilator. More analysis to come but as they unravel the fact checking, he won't be in good stead.

Well, it does seem Trump's debate performance makes it at least more difficult for Republicans to continue to jump off his ship while he shores up his base. That brings us to Susana Martinez.

You can argue that Gov. Martinez pretty much ruled out voting for Trump in her weekend statement condemning the GOP presidential nominee, but she did not. Martinez cited her previous refusal to "support" Trump and reiterated she does not "support" him now. That fell short of what some other Republican leaders have said, including Arizona Sen. John McCain, who flatly ruled out voting for the GOP nominee, saying;

Cindy and I will not vote for Donald Trump.

Previously the Governor said she would not vote for Clinton or Libertarian Gary Johnson. In the game of politics, semantics is always an issue. So will Martinez unequivocally state she will not vote for Trump and not just rule out "support" for him? And if she isn't voting for Trump, Johnson or Clinton, who the heck is she voting for? Of course, Martinez doesn't have to tell us but what would that say about her own leadership?


For Lt. Governor John Sanchez the Trump tape put him in that proverbial spot of between a rock and a hard place. He badly wants to be the 2018 GOP gubernatorial nominee and will need the Trump supporters to help him. With that on the line, Sanchez did not go nearly as far as Martinez and other GOP leaders in criticizing the Donald:

I am beyond disappointed by Donald Trump's remarks. As I think of moms, wives, daughters, sisters and all women, I am bothered and angered after hearing these comments. Women should be respected at all times and should never be objectified in such a vulgar manner.

Again, the question for Sanchez, like Martinez, is simple: "Will you or won't you vote for Donald Trump?"

Southern GOP Congressman Steve Pearce, another possible 2018 GOP Guv contender, went dark and issued no statement on Trump and the sex tape as of Sunday night. Earlier he said he was not endorsing Trump but would be voting for him. See what we mean about semantics?

How did the NM GOP handle the tricky Trump territory of a vulgar sex tape combined with a good debate performance? Here's how:

Trump's resilient performance in the debate was what his campaign needed tonight. Mr. Trump effectively redirected the narrative back toward the critical issues this country faces and the many failures of Hillary Clinton. The Republican Party of New Mexico certainly does not condone the language used nor the actions described in the video of Mr. Trump, however we believe Mr. Trump to be a different man than that today and that he is the better choice for president. As Mr. Trump reminded us, this election is about what Hillary Clinton claims she'll do, yet has not done over the past 30 years. If we do not want another four years like the failed status quo of the past eight years, Donald Trump is our only chance to make America great again.

Now that's a lot different than what GOP Gov. Martinez was saying about Trump, wasn't it?


While Sanchez held back some on Trump, another possible '18 Guv candidate, ABQ Dem Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham, seemed to take things to the extreme, saying of Trump's sex tape comments:

This is consistent with the behavior of sexual predators. It’s an assault on women of the worst kind, and it now shows that Donald Trump is not fit for the human race. For those Republicans who are still standing with Trump, they are doing so with the full knowledge that he will not change his dangerous views and behavior against women.

Uh, does that mean you're for bringing back the death penalty, Michelle?


This is probably the most on target email we received following the Trump-Clinton debate last night:

Analyzing Trump & Clinton's Second Debate Performance - Psychologist Available For Interviews


Will Gary Johnson benefit from the Trump troubles? He could as voters look for an alternative and cast their lot with the Libertarian presidential nominee, a former two term NM Governor. Still, we are having trouble wrapping our head around that ABQ Journal poll that showed Johnson getting 24 percent of the vote in NM. That seems off the charts. Pollster Brian Sanderoff gave this explanation:

In the Journal Poll, Gary Johnson had much higher support levels among the cell phone respondents (52% of the surveys) than the landline respondents (sort of like the Bernie Sanders phenomenon). Also the Journal Poll was in the field in late Sept.--27 thru 29, before some of Gary Johnson's public blunders had spread.

Young voters are less prone to actually vote and the Johnson blunders are sure to have taken a toll on him. But with Trump so unpredictable it's impossible to say how Johnson will perform here. What a year!

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