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On the roster: Independents Day: Trump needs nonpartisan landslide - Ohio voter purge gets green light - Audible: Canadian cross check - Dem election commissioners blocked in bid to punish Fox News - Nothing basic about his cable package
INDEPENDENTS DAY: TRUMP NEEDS NONPARTISAN LANDSLIDE
There are more Democrats in America than there are Republicans. And that’s a longstanding fact. It was a difference of 6 points in the last cycle and will probably be at least that much this time.
But as partisan identification has slipped under the weight of cultural and geographical dislocation, both parties have shrunk. The rise of the independents has been one of the dominant political stories of this generation. Less than a quarter of the electorate 20 years ago, this year independents may approach one third of the total vote.
Put simply, either party needs lots of independent voters to win, but Republicans need more.
The latest Fox News poll shows de facto Republican nominee Donald Trump trailing Hillary Clinton by 6 points overall. Much of that can be attributed to losses among his fellow Republicans, with whom he is down 5 points since early June to an abysmal 74 percent of the GOP vote while Clinton edged up 4 points with Democrats to 83 percent of the blue team vote.
But Trump’s problem with Republicans wouldn’t be such a problem if he were getting crossover support from so-called “Reagan Democrats” and, most importantly, supermajority support with independents.
Trump is winning with independent voters in the Fox News poll with 39 percent to Clinton’s 31 percent. But it’s not nearly enough.
First, a word about independents: They are not more moderate than Republicans or Democrats, they’re just not members of either party. Bernie Sanders is an independent and so too is George Will. Not exactly a lot of commonality there…
Think of independents existing in a parallel ideological spectrum to the traditional Democrat-Republican, left-right spectrum. Many independents hold seemingly incongruent ideological views – pro-choice, gun rights backers, or environmentalist, tax cutters – but never think of independents as synonymous with “moderate.”
In order to win, Trump will need at least 55 percent of the independent vote. Mitt Romney did 50 percent with independents in 2012 while taking 93 percent of the GOP vote. There will be more independents and Trump will have fewer Republicans than Romney did. The pressure is on for Trump with the indys.
Trump can point to online polls and polls that can’t call cell phones that show him doing better, like the Rasmussen Reports survey out today, but in the universe of sound polling, the trend is clear: Trump is running behind Clinton and faring worse at this point than Romney did four years ago.
The Fox News poll shows 40 percent so far backing neither Trump nor Clinton. Trump will need more than half of these voters to break his way for this race to be competitive in the fall.
Trump is doing only about as well so far with independents as Bob Dole did in in 1996, and the electorate will be less Republican and more independent this year, perhaps by wide margins.
Instead of trying to dun his party into submission, Trump needs to keep his focus on independent voters and, where possible, crossover Democrats.
D.W. Griffith’s epic film Intolerance celebrates its centennial anniversary this year and The Baffler takes a look at how the grand movie set the standard for films in a way never seen before: “The most glorious set in movie history stood derelict for a few years where Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards meet, attracting curiosity seekers and growing steadily more unsafe. [The set of D. W. Griffith’s Intolerance] was finally torn down in 1919 or so…The ambition of Intolerance did have precursors. Griffith himself had built a biblical town in the San Fernando Valley for Judith of Bethulia two years earlier…But in scale and pull-out-the-stops grandeur, nothing like Belshazzar’s Court had ever been seen before…The naive excitement of grasping that all this fakery is genuine—meaning the way ‘How’d they do that?’ used to play leapfrog in viewers’ minds with ‘Wow, they must’ve actually done that’—stayed part of the appeal of Hollywood spectaculars up through the late 1960s.”
[Penalty marker - In Wednesday’s note we incorrectly described the size of William Shakespeare’s Globe Theater. The theater was only 98 feet in diameter but held crowds of as many as 3,000. As the Bard wrote, “The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.” And we are reminded!]
Flag on the play? - Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions
Average of national presidential polls: Clinton vs. Trump: Clinton +6 points
Generic congressional vote: Democrats +2.8
OHIO VOTER PURGE GETS GREEN LIGHT
Reuters: “A federal judge ruled on Wednesday that Ohio’s secretary of state was within his rights to strip thousands of inactive voters from the rolls, rejecting a legal challenge by civil liberties activists who claimed that the purge disenfranchised minorities and the poor…The ACLU charged in its lawsuit that Ohio Secretary of State John Husted’s policy of removing from the rolls voters deemed inactive over a six-year period violated the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 because it targets minorities and lower-income voters who tend to favor Democrats. [U.S. District Judge George C. Smith] disagreed, finding that the policy was not illegal because it removed voters from the rolls only after they failed to vote and then did not respond to a change of address confirmation.”
Judge upholds citizenship requirement for voter registration - AP: “Residents of Kansas, Georgia and Alabama will have to prove they are U.S. citizens when registering to vote for federal elections using a national form, a judge ruled Wednesday. U.S. District Judge Richard Leon sided against a coalition of voting rights groups that sued a U.S. elections official who changed the proof-of-citizenship requirements on the federal registration form at the request of the three states and without public notice. Residents of other states only need to swear that they are citizens, not show proof.”
TRUMP BENEFITED FROM THE TRADE PRACTICES HE BASHES
NYT: “Donald J. Trump vowed on Tuesday that as president he would put an end to policies that send American jobs overseas, threatening to impose tariffs on Chinese imports and promising to punish companies that relocate their manufacturing to countries with cheaper labor. ‘It will be American hands that remake this country,’ said Mr. Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, standing before a hunk of aluminum at a recycling plant in western Pennsylvania. But such declarations are at odds with Mr. Trump’s long history as a businessman, in which he has been heavily — and proudly — reliant on foreign labor in the name of putting profits, rather than America, first. From cheap neckties to television sets, Mr. Trump has benefited from some of the trade practices he now scorns.”
THE JUDGE’S RULING: HILLARY’S ILLEGAL WAR UNTOUCHED
Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano says the House select committee that slammed Hillary Clinton for her actions surrounding the 2012 Benghazi attacks failed to pursue evidence that the government conducted an illegal war in Libya. “Though Clinton was the creator of the conspiracy and remained at its heart and hoped to ride it triumphantly into the White House -- and though she bears more blame than any other conspirator -- the committee’s work fails as a seeker of the whole truth…The truth is that Hillary Clinton put her own political ambitions above fidelity to the rule of law…” More here.
DEM ELECTION COMMISSIONERS BLOCKED IN BID TO PUNISH FOX NEWS
Fox News: “Democratic members of the Federal Election Commission, in a decision to be made public on Thursday, voted last month to punish Fox News over criteria changes for the network’s first Republican presidential primary debate – but were blocked by Republican commissioners…The vote concerned changes made to the criteria for the Fox News-hosted GOP primary debate on Aug. 6, 2015 in Cleveland. For that debate, Fox News decided to alter the format – hosting two debates instead of one and expanding the first debate to include lower-polling candidates, as well as any candidate identified as such in national polls… The case ended on a split 3-3 vote, resulting in no action. Three commissioners concluded Fox News violated election law; two of the Democratic commissioners went a step further and voted to penalize the network. But because any enforcement action requires four votes, the case was dismissed.”
Data guru Nate Silver predicts Trump has a 20 percent chance of winning - FiveThirtyEight
Clinton VP shortlister Kaine accepted clothes, donations as gifts - Politico
Cleveland buys $50 million in riot insurance for RNC - AP
Black Lives Matter leader warns of protests at the DNC - USA Today
Romney says his family urging an independent bid, but he won’t jump - WashEx
AUDIBLE: CANADIAN CROSS CHECK
“[Politicians] don’t suddenly become a populist because they say something controversial in order to win votes. That’s not the measure of populism. That’s nativism. Or xenophobia. Or worse. Just cynicism.” – President Obama at a press conference in Ottawa, Canada attacking Donald Trump.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“Perino and Stirewalt. More please. Chris: Felt your comment on WV flooding. While never a victim myself, I have worked in flooded areas and the heartbreak there is wrenching. I’m from PA and I’m thru there on 81 a few times a year and consider myself a frequent visitor. Sort of feel like between us we’re keeping MD in check. Anyway, my best to the Mountaineers.” – J.E. Schreiner, Pa.
“Bold Dukakis analysis, Chris. If memory serves, he might also be the last Dem candidate with even a ‘smidgen’ of integrity.” – William Lennard, Bella Vista, Ark.
“With both Presidential candidates up to their waist in the muck of dislike neither candidate has been able to inspire the general electorate. As a result of this dislike the coming presidential election will be primarily for potential future nominees to the US Supreme Court.” – Steve Bartlett, Greenville, S.C.
NOTHING BASIC ABOUT HIS CABLE PACKAGE
WSB-TV: “A Cobb County [Georgia] man looking for love has posted a Craigslist ad offering free rent, wi-fi, cable and other amenities to the lady of his dreams. ‘You’ll have the whole front bathroom to yourself,’ he says. ‘You’ll not have to pay for rent, wi-fi, power, cable TV [I have all 8 HBO channels] garbage service or food!’ …He’s retired and sells concert tickets and owns his home free and clear. He offers a range of enticements to his potential match: ‘If you do not have a vehicle we can find you a good used one. If your credit is bad I can teach you how to rebuild it. If you have no credit score we can build it pretty quick… I have a pair of 2016 Atlanta Falcons season tickets. I also have 2017 season tix for both the Falcons AND Braves at their new stadiums! Did I mention I have all 8 HBO channels yet?!’”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“I think with [Hillary Clinton’s] email issue, it's really information overload. Everybody assumes it’s all out there. Everybody is waiting for the FBI to decide. The FBI has all the information. They are going to decide one way or the other. People aren’t going to dive into the details.” – Charles Krauthammer on “Special Report with Bret Baier.”
Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News. Sally Persons contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.
Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as politics editor based in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he authors the daily Fox News Halftime Report political news note and co-hosts the hit podcast, Perino & Stirewalt: I'll Tell You What. He also is the host of Power Play, a feature video series on FoxNews.com. Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on network programs, including America’s Newsroom, Special Report with Bret Baier and Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. He also provides expert political analysis for FNC’s coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.