JOURNAL EDITORIAL REPORT

Trump's swing state surge; 'Ferguson effect' to blame for Chicago shootings?

Republican strategist John Brabender explains

 

This is a rush transcript from "Journal Editorial Report," September 17, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

PAUL GIGOT, HOST:  Welcome to the "Journal Editorial Report."  I'm Paul Gigot.

Hillary Clinton returned to the campaign trail Thursday following last Sunday's disclosure that the Democratic presidential nominee was suffering from pneumonia.  And with the first presidential debate a week ago, she has her work cut out for her as polls show Donald Trump continuing to gain ground.  The latest Fox News poll shows the race in a dead heat nationally with Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump by just 1 point among likely voters.  

Joining the panel this week, Wall Street Journal columnist and deputy editor, Dan Henninger; Washington columnist, Kim Strassel; assistant editorial page editor, James Freeman; and Best of the Web columnist, James Taranto.  

Kim, I know you have a very hard time taking it easy.  

(LAUGHTER)

You've analyzed the secretary's comments.  But why do you think Donald Trump is catching up to Hillary Clinton?  

KIM STRASSEL, WASHINGTON COLUMNIST:  It's two things.  First, Hillary Clinton has had a miserable three weeks.  We have other a torrent of information coming out about the Clinton Foundation in the form of previously unseen email that pay-to-play scandals and ethical questions.  

She had her collapse on Sunday, which brought up her health question but also the way her team handled it, which reinforced the question of whether or not she is straight with the public, and her comment about the "baskets of deplorables," which is not sitting well with a lot of Americans.  At the same time, Donald Trump has had a very good three weeks.  He's been very solid on policy and the campaign seems to be faring very well.

GIGOT:  Kim's analysis, which I share, seems to be that it is Hillary Clinton's weakness, not so much Donald Trump's strength, James.  That's what I see in the polling.  Trump can't get much above the low 40s but Hillary Clinton has come down to him.  

JAMES TARANTO, BEST OF THE WEB COLUMNIST:  I think it is a combination.  It seems to me we all underestimated Trump's ability to adapt, which he has shown us in the past few weeks.  He has not said anything really outrageous or stupid since the middle of August when he made that comment about the Second Amendment.  So I think Trump gets some credit.  And Mrs. Clinton has less of a range of behavior and is a worse candidate than people remembered.  Although, we should have remembered that from 2008.  

GIGOT:  OK, so Trump, the scripted Trump, the speech Trump, the more restrained Trump, effective, grant.  Taking your advice, James.  

But here's the problem.  I disagree James a little bit, James Taranto.   
Because when he went off script on that commander-in-chief forum, that's when he said, Putin, I'm all in for Putin, great leader, better than President Obama.  I don't like the system but has his advantages.  That was an unscripted moment and that's when he gets into trouble.  

JAMES FREEMAN, ASSISTANT EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR:  Let's look at the progress.  First, it was fixing the set speeches, where he is now doing a disciplined structured argument.  Next, this issue of when he gets on an adlib, when he gets to a Q&A format, is he going to wander all over the place and end up somewhere dangerous?  We did see improvement.  When he was at the New York Economic Club this week, a tremendous speech.

(CROSSTALK)

FREEMAN:  Really Reagan-esque in terms of --

GIGOT:  We'll talk more about that.

FREEMAN:  We'll talk more about it.  But in the Q&A afterwards, that's where you're seeing improvement.  It was a little meandering.  He was wandering around a little but there were no big gaffes and it was generally staying on the message of economic growth.  

GIGOT:  Dan, let's talk about the health issues.  The both -- it happened over the weekend.  Now both candidates have issued new documents.  Is that enough to put this to bed?  

DAN HENNINGER, COLUMNIST & DEPUTY EDITOR:  I think in Trump's case, it probably is.  He put out the data on his physical.  A lot of television stations were rolling through the numbers.  His blood pressure is 116 over 70.  That's pretty much at the low end.  His lipids were under control.  
And everything else appeared to be normal, other than his weight.  I don't know how much further you can push that issue.  

Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, is under incredible stress, and this awful event that happened to her last Sunday, has tried to put it behind her.  But it relates to what Kim is saying, that is relates to the sense the public has that she is not quite giving us the straight answer.  

GIGOT:  The question is, is this release, what she put out, a couple of pages by her doctor, going to be sufficient?  Or should we want more health care evidence, James, from both candidates?  

FREEMAN:  Certainly, the two-page letter from the doctor was not enough.  
What did it was talk about the recent illness, the pneumonia, and it had her vital signs.  We have gotten very little about her neurological health.  
And I think --

GIGOT:  You want to know that?  

FREEMAN:  I think we need to know that, especially since she injected it essentially into our national dialogue by using it, in part, to avoid answering questions about her email, talking about the concussion.  But this history of documented falls -- she is not that old.  I think she does need to explain -- this is not just about last Sunday.  Why does this happen?  

GIGOT:  Trump is 70.  Why shouldn't he be more forthcoming with -- I know he looks healthy but the truth is, at 70, things happen.  

(CROSSTALK)

GIGOT:  I would like to know more about his history.  I would like an independent set of doctors to go in and look at both their health records and say, yes, what the doctors say is accurate.  That's what I want.  

What do you think?  

TARANTO:  I just want to point out on this letter from Mrs. Clinton's doctor, it was claimed that she has non-contagious bacterial pneumonia.  I emailed my doctor and asked her is there such a thing as non-contagious bacteria pneumonia, and she wrote back and said, "I've never heard of a non-contagious pneumonia."  Maybe they're saying this is because she had that photo op while she was trying to cover up her pneumonia in which she touched a little girl.  She exposed a little girl to an infectious disease for the sake of a photographic aimed at lying to the American people.  
That's sociopathic.  

GIGOT:  Sociopathic, all right.  OK.  

(LAUGHTER)

Kim, let's talk about the "deplorables" comment you raised earlier.  Hillary Clinton had made that comment.  Donald Trump is really trying to take advantage of that on the campaign trail.  But the liberals aren't giving up.  They think this is a good debate for them because this gets the discussion, the national debate focused on some of Trump's unsavory supporters.  What do you think?  

STRASSEL:  I think that's a mistake.  The reason that Donald Trump is pushing this so hard is because he understands it undercuts one of Hillary's main campaign themes.  Remember, she's been out there saying I represent the underrepresented.  I am one of you.  Donald Trump, a Republican, the elitist.  And yet, here you have her talking, basically writing off half his supporters, many of whom are blue collar workers, people who have not been to college, and she's classifying them under these terrible terms.  It undercuts herself and her argument that she is the sort of person to help that segment of the voting public.  

GIGOT:  Thank you, Kim.  

When we come back, a new batch of swing state polls spells more trouble for Hillary Clinton.  So can she regain her post-convention momentum?  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I love the people of Ohio.  And we just got some good news because we just had some polls come out.

(CHEERING)  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:  I keep on reading this analysis that Trump has support from working folks.  Really?  Like this is the guy you want to be championing working people?  This guy who spent 70 years on this earth showing no concern for working people, this guy is suddenly going to be your champion?  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GIGOT:  That was President Obama this weekend in Philadelphia in his first solo campaign event on behalf of Hillary Clinton.  It's part of the surrogate surge in Pennsylvania that's intended to shore up that critical swing state.  The latest Quinnipiac poll University shows Clinton's lead over Trump has been cut in half there, from 10 points in August to 5 points this month.  It's one of several battle ground states where the polls are tightening with new polls in Ohio and Florida showing Donald Trump in the lead.  

John Brabender is a Republican strategist and was a senior adviser to former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum's 2016 presidential campaign.

So welcome back.

JOHN BRABENDER:  REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  Thanks, Paul.

GIGOT:  I have to give you props.  You were saying this is possible.  What do you think is behind this Trump surge?  

BRABENDER:  First, there are two things happening.  Number one, Hillary Clinton has had two or three really bad weeks, controversial things with the foundation.  I think there are legitimate questions where people are saying, ah, maybe there is something there with her health.  We saw that demonstrated last weekend.  

But I think, more importantly, the movement has been because of changes Donald Trump has made.  I think that, frankly, I have to give a lot of credit to the people who came in and are now running his campaign.  They seem to coincide.  He seems more presidential.  What's happening is there's a lot of people who were voting for Hillary, even though they didn't want to because they didn't see Trump as a viable alternative.  For the first time, they're seeing Donald Trump as a viable alternative.  And we're seeing the poll numbers change.  This means, instead of Donald Trump having one path to victory, he probably has about three different paths to get to 270.  

GIGOT:  You mean in the electoral vote count, through various numbers of states.  The field has expanded.  But I talked to Republican who said when Trump was having his bad patch the bottom fell out of his support in the counties that you know so well, for example, in Philadelphia, around Philadelphia, that a Republican has to do pretty well to win the state.  
That has come back.  Is it because he's looking more presidential?  And how important are those counties if he is got to win the state?  

BRABENDER:  Well, Pennsylvania as a state is a very parochial state but not a very homogenous state.  You have sort of very conservative Democrats in the west but you have relatively moderate Republicans in the east.  That's where his Achilles' heel has been so far.  What I think is happening is, first, his policies of recent.  Look what he did this week.  He did a big speech on childcare.  Put out his initiative.  Where did he do it?  
Delaware County, Pennsylvania, right outside of Philadelphia.  Who is he targeting?  Obviously it is white college educated moderate women in that region as well as the rest of the country.  So I think they're being very smart strategically as far as initiatives.  But also his tone or tenor has changed and I think that is very helpful and that's part of the reason for the movement.  

GIGOT:  All right.  He is still trailing in Pennsylvania in the latest poll by about five.  He has already caught up in Ohio and in Florida. Pennsylvania is a more Democratic state at the presidential level than either of those two.  Would you agree with that?  

BRABENDER:  Absolutely.  Let's put in it perspective.  A Republican hasn't won for president in Pennsylvania since 1988. So it is an up-hill battle.  But he is also getting encouraging news in places like Michigan, Colorado, Iowa, Nevada.  Even if he doesn't win Pennsylvania, for the first time, there are other viable options and paths to get to 270.  

GIGOT:  What do you think Trump ought to focus on from here until the end of the election if he wants to pick up these swing states?  And particularly, I'm thinking Michigan and Pennsylvania.  Because it looks like, even if he picks up Iowa, even if he holds Romney states like North Carolina and Arizona, he has to pick up one of those two.  

BRABENDER:  Right.  Look, I do messaging for a living and my belief is that this is really not about Hillary Clinton anymore.  Her numbers are baked into the cake, as we say.  People have known her for 24 years.  Whatever you think of her, you do.  What he has to do to close the sale is have people have some confidence in him on a personal level.  For example, I think he should be featured in all his ads.  Instead of them being either critical of Hillary Clinton or just a voice over, I think people want to get to know and trust him.  Because there are a lot of people who have an unfavorable opinion of Hillary Clinton who are yet to be voting for Trump.  

GIGOT:  So they want to know that Donald Trump is someone they could feel comfortable with in the Oval Office.  They know it is a risk because he is an unknown.  They want to see, OK, I can get my head around listening to that guy in the Oval Office and think he will be competent in the job.  
It's that kind of fundamental comfort level you're talking about?  

BRABENDER:  Absolutely. I call it the cocktail party test.  

(LAUGHTER)

They want to be able to go to the neighborhood party or the country club and say, yes, I decided I'm voting for Donald Trump, and not get bad looks.  

(LAUGHTER)

GIGOT:  Maybe they won't admit that they'll vote for Donald Trump.  There is that phenomenon out there, I assume.

BRABENDER:  I think that's true.  In Pennsylvania, Donald Trump won 67 of all the counties in the primary.  That usually doesn't happen.  

GIGOT:  What I'm hearing you say is the debates will be crucial to Trump because he has to speak to the American people on a stage without a script and sound like he can hold his own.  

BRABENDER:  I think that's right.  I think also his interaction with Hillary Clinton will be as important as well.  I think if he walks in there and acts like a prosecutor who is there just to skewer her, he is not doing himself any favors.  I think if he can be critical of her but in a way people don't find offensive, I think that's beneficial to him.  

GIGOT:  All right, thank you, John Brabender.  I appreciate your coming in.

When we come back, the battle for the Senate heating up.  After a rough summer, Republicans are growing more confident that they can keep control.  
We'll tell you why, next.  

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GIGOT:  A look now at the battle for the Senate where Republicans are defending 24 seats this fall compared to just 10 for Democrats.  Earlier this summer, Democrats had high hopes of taking control of the chamber.  But with GOP  incumbents, like Rob Portman in Ohio and Marco Rubio in Florida running strong in the latest polls, things appear to be looking up for Republicans.  

We're back with Dan Henninger, Kim Strassel, James Freeman and James Taranto.  

Dan, what is behind this Republican comeback in the Senate?  

HENNINGER:  Paul, it is hard to see anything other than it reflecting or the tightening at the presidential level, which is neck in neck.  Virtually all these Senate races have gotten tight.  There are kind of within the margin of error.  But in most cases, the Republican is the one who is out by about five points.  Wisconsin, Russ Feingold --

GIGOT:  Feingold.

HENNINGER:  -- the Democrat, is only about 3 points ahead of Ron Johnson, who was thought to be a goner.  Rob Portman is up by maybe 18 in Ohio.  And I think what's going on is the electorate is this coming to grips with what's going on at the head of the ticket.  I believe, which we didn't think would be true before, turnout will depend a lot on the performance at the top of the ticket in states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire.  

GIGOT:  There's no question, Kim, when you look at what's happening with Trump going up, it is helping the Senate candidates who are running ahead of Trump, sometimes by substantial numbers.  But they can't make up a 10- point Trump deficit.  They might be able to make up a five-point Trump deficit.  So when Trump closes in the polls in Ohio, then Portman really surges.  

STRASSEL:  Yes, it absolutely is going to be key to whether the Republicans can hold the Senate.  But I would add when you talk about over-performing in these states, one of the other reasons Republicans have a better shot, even though these tough odds, is they have a really amazing crop of candidates who are running, who are running very good campaigns as well on issues that really matter.  There are states -- you look at guy like Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania.  Very focus on law enforcement and national defense, which are issues that are resonating in the state.  Kelly Ayotte up in New Hampshire, also national defense, but she's made a big issue about opioid abuse in her state and talked about what she's done to fix it.  
These are very good candidates running good races, too.  

GIGOT:  James, I agree with Kim entirely, a very talented group of people who are incumbents, and that's helping Republicans.  Any particular races you're looking at?  I want you to take a look in particular and talk about Indiana, where the Democrats recruited former Senator, and former governor, two-term governor, Evan Bayh, and they thought they had it in the bag, but maybe not.  

TARANTO:  Yeah, Indiana is an interesting one because it wasn't on the map of contested races until recently.  Dan Coates is retiring.  And people thought it was a safe Republican seat.  Republicans recruited Bayh, who retired six years ago.  

GIGOT:  Democrats recruited Bayh.

TARANTO:  Democrats -- Democrats recruited Bayh.  I beg your pardon.  And Bayh is running into some trouble because of his votes in the Senate, including for Obamacare, and also because there's some question as to whether he is even from Indiana anymore.  He's been working in Washington.  

GIGOT:  Yeah, that Indiana -- that voting record before 2010 is crucial.  He didn't run for re-election in 2010, which would have been a dreadful -- it was a dreadful year for Democrats.  In part, I think, because he was probably tired of the Senate.  I could get tired of Harry Reid, too.  

(LAUGHTER)

But also because those will be tough votes to defend.  He voted for the stimulus, for Obamacare.  

FREEMAN:  Right.  And I think they were -- this is one of those races, when Bayh got in, I'm sure high-fives all around at Democratic headquarters in Washington.

GIGOT:  Oh, yeah.

FREEMAN:  Being a career establishment politician is not what it used to be this year.  He has some bad votes.  He came in with a lot of money.  But generally, what we're seeing is the story this year was going to be, wow, Republicans have some really strong candidates.  But how big a drag on the ticket will Trump be?  Now Trump pulling even, the possibility?  Who knows?  Maybe he even gives them a lift.  They don't need it.  All they need is for him not to be a big drag.  And that's where they are right now.

GIGOT:  Don't cash in your chips yet on that, James.

(LAUGHTER)  

There's a lot of time left here.  And Trump could have troubles and take Senators down with him.  

But Florida, Ohio, both look now as if Rubio and Portman will win those.  Not certain they do.  Any lessons  

HENNINGER:  Yes, there is a lesson.  It relates to the presidential race.  In Florida, Marco Rubio has the Florida Republican Party completely behind him.  They're out working for him.  Same thing in Ohio, which is even more interesting.  The Ohio Republican Party has been working for Portman but not so much for Trump.  That's the issue in a lot of these states where the Republican party will go all out for Donald Trump in the last two or three weeks of the election and produce turnout for him.  

GIGOT:  Any other state you're looking at, James?  

TARANTO:  Well, I think the hinge is Pennsylvania and New Hampshire.  Pat Toomey and Kelly Ayotte, who have mixed results in polls.  If Ron Johnson hangs on in Wisconsin, it's a very good night for Republicans.  And Nevada is another one.  Open seat, Harry Reid's seat.  The only likely, possible Republican pick-up.  

GIGOT:  All right.  Thank you all very much.  

Still ahead, Donald Trump's economic agenda.  He is behind 4 percent growth and 25 million new jobs but can his policies deliver on those promises?  And how do his proposals stack up to Hillary Clinton's?  

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP:  Not one single idea she's got will create one net American job or create one new dollar of American wealth for our workers.  The only thing she could offer is a welfare check.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GIGOT:  That was Donald Trump Thursday at the Economic Club of New York attacking Hillary Clinton's economic policies and promising to usher in a new era of economic prosperity.  Trump says his plan to cut taxes, eliminate regulations, and revamp U.S. trade policy will lead to an annual growth rate of more than 4 percent and add 25 million new jobs over the next 10 years.

We're back with Dan Henninger, Kim Strassel and James Freeman.  And Wall Street Journal editorial page writer, Kate Bachelder, also joins the panel.

So, Kim, 4 percent growth target, 25 million new jobs, a tall order.  Too much?  

KIM STRASSEL, WASHINGTON COLUMNIST:  No, not too much?  This can be done.  We have been used to, in this country, the 1 percent, the 2 percent Obama GDP growth.  It doesn't have to be that way.  We've had other candidates, Jeb Bush, also promise 4 percent economic growth.  

What is good about this, Paul, is it sets a frame work, it sets a priority for what this administration will be about in which everything else that Donald Trump then proposes could go around that in terms of regulation, in terms of the tax code, other ideas, energy production.  So it was a very positive speech that way.  

GIGOT:  What do you like about this plan, James?  

JAMES FREEMAN, ASSISTANT EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR:  It is all about growth, as we've been discussing.  

(CROSSTALK)

FREEMAN:  Particularly, it makes the United States much more competitive.  

GIGOT:  How?

FREEMAN:  Right now, we have the highest tax rate in the industrialized world, 35 percent.  

(CROSSTALK)

GIGOT:  Corporate tax rate.

FREEMAN:  Corporate tax rate.  It is up to 40 when you count state and local taxes.  He is talking about moving that federal rate to 15, down from 35.  So we go from the highest to among the most competitive.  We're still not at Ireland's 12.5 percent but we're basically better than any of our big trade competitors.  

By the way, it was the biggest applause line at the speech in New York this week.  Getting a corporate tax rate that's competitive and makes people want to locate their business in the United States.  

GIGOT:  Individual tax reform, Dan, he put in a cap on deductions for the first time, proposed that, a couple hundred thousand for couple that's they can deduct.  That will reduce the cost of the plan over 10 years, make it less of a target for Secretary Clinton.  Anything else you liked about it?  

DAN HENNINGER, COLUMNIST & DEPUTY EDITOR:  Yeah.  I like the fact that he's also talking about regulation and doing things that pare back regulations, which is part of the growth agenda.  The nice thing about the 4 percent figure is it's a top-line number and all his policies then have to be directed toward hitting that high-growth number, including regulation.  

My problem, though, Paul is that in that speech, he also went after trade, again, as he always does.  He is talking about punishing American corporations for moving out of the United States.  If he was actually able to do some of those things, it could it knock off a lot of the gains he would get from a better tax plan like that.  

GIGOT:  In particular, if you say, as he did, I want the United States to be a Mecca for capital from around the world.  Then you say to manufacturers and companies, yes, but by the way, there will be a tax on you for your exports, or you won't be able to bring in your inputs in the global supply chain that most American companies now have, except at a premium price from competitors, that's going to make the people much less likely to invest.  

HENNINGER:  That might make it look a little dangerous.  

GIGOT:  Yeah.  

(LAUGHTER)

No, there's no question that that.  

Kate, Hillary Clinton's plan, so directionally, Trump and Clinton very different directions in a lot of these policy areas.  

KATE BACHELDER, EDITORIAL PAGE WRITER:  That's right.  Clinton's plan is no more sophisticated than, if you like your economy, you can keep it.  You can --

(CROSSTALK)

BACHELDER:  Exactly.  If you like the past seven years, you have a lot more to expect.  And it is basically, in addition to raising taxes on the wealthy, it is also a cradle-to-death plan of childcare and also free college and a $300 billion infrastructure blowout.  It is the progressive full service.  

GIGOT:  OK.

Yeah, James?  

FREEMAN:  You get a tax increase with Clinton.  It looks like half a trillion dollars over 10 years.  The Tax Foundation says it is closer to $200 billion increase because she'll make the economy smaller by putting new taxes.

But the big part of it, everyone is -- and this is a big contrast with Trump, who is talking simplicity, fewer brackets.  On the Clinton side, you're talking about a more complex system.  And "The New York Times" this week saying, there's no simplicity here at all.  So you've still got a lot of loopholes.  So even if she raises rates on the wealthy, some of the wealthily will be able to enjoy lower taxes.  And I'm guessing that Clinton Foundation donors will be among that group.  

GIGOT:  Well, and, Kim, I think that's where she's going to go after Trump.  She's going to say that this is -- just like they did with Romney four years ago, this is a tax cut for the wealthy and for Donald Trump and his pals.  And the question in my mind is, how well is Trump going to be able to deflect that?  Certainly, Mitt Romney didn't succeed.  Can Trump fight back on that?  How can he do it?  And he hasn't turned over his tax returns yet so we don't know what he pays.  

STRASSEL:  It would be useful if he did turn over his tax returns.  Or maybe not.  

(LAUGHTER)

And perhaps that's why he's not turning them over.  

I think, rhetorically, Trump will have a better chance at deflecting this.  He is not ashamed to have made a lot of money and he is someone that is very proud to go out and talk about wealth creation and giving that opportunity to everyone.  So for starters, that is already a better line.  I think there's also some sort of shrewd parts of his various tax plans that he can use to deflect some of the criticism that Hillary Clinton will throw at him.  

GIGOT:  All right.  Kim, thank you very much.  

Still ahead, Donald Trump unveiled his new childcare plan in a bid to attract suburban women.  So will those proposals help him chose the gap with Hillary Clinton with those swing voters?  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  We don't need someone who rushes out a half-baked plan just weeks before an election, after decades of ignoring or putting down working moms.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP:  We need working mothers to be fairly compensated for their work and have access to affordable, quality childcare for their kids.  

These solutions much update laws passed more than a half century ago when most women were still not in the labor forceful.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GIGOT:  Donald Trump outlined a set of proposals this week that he says will help working families, including six weeks of guaranteed paid maternity leave and expanded tax credits for childcare.  Mr. Trump, accompanied by his daughter, Ivanka, unveiled his plan Tuesday in Aston, Pennsylvania, just outside Philadelphia, in a push to win over a key group of swing voters, suburban women.  

So, what is most important thing to take away on his proposals?  

BACHELDER:  We have six weeks of paid maternity leave for payment through unemployment insurance and large tax deductions, write off the average cost of care for couples earning up to $500,000.  The questions here are basically only political because, as policy, it is wholly bad in driving up the cost of childcare.  

GIGOT:  Why?  Because it is a subsidy for childcare?  

BACHELDER:  It is a subsidy for child care.  And there's a broad expansion of the earned income tax credit.  What that would end up in result in doing is putting a family in a poverty trap where they cannot earn more in wages than they will lose in benefits.  

GIGOT:  Because the benefit here would phase out as your income rises.  So as you go up the income ladder, then these phase out, and you face a big tax cliff that is hard to overcome, and can be an incentive for people not to work.  

BACHELDER:  Right.  Which is not a pro family policy.  

GIGOT:  Right.

How does this contrast with what Hillary Clinton is proposing?  

BACHELDER:  Hillary has proposed limiting a family's childcare expenses to
10 percent of their income and she has released no details on how she would do that, other than just proclaiming it will happen.  

GIGOT:  Right.

BACHELDER:  She has also promised raises for childcare workers.  Again, very few details on how she would give them raises.  But also an increase in funding for Headstart, universal pre-K.  She has rolled out a much more comprehensive set of subsidies.

GIGOT:  So this is -- she's in the bidding war, if that's what this is, on childcare subsidies.  She is way out there for Trump.  Trump comes in, less costly, a little narrowly.  

But that affects the politics, James.  Maybe Republicans -- we've been at this a long time.  When we see Republicans try to be more -- to copy Democrats in expanding government, it usually doesn't turn out well.  

FREEMAN:  It doesn't work out well.  And we talked about the Trump plan being about growth and simplicity.  This is the asterisk.  

(LAUGHTER)

These changes for childcare do nothing for growth.  They make the tax code more complicated.  Also, the special accounts where you can put money, whether it's for children or elderly people to take care of them --

(CROSSTALK)

FREEMAN:  -- these kinds of creations, medical savings accounts, 5.9 for college, 401Ks, you need these when you have high tax rates.  

GIGOT:  Right.

FREEMAN:  If you bring the tax rates down and simplify things, you don't need all these little carve outs.  It is at odds with the rest of his plan.  

HENNINGER:  Paul, how you pay for these things is a fascinating political issue.  Trump says he will do it through unemployment insurance.  Hillary's is based on the Family Act, introduced in the Senate by Senator Gillibrand.  Pat Toomey, in Pennsylvania, is ramming that down that Family Act down Katie McGinty's throat, saying it includes a new pay roll tax.  

GIGOT:  Right, OK.

So Trump's policies are not as bad as that, but it is a new entitlement --

(CROSSTALK)  

HENNINGER:  It is a new entitlement, no question about it.  And Toomey shows you can run against the Family Act idea.  And Trump is making it difficult for people to do that.  

GIGOT:  But, Kim, the Trump campaign obviously figured we're not doing well enough among Republican women, college educated women, we have to try to soften our image, and that's why this is politically potent.  Do you think it's politically effective as they think?

STRASSEL:  It is not as effective as it could be.  They are right to worry about this particular group of voters, but there are ways to get that message across that are far more consistent with conservative principles.  

Donald Trump needs to talk about the fact that one percent, two percent economic growth he was talking about this week under Obama is the main reason why families don't have enough disposable income to take care of childcare expenses.  We heard that clip where he talked about the fact that women suffer under outdated laws.  That is absolutely the truth.  What he should be out there talking about is, instead of proposing greater, bigger government, talking about getting rid of the problems we have, Obamacare, et cetera, which disproportionately hurt many women, and also take away their ability to pay for childcare.  

GIGOT:  Yeah, that's my question, Kate.  You don't see him laying out a plan for what he would do to replace Obamacare, which is something that would unite Republicans, and probably affects a lot more Americans than this particular childcare proposal would.  

BACHELDER:  I can only assume it was not one of Ivanka's priorities.  He's been very clear that this was a driving force in laying out a childcare plan.  Also I think Obamacare is more complicated.  It requires a more sophisticated policy analysis.  And Republicans are not particularly in agreement on how to deal with it.  

GIGOT:  But the House Republicans have come out with a plan he could --  

BACHELDER:  He could.

GIGOT:  -- he could endorse.

All right, thank you.

When we come back, Chicago reaches a grim milestone with more than 3,000 shootings in the Windy City since the beginning of the year.  A look at what is behind the disturbing trend when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GIGOT:  A grim milestone for the Windy City with the Chicago Tribune reporting this week that more than 3,000 people have been shot since the beginning of the year.  That's an average of one shooting victim every two hours in the city, where eight people were killed and 35 wounded last weekend alone.  

My next guest says Chicago is the country's most glaring example of the Ferguson Effect.  Heather McDonald is a fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of the book, "The War on Cops, How the New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe."  

So, welcome back, Heather.  

HEATHER MCDONALD, FELLOW, MANHATTAN INSTITUTE & AUTHOR:  Thank you, Paul.  

GIGOT:  So what's going on in Chicago that is behind this surge in violence?  

MCDONALD:  The police are backing off and criminals have become emboldened.  
Chicago demonstrates what happens when cops, under this false narrative that they racists for trying on maintain order in high-crime areas, decide not to engage in what President Obama calls racist policing.  They're driving by people on known drug corners, who are hitching up their waist band at 1:00 a.m. like they have a gun, and not getting out of their cars.  Because when they do get out of their cars, they're routinely surrounded now by hostile jeering crowds cursing at them, sometime throwing things at them.  And besides that street level animosity, they're operating under this pervasive narrative that has been promulgated by President Obama, echoed by the media and, of course, put out there constantly by the Black Lives Matter activists, that the police are engaged in some homicidal shooting spree against blacks, all of which is patently grotesquely false, Paul.  

GIGOT:  You've been spending time in Chicago with police.  You've talked to Dean Angelo, who is head of the police union.  You wrote a piece for us this week.  What else, other than sort of driving by people on corners, what else are the police not doing?  Are this just sort of backing away from any kind of policing in these high-crime neighborhoods?  

MCDONALD:  Certainly not.  The police are answering 911 calls after there's been victim with alacrity.

GIGOT:  OK.

MCDONALD:  They're trying to solve murders.  They're trying to solve homicides.  Of course, with the no-snitch ethic, people are not cooperating with them.

But what they're not doing, Paul, is that vast area of purely discretionary policing of public order enforcement, what's known informally of clearing the corners if there's large groups of teens hanging out, loitering.  The public law-abiding residents want the police to intervene.  But the activists and President Obama say that's racist to do so, so they're letting those crowds hang out, and it's out of those crowds often that drive-by shootings emerge.

GIGOT:  OK, so they're not doing the kind of broken-windows, preemptive kind of policing and patrolling that has worked so well, for example, in cities like New York.  

But here's the question that puzzles me.  If this violence is going on in these neighborhoods, as it is, and now we've had these headlines about Chicago for a couple of years, OK, why isn't there a local outcry in these neighborhoods and elsewhere in the city, that says, let's -- we've got to do something here.  I know it's not the north side and the affluent neighborhoods where this is happening, but, look, this violence is getting headlines all across the country.  Why not a grassroots uprising against it?  

MCDONALD:  There is, up to a point.  You know, there's calls to bring in the National Guard.  In 2012, when they had a similar outbreak, there were calls to reinstitute a more aggressive "Stop, Question and Frisk" regimen and bring in an anti-gang unit.  But the fact of the matter is that the activists control the public discourse there.  And they believe -- one of their demands is to disband the Chicago Police Department entirely.  And then, in a sense, we're sort of getting that informally.  Now, again, the cops are working their hearts out on behalf of victims, after the fact, but they're not engaged in what you call rightly the preemptive, proactive policing.  

GIGOT:  All right, so what role is Rahm Emanuel playing?  I can't imagine that this kind of -- this -- these kinds of statistics are helpful to him as a politician.  And what is -- is he not saying anything?  Is he saying that it's somebody else's fault?  What's he doing?  

MCDONALD:  He's caught.  And he's changed his tune.  Last October, he met with Attorney General Loretta Lynch in Washington, and himself acknowledged the deep policing effect, what I call the Ferguson Effect.  He says cops have gone fetal.  He noticed this.  He says they're not interdicting criminal behavior.  

But then, there was the final, belated release of video of a very bad police shooting and the political discourse has gotten even more anti-cop in Chicago, so he does not dare, at this point, stand up for proactive policing.  And all he can do is complain about gun statutes and gun sentencing not being severe enough.  That may be true.  Of course, it's the black caucus that refuses to allow more extended sentences for repeat gun felons.  But that's, in fact, not the problem, because the gun sentencing regime has not changed since 2014.  What has changed is officers'
willingness to engage in proactive policing.  But at this point, Emanuel doesn't dare say it's time for the cops to go back being proactive.  

GIGOT:  All right, Heather McDonald, thanks very much for being here.  
Appreciate it.  

MCDONALD:  Thank you, Paul.  

GIGOT:  We have to take one more break.  When we come back, "Hits and Misses" of the week.  

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GIGOT:  Time now for our "Hits and Misses" of the week.  

Kim, start us off.  

STRASSEL:  Paul, the FBI continues to play unbelievable games with Congress when it comes to its files over the Hillary Clinton investigation, everything from redacting papers to making Congress members jump through hoops to look at the papers, to dragging its feet on more documents.  So this is a hit to House Oversight chairman, Jason Chaffetz, who delivered a subpoena on an FBI official during a hearing this week, demanding the documents.  We all have a right to see this stuff.  

GIGOT:  OK, thanks, Kim.  

James?  

TARANTO:  Paul, a hit to Hillary Clinton, whose campaign this week did an opposition research dump on a comic strip.  Quote, "That cartoon frog is more sinister than you realize."  The cartoon frog is called Pepe.  It turns out a couple of Twitter trolls told a Daily Beast reporter an elaborate fiction about how they had turned him into a neo-Nazi symbol.  Mrs. Clinton's crack team of researchers fell for it, too.

GIGOT:  OK.

Kate?

MCDONALD:  This is a miss for the Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, who this week informed us that the NSA leaker, Edward Snowden, deserves a pardon.  Members of the House Intelligence Committee fired off a rather acidic letter noting that Edward Snowden is a criminal, not a whistle-blower.  So perhaps these groups should focus more on abuses in China and Russia, where Snowden, at least for now, will spend another long winter.  

GIGOT:  OK, Kate.

Dan?  

HENNINGER:  Well, a huge miss for Schwartzberg College (ph) and its daily newspaper.  Earlier this week, the "Daily Gazette" that Schwartzberg (ph) published a student who attacked the college for letting too many wealthy students in, for favoring the rich, even though they purport to be progressives.  Days later, the paper published a long apology with "Sorry" across the top of it, saying this student had offended a lot of students by being guilty of classism and that they would never do any such thing again.  
Thank god editors like this weren't running newspapers in 1776 or we would still be British subjects.  

(LAUGHTER)

GIGOT:  Thanks, Dan.

And remember, if you have your own hit or miss, be sure to tweet it to us at JERonFNC.  

That's it for this week's show.  Thanks to my panel.  Thanks to all of you for watching.  I'm Paul Gigot.  We hope to see you right here next week.

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