Photo of the day

I got such a huge kick out of watching Andre De Grasse pushing Usain Bolt during the last 20 meters of the 200m semifinals.  The smiles they were exchanging while running near super-human speeds were priceless.


Usain Bolt and Andre de Grasse share a joke in the men’s 200m Getty

State of the race in analogy form

Nate Cohn had a nice summary of the state of the race earlier this week.  I particularly loved his football analogy:

According to The Upshot model, Mrs. Clinton has a better shot at winning the red state of South Carolina than Mr. Trump has at winning the presidency. In that sense, perhaps Mrs. Clinton’s position is more like having a double-digit lead at the beginning of the third quarter. [emphases mine]

At this point, it’s probably fair to say that Mrs. Clinton’s lead is real and durable. Gallup data indicates that the post-convention bounce is largely over: Both Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton’s favorability ratings have returned to where they were before the conventions.

Mrs. Clinton’s gains have proved relatively durable in part because they’ve come from Democratic-leaning voters who seem unlikely to defect to Mr. Trump. Recent polls have shown her with the support of up to 90 percent of Bernie Sanders’s supporters, and more than 90 percent of Democrats…

None of this information is incorporated into the statistical models used by The Upshot or other sites, like FiveThirtyEight. To extend the football analogy, the model has no idea whether the quarterback of the trailing team is Peyton Manning or Ryan Leaf.

Right.  And while Trump may have been a pretty good candidate to win a plurality of the Republican primary electorate, when it comes to the general election, it is damn clear which of these quarterbacks he is.

Meanwhile, I also enjoyed Harry Enten’s magician analogy in a recent 538 discussion:

clare.malone: As Nate alluded to above, Twitter is abuzz with the news that Roger Ailes is now advising Trump. People are basically asking how this might affect things — obviously, that’s only a single person, so I’m skeptical about how much impact Ailes will have, especially since Trump seems to ignore a lot of the professional advice he’s given.

harry: No matter how good a magician is, if the bunny in his or her hat is dead, the magician will stink. I don’t know if Ailes can do anything.

Stop lying about voter fraud!

It’s truly appalling that Republicans in North Carolina seem to think a key to winning elections is making it harder for people to vote in anyway possible.  Who cares about democracy when you’ve got the values of the Republican party to worry about.  From the N&O:

The N.C. Republican Party encouraged GOP appointees to county elections boards to “make party line changes to early voting” by limiting the number of hours and keeping polling sites closed on Sundays.

NCGOP executive director Dallas Woodhouse emailed the request to Republican county board members and other party members on Sunday. The News & Observer obtained copies of the emails through a public records request.

County elections boards are developing new early voting schedules in response to a federal court ruling that threw out the state’s voter ID law. In addition to revoking North Carolina’s photo ID requirement, the ruling requires counties to offer 17 days of early voting…

Early voting schedules must be approved by the three-member Board of Elections in each county. Because the state has a Republican governor, two of three members on each board are Republicans, while one is a Democrat – generally appointees recommended by their party’s leadership.

“Our Republican Board members should feel empowered to make legal changes to early voting plans, that are supported by Republicans,” Woodhouse wrote in his email to board members. “Republicans can and should make party line changes to early voting.”

Just lovely.  And the fictionalized justification for this blatantly anti-democratic (small “d” of course) approach?  Voter fraud!

Woodhouse suggests limiting early voting hours because the sites allow voters to use same-day registration – a practice the voter ID law sought to eliminate.

“We believe same-day registration is ripe with voter fraud, or the opportunity to commit it,” he wrote. “Same-day registration is only available during early voting. We are under no obligation to offer more opportunities for voter fraud.”

Damn this makes me mad.  Okay, I’m not going to curse in my blog, but I really want to when I read stuff like this.  Same day registration is simply the best way to get more citizens participating in our democracy.  Period.  And there’s zero evidence that it is more prone to in-person voter fraud (in fact, it is almost assuredly going to lead to less of this already vanishingly rare type of fraud).

I don’t like to use the term “evil” too much in politics, but this sure as hell comes close.  Woodhouse is working directly to undermine confidence in our elections and thereby our democracy based on a complete fiction and by supporting a policy which is, at it’s hear, anti-democratic.

Oh, and actual in-person voter fraud?  Philip Bump:


…we turn to the much-cited 2014 analysis of voter fraud reported by The Post. Loyola Law School professor Justin Levitt looked at 14 years of voting and found 31 possible incidents of in-person voter fraud, comprised of approximately 241 fraudulent ballots.

A lot of those incidents were far from proven, mind you. Here’s his description of one questionable incident:

Nov. 2012: A vote was apparently cast at the polls in the name of Evan Dixon in the general election in San Diego, CA; there is an Evan Dixon listed as dying 11 years earlier. It is not clear whether the two are the same person, or whether the death reports are accurate, and poll book records do not appear to have been investigated to determine whether the record of voting represented an impersonated signature or a clerical error.

The most significant chunk of those 241 are from 145 ballots that were cast between 2008 and 2011 in Michigan, where names, dates of birth and addresses of people who cast ballots matched those of people who’d died. Again, it’s not clear if that’s because someone had been signed in incorrectly at the polling place or if there had been some other clerical error. But for Levitt’s expansive tally, it counts.

So that’s 241 ballots — out of 1 billion cast.

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