Tag Archives: presidential race

Priebus: Trump now believes Russia carried out cyber attacks during election

President-elect Donald Trump accepts the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia engaged in cyber attacks during the U.S. presidential election and may take action in response, his incoming chief of staff said on Jan. 8.

Reince Priebus said Trump believes Russia was behind the intrusions into the Democratic Party organizations, although Priebus did not clarify whether the president-elect agreed that the hacks were directed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“He accepts the fact that this particular case was entities in Russia, so that’s not the issue,” Priebus said on Fox News Sunday.

It was the first acknowledgment from a senior member of the Republican president-elect’s team that Trump had accepted that Russia directed the hacking and subsequent disclosure of Democratic emails during the 2016 presidential election.

Trump had rebuffed allegations that Russia was behind the hacks or was trying to help him win, saying the intrusions could have been carried out by China or a 400-pound hacker on his bed.

With less than two weeks until his Jan. 20 inauguration, Trump has come under increasing pressure from fellow Republicans to accept intelligence community findings on Russian hacking and other attempts by Moscow to influence the Nov. 8 election. A crucial test of Republican support for Trump comes this week with the first confirmation hearings for his Cabinet picks.

A U.S. intelligence report last week said Putin directed a sophisticated influence campaign including cyber attacks to denigrate Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and support Trump.

The report concluded vote tallies were not affected by Russian interference, but did not assess whether it influenced the outcome of the vote in other ways.

‘ACTION MAY BE TAKEN’

After receiving a briefing on Friday from leaders of the U.S. intelligence agencies, Trump did not refer specifically to Russia’s role in the presidential campaign.

In a statement, he acknowledged that “Russia, China, other countries, outside groups and people are consistently trying to break through the cyber infrastructure of our governmental institutions, businesses and organizations including the Democrat(ic) National Committee.”

Trump spokesman Sean Spicer told Reuters the president-elect’s conclusions remained the same and that Priebus’ comments were in line with Friday’s statement.

Priebus’ wording did not appear to foreshadow the dramatic reversal of Trump’s apparent Russia policy that experts say would be required to deter further cyber attacks.

“It will take a lot more than what we heard on television today to make Putin cool it,” the expert added. “In fact, there may not be anything that can deter Putin from pursuing a course he’s bet his future and Russia’s on,” said a U.S. intelligence expert on Russia, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss domestic political positions.

The expert added that Putin’s “multifaceted campaign of cyber attacks and espionage, propaganda, financial leverage, fake news and traditional espionage” had expanded in the United States since the election, “and it will be a shock if it does not escalate in France, Germany and elsewhere this year.”

Priebus, the former Republican National Committee chairman Trump tapped as White House chief of staff, said Trump planned to order the intelligence community to make recommendations as to what should be done. “Action may be taken,” he said, adding there was nothing wrong with trying to have a good relationship with Russia and other countries.

Two senior Republican senators urged Trump to punish Russia in response to U.S. intelligence agencies’ conclusion that Putin personally directed efforts aimed at influencing the election.

Appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press, Sens. Lindsey Graham and John McCain said evidence was conclusive that Putin sought to influence the election — a point that Trump has refuted.

“In a couple weeks, Donald Trump will be the defender of the free world and democracy,” Graham said. “You should let everybody know in America, Republicans and Democrats, that you’re going to make Russia pay a price for trying to interfere.”

On Saturday, Trump wrote on Twitter that having a better relationship with Russia was a “good thing.”

U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said three U.S. presidents had tried and failed to be friends with Putin.

“I’m just not sure it’s possible,” Nunes said on the Fox News Sunday program. “I’ve cautioned his administration to be careful with Putin, as he remains a bad actor.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed it was not unusual for a new president to want to get along with the Russians. He added on CBS, however, that the Russians remained a “big adversary, and they demonstrated it by trying to mess around in our election.”

Obama, who himself tried to “reset” relations with Russia after he took office in 2009, told NBC he did not think he had underestimated the Russian president.

“But I think that I underestimated the degree to which, in this new information age, it is possible for misinformation for cyber hacking and so forth to have an impact on our open societies, our open systems, to insinuate themselves into our democratic practices in ways that I think are accelerating,” he said in an interview with Meet the Press broadcast on Sunday.

Trump supporters sue, seek to halt Wisconsin recount

Supporters of Donald Trump sued on Dec. 2, seeking to halt the presidential election recount taking place in Wisconsin.

Meanwhile, the Trump campaign and Michigan’s attorney general were working to block a recount in that battleground state.

The filings in Wisconsin were made on behalf of Great America PAC, the Stop Hillary PAC and Wisconsin voter Ronald R. Johnson.

The complainants argue that the recount is unconstitutional — in violation of equal protection.

Eric Beach, co-chairman of Great America PAC, stated in a news release, “Jill Stein is clearly not entitled under statute to a recount and for the state board to allow it would be a massive waste of taxpayer resources in violation of the plain reading of the statute — Wisconsinites shouldn’t pay millions to line Jill Stein’s pockets.”

The suit argues that Wisconsin law for recounts is unconstitutional because it fails the Supreme Court’s test for equal protection in the recount process established in Bush v Gore, because the state board has expressed doubt it could complete the process in time and because doing so could deny Wisconsin voters their vote in the Electoral College.

The federal complaint seeks a temporary injunction that would halt the recount.

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein requested the recounts in Wisconsin and Michigan, as well as in the battleground state of Pennsylvania.

Stein has argued that irregularities in the votes in those states suggest there could have been tampering with the vote, perhaps through a well-coordinated, highly complex cyberattack.

A statement on Stein’s website says there is a “significant need to verify machine-counted vote totals. To give you a sense of the problem, the voting machines used in Wisconsin were banned in California after they were shown to be highly vulnerable to hacking and malicious programming due to lacking security features. … This is about more than the results of this one election. This is about protecting our democracy and ensuring that ‘we the people’ can have confidence in reported results.”

Stein’s statement on the site reads, “After a divisive and painful presidential race, reported hacks into voter and party databases and individual email accounts are causing many Americans to wonder if our election results are reliable. These concerns need to be investigated before the 2016 presidential election is certified. We deserve elections we can trust.”

The deadline for the recounts to be complete is Dec. 12 because Dec. 13 is when states must certify their election results or have their electoral votes decided by Congress.

Wisconsin’s recount — the first candidate-driven statewide recount of a presidential election in 16 years — began on Dec. 1.

Most counties are manually recounting the ballots, although Stein lost a court challenge earlier this week to force hand recounts everywhere.

In Milwaukee County, the plan was to recount the ballots by feeding them through the same machines that counted them on election night.

Ballots were to be counted by hand in Dane County, where Clinton won 71 percent of the vote.

The reported returns — before the recount — showed Clinton lost to Trump by about 22,000 votes in Wisconsin.

Michigan’s board was meeting to address the Trump campaign’s opposition to Stein’s request for a hand recount of the ballot.

Additionally, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has called Stein’s request frivolous because, he said, she is not aggrieved — or not aggrieved enough.

On the web

Wisconsin Elections Commission recount updates can be found here.

Editor’s note: This story will be updated.

Clinton to join voting recount efforts in Wisconsin and elsewhere

Hillary Cinton’s campaign on Saturday announced that it would participate in a Wisconsin recount initiated by Green Party nominee Jill Stein in Wisconsin.

The campaign also said it would participate in recounts initiated by Green in Michigan and Pennsylvania.

But Clinton campaign counsel Marc Elias said the campaign’s own investigation has not uncovered any evidence of hacking of voting systems.

For days, activists had been pressuring Clinton to join the effort, in part because she won the popular vote by a significant margin of at least 2 million votes more than Republican vote. Also at issue is whether Russian government hackers had tampered with electronic voting equipment.

The Clinton campaign’s announcement came just a day after the Wisconsin Elections Commission accepted a request from Stein for a recount in the state.

Stein’s campaign has raised more than $4.5 million online to cover the costs of recounts in all three swing states that Clinton lost by razor-thin margins.

“The commission is preparing to move forward with a statewide recount of votes for president of the United States, as requested by these candidates,” WEC Administrator Michael Haas announced.

He continued, “We have assembled an internal team to direct the recount, we have been in close consultation with our county clerk partners, and have arranged for legal representation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

“We plan to hold a teleconference meeting for county clerks next week and anticipate the recount will begin late in the week after the Stein campaign has paid the recount fee, which we are still calculating.”

The last statewide recount was of the Supreme Court election in 2011.

The state is working under a federal deadline of Dec. 13 to complete the recount.

As a result, county boards of canvassers may need to work evenings and weekends to meet the deadlines, according to a news release from the department.

Haas said, “The recount process is very detail-oriented, and this deadline will certainly challenge some counties to finish on time.”

A recount is different than an audit and is more rigorous.

More than 100 reporting units across the state were randomly selected for a separate audit of their voting equipment as required by state law, and that process has already begun.

Electronic voting equipment audits determine whether all properly-marked ballots are accurately tabulated by the equipment.

In a recount, all ballots — including those that were originally hand counted — are examined to determine voter intent before being retabulated.

In addition, the county boards of canvassers will examine other documents, including poll lists, written absentee applications, rejected absentee ballots, and provisional ballots before counting the votes.

Haas said the commission’s role is to order the recount, to provide legal guidance to the counties during the recount and to certify the results.

If the candidates disagree with the results of the recount, the law gives them the right to appeal in circuit court within five business days after the recount is completed.

The circuit court is where issues are resolved that may be discovered during the recount but are not resolved to the satisfaction of the candidates.

“Wisconsin has the most decentralized election system in the United States,” Haas said in his statement.

The Clinton campaign has yet to issue a statement on the recounts. Klein’s website said the recount is “not intended to help Hillary Clinton.”

“These recounts are part of an election integrity movement to attempt to shine a light on just how untrustworthy the U.S. election system is,” according to the website.

Pollster Nate Silver and other experts don’t expect the recounts to change the results of the election.

Throughout the last weeks of the election, hackers — believed by experts to have been Russians — hacked the email of John Podesta and broadcast damning messages from inside the Clinton campaign on a daily basis. Mainstream media picked up the stories, which were never verified.

A complicated Russian-backed system exploiting social media also spread damaging lies about Clinton. The false stories were sometimes published by major news outlets.

Russia tried to influence the outcome of an election in Ukraine, and activists fear that the country might have infiltrated computerized U.S. voting machines and thrown the results. In addition to Wisconsin, Stein is asking for recounts in Michigan and Pennsylvania, where results were extremely close and at odds with the vast majority of polls just prior to Election Day.

Under current law, election officials in most states don’t have systems for checking whether results were changed using malware.

Wisconsin law calls for the state to perform a recount at a candidate’s request as long as he or she can pay for it. The state has never performed a presidential recount. Election officials estimate the effort will cost up to $1 million.

Editor’s note: This story will be updated.

A Trump presidency? Reactions to the election results

We face a starkly different America when President-elect Donald Trump takes the oath of office in January. Reactions to the election results:

Greenpeace USA executive director Annie Leonard:

Our hearts go out today to the millions of people who voted against bigotry and hate and now have to accept the fact that the man who ridiculed and threatened them for months is the President-elect of the United States. Fear may have won this election, but bravery, hope and perseverance will overcome.

Greenpeace and millions of people around the world have all the power we need to combat climate change and create a just world for everyone. Let’s use this moment to reenergize the fight for the climate and the fight for human rights around the world.

Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union:

For nearly 100 years, the American Civil Liberties Union has been the nation’s premier defender of freedom and justice for all, no matter who is president. Our role is no different today.

President-elect Trump, as you assume the nation’s highest office, we urge you to reconsider and change course on certain campaign promises you have made. These include your plan to amass a deportation force to remove 11 million undocumented immigrants; ban the entry of Muslims into our country and aggressively surveil them; punish women for accessing abortion; reauthorize waterboarding and other forms of torture; and change our nation’s libel laws and restrict freedom of expression.

These proposals are not simply un-American and wrong-headed, they are unlawful and unconstitutional. They violate the First, Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. If you do not reverse course and instead endeavor to make these campaign promises a reality, you will have to contend with the full firepower of the ACLU at every step. Our staff of litigators and activists in every state, thousands of volunteers, and millions of card-carrying supporters are ready to fight against any encroachment on our cherished freedoms and rights.

One thing is certain: we will be eternally vigilant every single day of your presidency and when you leave the Oval Office, we will do the same with your successor.

Destiny Lopez, co-director, All* Above All:

During this campaign, Donald Trump played to the darkest impulses and prejudices of the American people. This outcome sends a frightening message to women, people of color, immigrants, Muslims, and others looking for their place in the American family. We are deeply concerned about the implications for women’s health and rights, but we–women, people of color, immigrants–know what it’s like to fight impossible odds. Our communities still need access to reproductive healthcare, including abortion, and so we will keep fighting to protect and preserve that right.

May Boeve of 350.org:

It’s hard to know what to say in a moment like this. Many of us are reeling from the news and shaken to the core about what a Trump presidency will mean for the country, and the difficult work ahead for our movements.

Trump’s misogyny, racism and climate denial pose a greater threat than we’ve ever faced, and the battleground on which we’ll fight for justice of all kinds will be that much rougher.

The hardest thing to do right now is to hold on to hope, but it’s what we must do. We should feel our anger, mourn, pray, and then do everything we can to fight hate.

Our Revolution:

Tonight’s election demonstrates what most Americans knew since the beginning of the primaries: the political elite of both parties, the economists, and the media are completely out of touch with the American electorate.

Too many communities have been left behind in the global economy. Too many young people cannot afford the cost of the college education. Too many cannot afford basic necessities like health care, housing, or retirement.

Those of us who want a more equitable and inclusive America need to chart a new course that represents the needs of middle income and working families. The most important thing we can do is come together in unity and fight to protect the most vulnerable people of this country. Just like we did yesterday, Our Revolution will be on the front lines of the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal tomorrow morning. We will do everything in our power to ensure that the president-elect cannot ignore the battles Americans are facing every single day.

Tonight Donald Trump was elected president. Our job is to offer a real alternative vision and engage on the local and national level to continue the work of the political revolution in the face of a divided nation.

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign:

Throughout our nation’s history, we’ve faced devastating setbacks in our pursuit of a more perfect union. But even in the darkest of moments, Americans have summoned the courage and persistence to fight on. The results of tonight’s presidential election require us to meet tomorrow with the same resolve and determination.

This is a crucial moment for our nation and for the LGBTQ movement. The election of a man who stands opposed to our most fundamental values has left us all stunned. There will be time to analyze the results of this election, but we cannot afford to dwell. We must meet these challenges head on.

Over the last 18 months, Donald Trump and Mike Pence have intentionally sowed fear and division for cynical political purposes. They now face a decision about whether they will also govern that way. We hope, for the sake of our nation and our diverse community – which includes women, people of color, those with disabilities, immigrants, and people of all faiths and traditions – they will choose a different path.

Gay Men’s Health Crisis/GMHC CEO Kelsey Louie:

We have finally come to the end of a long and grueling election cycle, which has dominated everything from social media and television news to conversations around the dinner table. What did not change after the results came in is that GMHC still has clients to serve this morning and we still have an AIDS epidemic on our hands. With Election Day behind us, the work of running a country must continue, which is why today, I call upon the President-elect to start leading on the critical, national fight to end the AIDS epidemic within his first year in office.

Some communities and regions are losing ground in the fight, with tragically increasing rates of new infections in the Southern United States, among young men who have sex with men, women of Trans experience, and within low-income communities of color. In the coming days, weeks, and months, GMHC will continue to fight and care for those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS, just as we have since this agency was founded in Larry Kramer’s living room in 1981. We will continue to organize around modernization of the Ryan White Care Act, removing the ban on federal funding for syringe exchange programs, ensuring funding for comprehensive sexual health education, and addressing outdated HIV-criminalization laws across the United States.

As President Obama observed in his final State of the Union address, ‘we’re on track to end the scourge of HIV/AIDS. That’s within our grasp.’ The next U.S. President has an urgent opportunity and responsibility to take historic action with a more aggressive response to the epidemic. In the coming months, we will be pushing for the action, commitment and leadership needed to combat this public health crisis.

Wilfred D’Costa from the Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development:

For communities in the global south, the U.S. citizens’ choice to elect Donald Trump seems like a death sentence. Already we are suffering the effects of climate change after years of inaction by rich countries like the U.S., and with an unhinged climate change denier now in the White House, the relatively small progress made is under threat. The international community must not allow itself to be dragged into a race to the bottom. Other developed countries like Europe, Canada, Australia, and Japan must increase their pledges for pollution cuts and increase their financial support for our communities.

Jean Su from California-based Center for Biological Diversity:

The Paris Agreement was signed and ratified not by a President, but by the United States itself. One man alone, especially in the twenty-first century, should not strip the globe of the climate progress that it has made and should continue to make. As a matter of international law, and as a matter of human survival, the nations of the world can, must, and will hold the United States to its climate commitments. And it’s incumbent upon U.S. communities to unite and push forth progressive climate policies on a state and local level, where federal policy does not reign.

Becky Chung from the youth network SustainUS:

As a young woman and first-time voter I will not tolerate Trump’s denialism of the action needed for climate justice. Our country must undergo a systemic change and just transition away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy within my lifetime. The next four years are critical for getting on the right pathway, and the disastrous election of Trump serves as a solemn reminder of the path ahead of us. As young people and as climate justice movements we will be demanding real action on climate for the sake of our brothers and sisters around the world and for all future generations.

Geoffrey Kamese from Friends of the Earth Africa:

Africa is already burning. The election of Trump is a disaster for our continent. The United States, if it follows through on its new President’s rash words about withdrawing from the international climate regime, will become a pariah state in global efforts for climate action. This is a moment where the rest of the world must not waver and must redouble commitments to tackle dangerous climate change.

Jesse Bragg, from Boston-based Corporate Accountability International:

Whilst the election of a climate denier into the White House sends the wrong signal globally. The grassroots movements for climate justice — native american communities, people of color, working people – those that are at this moment defending water rights in Dakota, ending fossil fuel pollution, divesting from the fossil fuel industry, standing with communities who are losing their homes and livelihoods from extreme weather devastation to creating a renewable energy transformation – are the real beating heart of the movement for change. We will redouble our efforts, grow stronger and remain committed to stand with those on the frontline of climate injustice at home and abroad. In the absence of leadership from our government, the international community must come together redouble their effort to prevent climate disaster.

League of Women Voters president Chris Carson:

The League of Women Voters congratulates the American people for turning out in record numbers to participate in our democracy.

Unfortunately, in too many cases, voters had to overcome significant barriers that were erected by elected officials and other political operatives. These ongoing threats to voters’ rights are unacceptable.

This is the first presidential election in 50 years without the full protection of the Voting Rights Act. Thousands of eligible voters were purged from the rolls. Onerous voter ID laws prevented eligible voters from casting their ballots. We saw cases of misinformation and intimidation at the polls.

We can and must do better. All year the League has worked in more than 700 communities, in every state, to register and help eligible Americans get ready to vote. In the 2016 election, more than 4 million people used our digital voter resource, VOTE411.org to find the election information they needed.

The League of Women Voters will continue our work to expand participation in the election process and work to give a voice to all Americans.

NAACP president and CEO Cornell William Brooks:

“This beautiful fall morning represents the end of a long night filled with many midnight moments of uncertainty, voter intimidation and suppression, campaigns founded on bigotry and divisiveness as an electoral strategy.

And yet, despite the moments of ugliness, this election season has reminded us of the beauty and strength of both the nation and of the NAACP.

This was the first presidential election in more than 50 years where voters did not have the full protection of the Voting Rights Act. We confronted all manners of ugly, unconstitutional voter suppression, including voter purging, long lines and intimidation and misinformation.  When white nationalists bragged about dispensing malt liquor and marijuana in African-American communities to suppress the vote, we were neither distracted nor dissuaded from our work. When campaign operatives and candidates alike openly called for voter suppression in broad daylight and on camera, we neither flinched nor flagged in our efforts.

The NAACP prevailed in the federal courts against voter suppression no less than nine times in recent months.  In Texas, our state conference saved 608,470 votes with a victorious decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. In North Carolina, our state conference saved nearly five percent of the electorate when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that the state legislature had enacted discriminatory voting laws that intentionally targeted and disenfranchised black voters. And, just days ago, the NAACP saved nearly 4,500 voters from being purged from the North Carolina rolls.

The last five days of the campaign, after many months in planning, we formally launched our Selma Initiative, to protect the right to vote. We targeted 6,022 precincts in 17 states, dispatching both lawyers and laypeople alike to guard the ballot box and safeguard the rights of voters standing in long lines through our national command center.

Altogether, we mobilized our two million digital activists, nearly half million card-carrying members, 2,200 local units, and more than a hundred partner organizations to both protect and get out the vote through the Selma Initiative.

History will judge not only the courage of our volunteers but also the cowardice of those who chose again and again to suppress the vote rather than listen to the voice of democracy this year.  History may take note of the Selma Initiative, but let us all now remember Shena Goode, a 79-year-old NAACP volunteer who not only organized a virtual phone bank in her apartment complex, but also made more than 200 calls in a single day to get out the vote. Her story is the story of the NAACP and the nation. When civil rights are threatened, we are as persistent as we are determined.

Now that the election is over, the first priority for a new Congress and a new president must be restoring the badly-broken Voting Rights Act.  We cannot afford to send untold teams of lawyers to court and spend incalculable sums of money to defend our right to vote in the courts and in the streets again and again and again.

Any effort to suppress the vote, whether at the hands of lawmakers, judges or everyday people, is and must continue to be considered unjust, un-American and utterly unacceptable. The NAACP will not rest until full and equal voting rights are restored for each and every American citizen.

Editor’s note: We’ll be updating this page throughout the day. And we welcome your reaction.

Election year fatigue? Blame it in part on the race of 1840

Presidential elections are a foundation of American democracy dating back to George Washington. But presidential campaigns, as we know and endure them, came later.

In a book published this fall, The Carnival Campaign, author Ronald G. Shafer reflects on the race in 1840 that laid the groundwork for today’s songs and speeches, insults and branding, rumors about health and left us with a catchphrase for the ages, “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too.”

Gone forever were the elections for which candidates stayed home and hesitated even to say they were candidates, Shafer told The Associated Press in an interview.

“Originally, you had to kind of pretend that you weren’t running for president because it was thought that the office sought the man,” Shafer says.

The contenders in 1840 were President Martin Van Buren, a democrat, and Whig Party candidate William Henry Harrison, a War of 1812 hero and, at age 67, the oldest man at that time to seek the White House.

Van Buren, nicknamed “The Little Magician,” was known as a skillful and influential politician and organizer.

But the economy was still suffering from the “Panic of 1837” and the president would find himself on the wrong side of an argument few candidates can afford to lose — which one was seen as a “man of the people”?

Thanks to a flippant remark by a democratic newspaper that Harrison was better off drinking hard cider in his “log cabin,” the Whigs effectively fashioned their well-to-do nominee as an ordinary citizen and helped make the log cabin a national symbol. Harrison and running mate John Tyler won easily, but Harrison’s candidacy had a more enduring legacy than his presidency; he fell ill soon after taking office and died in the spring of 1841.

During a recent interview with The Associated Press, Shafer discussed the innovations of the 1840 race:

On Harrison, an Ohio native, becoming the first major nominee to give a public speech:

“(The Democrats) called him General Mum. They said that he was kept in the cage because they didn’t trust him to talk for himself, and this really upset Harrison. So one day, he got an invitation to come speak at a memorial service at a fort that he had helped defend during the War of 1812, Fort Meigs up near Toledo. So he accepted it … He did leave his silk hat at home, and he took his farmer’s hat because he wasn’t going to mess with the image, and he stopped overnight in Columbus, Ohio, right in the middle of town, right in the middle of the state, the capital of Ohio. The next morning, he was leaving to go on his way, and there was a crowd outside. So he started saying a few remarks, and pretty soon, he had launched into a speech.

“And he went around the state, and it was so unusual that he drew crowds in Dayton and Cincinnati, 100,000 people, which given the population back in those days was quite incredible.”

On the public’s perception of Harrison:

“His was the first heavily marketed presidential campaign, and there were all kinds of posters of him as a general, as a middle-aged man. There were even some paintings of him as this man standing against the background of the evening sun, and so when people saw him in person, they were quite shocked in some cases because he was 67 years old. He was graying, a little slow, but once he started, once they saw him, and he started talking, he seemed more lively, and he had a good touch of showmanship, too. He would ride up to the stands sometimes on his white horse and hop off and talk. He would make jokes about people saying, ‘Well, you see, I’m not walking on crutches, and I’m not the old man that you read about in the opposition newspaper.””

On the Harrison campaign as a commercial phenomenon:

“There were hundreds of products promoting either Tippecanoe (a famous military victory for Harrison) or Harrison, including … Tippecanoe soap, shaving soap. There were canes. There were pictures. There were plates with log cabins on them. There were all kinds of medicines, and companies just used the election in their own advertisements, and there was this free advertising for the Harrison campaign.”

On how Alexander Coffman Ross, a jeweler from Zanesville, Ohio, helped invent the campaign song and coined “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too”:

“The Whig Party had gotten every town to have their own Tippecanoe Glee Club of singers. So he went back, and he wrote this song about the great commotion of this ball. But the final part of it, the final verse was about ‘Tippecanoe and Tyler Too.’ Well, this just took off. In today’s terms, it went viral. All over the country, people were singing this song about ‘Tippecanoe and Tyler Too.’”

I-4 from Tampa to Daytona: This is where the election could be decided

The Interstate 4 corridor stretching from the Tampa Bay area through Orlando to Daytona Beach is a bellwether of the nation’s largest swing state, where candidates are campaigning vigorously.

North Florida is predictably Republican, and South Florida remains strongly Democratic, leaving a swath around Interstate 4 as the state’s primary battleground.

The 6.5 million residents living around the 140-mile highway reflect the diversity of the state, and they account for a third of Florida’s registered voters. The large bustling metros of Tampa and Orlando are broken up by the citrus and cattle fiefdoms of Polk County.

Kissimmee in suburban Orlando has become a destination for Puerto Ricans fleeing the deteriorating economy on the island. The suburbs of Orlando give way to the motors sports traditions of Daytona Beach and the gateway to the Kennedy Space Center.

More than a third of I-4 voters are registered Democrats, a third are registered Republicans and a quarter have no party affiliation.

John Long is looking for someone who will overturn the political apple cart, and sees Trump as the answer. He feels there are too many ties between Big Business and Washington politicians, and small businesses are overlooked.

Clinton is at the center of that nexus, and she hasn’t been held accountable for using a private email server as secretary of state, he said.

“That’s what I like about Donald Trump. He’s an outsider,” said Long, a former Kennedy Space Center worker, who now runs a bicycle shop on Florida’s Space Coast. “Hillary is too embedded in the political machine, in it for her own desire for power at the expense of the nation.”

Robert Thomas wants to do his civic duty and vote for president but finds shortcomings in both major-party candidates. So he is voting for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.

Thomas, who is African-American, worries about some of the racist views of Trump supporters. But he feels the Democratic administration of President Barack Obama only “has paid a lot of lip-service” to middle-class economic recovery from the recession, and it’s not enough for him to vote for Clinton, even though he respects her experience.

“I’m not voting for either,” Thomas, a retired soldier from the elite 101st Airborne Division who has voted Republican most of his life, said while fishing on the Cocoa Beach Pier. “I’m going to vote for Gary. Put him on the ticket.”

Donna-Lynne Dalton, who is voting for Clinton, has two things on her mind: higher wages and better benefits for her workers.

Dalton, a business agent with Teamsters Local 385, who represents Walt Disney World workers, including costumed characters, worries that a Trump presidency would chip away at workers’ rights.

Workers “don’t have a lot of rights as it is, but a union contract does protect them,” Dalton said in her union hall office in Orlando. “Trump has made it clear that he’s not in favor of any of that.”

Robin Rowbotham insists she isn’t throwing her vote away by voting for Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

Rowbotham, who dances under the stage name “Tesla” at the famous Tampa strip club, Mons Venus, said she wanted to support Clinton but changed her mind after the debates reinforced her belief that the Democrat is dishonest. She calls Trump’s discussion about groping women without their permission unacceptable.

“As a dancer, I get guys say things but I do not condone it. I feel that if you say something, chances are you are going to do it,” she said in the club’s dressing room of the club. “Do we want somebody like that leading the country?”

Diana Font had been wavering about who to support for president.

The Orlando-area event planner and executive director of the local Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce was a supporter of Marco Rubio in the Republican primary and wanted to stay true to her party. But Trump’s multiple bankruptcies raised red flags about his ability to lead the country, and the allegations that he had groped women without their permission, also gave her deep pause. The last debate was the final straw, said the lifelong Republican, since she felt he was whining “that everybody is against him.” She is voting for Clinton.

Feingold, Johnson US Senate rematch heads to finish

Six years ago Ron Johnson came out of nowhere to beat three-term U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, a Republican victory that chipped away at the Democratic majority before the GOP took control in 2014.

Now Democrats are looking to Wisconsin, and Feingold yet again, in the hopes that a rematch victory will help them regain the majority.

Democrats, and Feingold, have reasons to be confident. Polls have consistently shown Feingold ahead in the race and Republicans traditionally fare worse in Wisconsin in presidential years because turnout favors Democrats.

But in a year when Donald Trump’s presidential run has shaken up expectations, Johnson’s team argues against reading too much into the data. They insist the race is heading in their direction in the final days, saying their voter outreach effort will be part of the difference maker on Election Day.

“No one will outhustle Ron and this team,” his campaign manager said in a memo to supporters on Oct. 23. “Ron’s been underestimated before, and smart observers would be wise not to do so again.”

But Feingold was all smiles and brimming with confidence when he cast his ballot just over two weeks before the election, saying that Johnson’s decision to label him as a “phony” showed the incumbent was becoming desperate.

In an Associated Press interview, Feingold said his pitch to undecided voters is that he’s on the side of middle income and working families on the key issues.

“It’s real clear I’m the candidate who’s likely to vote with middle income working families, on everything from minimum wage to family leave to prescription medicine to student loans,” Feingold said.

Johnson argues that Feingold is an out-of-touch “career politician” who wants nothing more than to return to Washington where he served as a senator for 18 years.

“Every type of plan that Senator Feingold has is going to grow government and when we grow government, just like night follows day, government’s going to demand more of your hard-earned money, going to take more of your freedom,” Johnson told AP. “I actually want to limit government to those enumerated powers and I want to make sure that Wisconsinites keep more of their heard-earned money.”

Johnson has emphasized his experience creating jobs and building the Oshkosh plastics manufacturing company Pacur before winning election to the Senate, saying that real-life experience sets him apart from Feingold. Johnson said in one of the debates that “I am the working man.”

Feingold has tried to turn Johnson’s business background against him, painting him as an out-of-touch millionaire who accepted $10 million in deferred compensation before leaving the company to join the Senate.

Both Johnson and Feingold are battling the tides of history.

Due in part to the larger Democratic turnout, no Republican has been elected senator in Wisconsin in a presidential year since 1980.

But just as daunting for Feingold, no former senator has won a rematch against the person who defeated them since 1934.

And former senators have only won election to return to the Senate twice in the past 60 years.

Millions of dollars in advertising, both from the candidates and outside groups, has poured into the state. Political action committees have spent six times as much to help Johnson over Feingold: $8.9 million to $1.4 million, based on a tally by the Center for Responsive Politics.

The two candidates combined have spent more than $28 million on the race.

The presidential race has loomed large.

Feingold repeatedly called on Johnson to join other Republicans in revoking his support for Trump. Johnson refused. Likewise, Feingold has stood by his description of Hillary Clinton as “honest and trustworthy,” even though Wisconsin polls have consistently shown voters don’t see her that way.

But Feingold has also emphasized his independence, sticking by his vote against the Patriot Act following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He was the only senator to oppose it.

“I didn’t do what the Democrats wanted me to do on it or Republicans,” Feingold said. “I did what Wisconsinites want, to do your job and actually look at the legislation and decide whether it could be better and it definitely needed to be improved.”

Johnson has pledged not to seek a third term should he win.

“I will be the calmest guy on my election night because I win either way,” Johnson said in a line often used throughout the campaign and repeated in a radio interview two weeks before the election. “I either go back to my life that I love that I miss, or I can fight again and go back to Washington.”

Libertarian Phil Anderson is also on the ballot.

Trump’s ‘Nasty Woman’ remark becomes feminist battlecry

“Such a nasty woman.” Like many people, 23-year-old Emily DiVito was multitasking while watching last week’s presidential debate, with a little studying and a little Twitter-surfing. But when DiVito heard Donald Trump say those four words to Hillary Clinton, she shot up in her seat.

“The interruptions were so absurd, but that was particularly biting,” she said.

What’s more, the moment gave DiVito, a former avid supporter of Clinton’s primary rival Bernie Sanders, a feeling of solidarity with Clinton — a “moment of connectivity,” as she put it. “I was for Bernie, but moments like this make me proud to be affiliated with her, the way she is persevering.”

That’s good news for Clinton, who despite her lead in the polls, has struggled to connect with millennial voters.

It also was probably bad news for Trump. Days after his devastating “grab ‘em” remarks emerged and he started facing new allegations of sexual assault, the GOP presidential nominee had another bad week, leading some to wonder whether his popularity with female voters had reached rock bottom.

The candidate who so badly needed to close the gender gap instead saw his “nasty woman” remark — accompanied by a wagging index finger — become a feminist battle cry, a galvanizing moment for Clinton and an exclamation point to a campaign dominated by gender.

To Kathy Spillar, the “nasty woman” comment sounded like “the coffin shutting.””

“I thought, ‘That’s it,”” said Spillar, executive director of the Feminist Majority Foundation. “Women voters are going to defeat Trump.” The comment, she said, not only “summed up his whole attitude about women,” but showed how bitter he was about potentially losing to one.

“Losing would be bad enough, but that he has lost to a woman really grates on him,” Spillar said. “That’s certainly clear. And this just fuels the gender gap.”

An ABC News poll conducted in the days following Wednesday’s debate gave Clinton a 55 percent-35 percent lead over Trump among women. Among college-educated white women, the gap was 62 percent to 30 percent. Likely voters, by a margin of 69 percent to 24 percent, disapproved of Trump’s response to questions about his treatment of women. In a Quinnipiac University poll conducted before that debate, Clinton led Trump among women by 52 percent to 37 percent.

Also, an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released a few days before the debate showed women favoring Clinton over Trump by 55 percent to 35 percent.

The “nasty woman” interjection  — coming on a night when both candidates interrupted each other frequently — went viral.

Spotify tweeted that streams of Janet Jackson’s “Nasty” were up 250 percent.

“Nasty Woman” T-shirts were on offer (“Bad Hombre” ones, too.)

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader in the House, got in on the act, tweeting to Clinton: “From one #NastyWoman to another, you were an inspiration last night.”

“So much of this election cycle has been about the ways men belittle women when they don’t get what they want from them,” said Andi Zeisler, 43, feminist author and founder of the nonprofit Bitch Media. “Now, people are seeing themselves in Donald Trump’s words toward Hillary, they’re seeing themselves in how his surrogates act toward women _ and toward Latinos and anyone who is not a straight white man.”

The “nasty woman” remark, she said, is a “somewhat predictable and almost laughable apex” of what’s been going on all year. But, she added, it is totally possible that there might be a new apex to come.

Throughout the debate, Clinton tried to highlight her opponent’s trouble with female voters, saying at one point: “Donald thinks belittling women makes him bigger.” When it came to abortion, she argued in a pointed way for a woman’s right to control her own body, after Trump said he would appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade.

That, too, impressed DiVito, who worked for Sanders’ campaign for several months after graduating from Wellesley, Clinton’s alma mater.

“I felt solidarity rooted in pride for a woman who was up there sticking up for other women against a man who has zero interest in trying to empathize with the emotional and physical complexity of abortion,” DiVito said.

It didn’t help Trump that he evoked audible laughter in the audience — despite moderator Chris Wallace’s admonitions to the crowd — when he said: “Nobody has more respect for women than I do.”

Debbie Walsh, who specializes in women and politics at Rutgers University, said she wasn’t particularly shocked by Trump’s remark, given his other recent statements.

“Gender is front and center in this campaign, and he is clearly using it,” said Walsh, director of the school’s Center for American Women and Politics. She recalled Trump’s saying Clinton had “tremendous hate in her heart,” calling her the devil, even saying he “wasn’t impressed” when she walked in front of him _ interpreted as a comment on her appearance.

“He is the gift that keeps on giving on this stuff,” Walsh said.

For a male Clinton supporter, the moment was a chance to reflect on how women might react when they hear such things.

“I imagined women throwing things at the TV,” said Stefan Krieger, 69, a law professor in New York. “I imagine there are some men that say such things to their girlfriends, their wives, their partners, in a fit of rage. It’s a way of men lashing out with power.”

“I hope I’m not like that.”

Groups urge action to protect voting rights on Election Day

Amid threats of Election Day intimidation, dozens of civil rights and voting rights groups called on state election officials to create plans to prevent voting discrimination.

In their call, the groups emphasized this the Nov. 8 election is the first presidential election in 50 years without a fully operable Voting Rights Act.

In letters to Wisconsin election officials and officials in the other 49 states, the groups cite their concern with the loss of Section 5 of the VRA. The letters state, “Since Congress has failed to pass a bill to restore the VRA, which has resulted in DOJ’s lacking authority over voting changes in places that Congress determined in 2006 should continue to have federal oversight, we are extremely concerned that there will be widespread voter discrimination in the upcoming presidential election.”

To blunt the impact of voting discrimination, these organizations are engaging in a massive litigation effort and an election protection campaign to protect voters at the polls, including in Wisconsin.

Efforts to turn back several statewide discriminatory voter laws in the courts have been effective, but voters have little protection from local election changes, the misapplication and misunderstanding of new voting restrictions by poll workers, or threats of intimidation from polling place vigilantes.

“The loss of Section 5 and the most racially bigoted presidential campaign in generations has created a perfect storm for voter intimidation and voter discrimination,” said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “State election officials must address these unprecedented threats head on by creating and publicizing clear plans to prevent intimidation and discrimination, and to make it unequivocally clear to the voters they serve that the elections they oversee will be safe, fair, and free from intimidation, violence, and discrimination.”

Read the letter from the rights groups

October 24, 2016

Dear Secretary of State:

On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States, and the 86 undersigned organizations, we write to express our grave concern over the first presidential election in 50 years without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). We urge you to develop a plan to ensure that no one in your state is disenfranchised in the upcoming election.

As you know, the VRA protected the voting rights of racial and ethnic minorities in several states and local jurisdictions where they had been historically discriminated against in voting. These jurisdictions were covered by Section 5 of the VRA, which required the Department of Justice (DOJ) to approve any changes to voting in specific states and localities. However, in 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court’s devastating decision in Shelby County v. Holder negated the pre-clearance requirement and the DOJ’s authority to send observers to covered jurisdictions. Following Shelby, numerous states have passed voting laws, which several federal courts agree have a disparate impact on people of color and language minorities. In the case of North Carolina, for example, the courts found that the state’s massive bundle of voting restrictions, passed within weeks of the Shelby decision, targeted African Americans “with almost surgical precision.”[1] Evidence shows that restrictive voter laws also suppress turnout of the elderly, [2] people with disabilities, [3] and students. [4]

And while some courts have taken action to block discriminatory laws in states like North Carolina and Texas, these decisions came only after years of costly litigation during which impacted citizens were blocked from voting in the 2014 elections and this year’s primaries. Meanwhile, there is no way of knowing how many potentially discriminatory voting changes are being made by cities, counties, school boards, water boards and other local jurisdictions that were previously required to be precleared. According to “Democracy Diminished,”[5] a report by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., “more than 85% of preclearance work previously done under Section 5 was at the local level.”

Since Congress has failed to pass a bill to restore the VRA, which has resulted in DOJ’s lacking authority over voting changes in places that Congress determined in 2006 should continue to have federal oversight, we are extremely concerned that there will be widespread voter discrimination in the upcoming presidential election. This is exacerbated by the fact that there will be no DOJ observers holding jurisdictions accountable. In the 2012 general election, the Department of Justice sent 780 federal observers to 51 jurisdictions in 23 states. [6] Following the Shelby decision, DOJ has said it will not deploy election observers in 2016. The potentially detrimental effect of the absence of this critical voter protection tool cannot be overstated. [7]

Given the many recent examples of post-Shelby voting discrimination, we urge you to be vigilant regarding potential voter disenfranchisement in your state this November.

Sincerely,

9to5, National Association of Working Women

A. PHILIP RANDOLPH INSTITUTE

AFL-CIO

African American Ministers In Action (AAMIA)

American Association of People with Disabilities

American Association of University Women (AAUW)

American Civil Liberties Union

American Constitution Society for Law and Policy

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees

American Federation of Teachers

American Jewish Committee (AJC)

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee

Americans for Democratic Action (ADA)

Anti-Defamation League

Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF)

Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC

Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote)

Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law

Bend the Arc Jewish Action

Black Women’s Roundtable

Black Youth Vote!

Brennan Center for Justice

Campaign Legal Center

The Center for Popular Democracy

Center for Women Policy Studies

Democracy Initiative

Demos

Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund

Feminist Majority

Franciscan Action Network

Friends of the Earth – United States

Human Rights Campaign

Human Rights First

IAWRTUSA

Institute for Science and Human Values

Jewish Council for Public Affairs

Jobs With Justice

LatinoJustice PRLDEF

Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

League of Women Voters of the United States

MALDEF

MoveOn.org

NAACP

NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

NAACP-National Voter Fund

NALEO Educational Fund

National Action Network’s Washington Bureau

National Asian Pacific American Bar Association

National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum

National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO)

National Association of Social Workers

National Center for Transgender Equality

National Coalition on Black Civic Participation

National Congress of American Indians

National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA)

National Council of Churches

National Council of Jewish Women

National Education Association

National LGBTQ Task Force

National Urban League

NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice

OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates

OWL-The Voice of Women 40+

People For the American Way Foundation

People’s Action

Project Vote

Public Citizen

Rock the Vote

Service Employees International Union (SEIU)

Sikh American Legal Defense & Education Fund (SALDEF)

Southern Coalition for Social Justice

Southern Poverty Law Center

U.S. Women and Cuba Collaboration

Union for Reform Judaism

United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries

United Food and Commercial Workers International Union

US Human Rights Network

Vote.org

The Voter Participation Center

VoteRiders

Voting Rights Forward

The Voting Rights Institute

Voto Latino

Women’s Research & Education Institute

World Without Genocide at Mitchell Hamline School of Law

Young People For, a program of the People For the American Way Foundation

Early voting strongest in Wisconsin’s Democratic counties

About 1 in 3 absentee ballots cast in Wisconsin so far have come from the state’s largest and most heavily Democratic counties, giving Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign a reason to be optimistic about its chances here.

Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook, in a conference call with reporters on Thursday, singled out Dane and Milwaukee counties as places around the country where early voting turnout was strong.

Wisconsin voters do not register by party, so it’s impossible to know whether more Republicans or Democrats are voting early. But high turnout in Madison and Milwaukee, the state’s two largest and most Democratic cities, is essential for Clinton’s campaign and that of Senate candidate Russ Feingold.

Numbers compiled by the state Elections Commission show that as of Friday, 70,740 absentee ballots have been returned statewide. Of those, 22,511 were from either Milwaukee or Dane counties, or about 31 percent of the total cast statewide. By comparison, in the heavily Republican suburban Milwaukee counties of Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington, only 6,420 early votes have been cast.

In-person absentee voting hasn’t started yet in many Republican parts of the state. But even when counting only mailed-in absentee ballots, about twice as many have been returned in Milwaukee and Dane counties compared with Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties.

Gov. Scott Walker on Friday downplayed the early returns, saying that given the unconventional campaign Donald Trump is running, “it’s hard to tell if conventional trends will be in line.” Walker said he was confident that grass roots organizing by Republicans will drive strong turnout for GOP candidates.

Walker referred to the unconventional nature of the Trump campaign the day The Washington Post broke the story about a videotape in which Trump made lewd and vulgar comments about groping women and trying to have sex with a married woman. At the time, he already was married to his current wife.

Milwaukee and Madison began offering in-person absentee voting on Sept. 26 after a federal judge ruled in July that a two-week limit on voting early was unconstitutional. Other smaller cities, towns and villages have also been allowing voters to cast ballots weeks ahead of the election. Still others will begin or expand early voting opportunities in the next three weeks.

Clinton’s and Feingold’s campaigns have been making a push in recent days for early voting in Wisconsin, with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren coming to the state for get-out-the-vote drives. Feingold appeared with Sanders on Wednesday and he planned to attend a downtown Madison rally with Warren on Friday. Former President Bill Clinton was expected to campaign in Milwaukee on Saturday.

Trump and Feingold’s opponent, Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, have also been encouraging their supporters to get to the polls early. Trump had scheduled a campaign stop Saturday in southeast Wisconsin, where he was to be joined by Johnson, House Speaker Paul Ryan, Walker and other Republican officeholders and top officials. However, Ryan said on Friday that he was sickened by the tape containing Trump’s comments about women and Trump would not be joining him at the event.

Early voting opportunities vary across the state. Green Bay, where people lined up to cast ballots in the April presidential primary and there is an open congressional seat, has only one location for early voting open at the city clerk’s office downtown. That has generated complaints from Democrats who want early voting to also be available on the University of Wisconsin campus about 5 miles away.

City clerk Kris Teske has said she doesn’t have the staff or budget to expand hours and locations.

Liberal advocacy group One Wisconsin Now has pushed for expanding early voting in Green Bay and other cities, including Kenosha and Racine. Scot Ross, director of the group, said it was “unfortunate” that early voting hours and locations are so haphazard across the state.

“Everybody should have as long of a period to vote as possible,” Ross said.

Madison and Milwaukee plan on expanded early voting locations. Milwaukee has had just one voting location since Sept. 26, but two more sites open Monday. Eleven polling places are open in and around Madison, with three to open later in October at the University of Wisconsin and Edgewood College.

Neil Albrecht, Milwaukee elections commissioner, said he wasn’t surprised that the first 10 days of early in-person voting resulted in only about 3,200 ballots cast in his city. In Madison, about 4,800 people had voted in-person absentee by Thursday morning.

As of Friday, more than half of the early votes cast so far — about 38,793 out of 70,740 — have been done in person. In 2012, more than 512,000 people cast in-person absentee ballots statewide in the presidential race out of about 659,000 absentee ballots in total.