The Fix Live

Aug 05, 2016

The Fix's Chris Cillizza discussed the latest in political news. Join his live chat every Friday at 11 a.m.

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Good morning everyone! This is my last chat before I go on vacation. So, I plan to mail it in. Just warning.

Did anything happen in politics this week?

Let's do it.

August was a really quiet month for politics?

No one who has followed politics for the last decade. There are no more quiet times or slow periods. None.

Which, frankly, makes it a very good time to be a political writer.

Did any of them start on time?


Gotta be the Fairfax mayor!

Holy crap.  That story is UNREAL. Read it immediately.

But, given the stakes, I think it might be ole Donald J. Trump, no?

short of a 9/11 type terrorist attack in the usa, when does the window close on trump being able to turn this around? when does it become impossible for ryan & others to unendorse trump & have it be the slightest bit "honorable"?

I don't think a pivot is possible.  He is who he is.

I think he could make some changes around the edges -- more message discipline, for one -- that might help him close the gap.

I don't think Trump is going to lose by 15 points to Clinton or even 10.  The country still feels too polarized for that to happen. But he's clearly behind and looks likely to stay there unless he starts getting better at all of this sometime soon.

Not really close this week, is it? Is it possible Trump has had the worst week in the history of WWIW?

Not worse than Anthony Weiner who is still the all-time Worst Week champ.

But, short of a public sex scandal, Trump had a really bad week. Picking needless fights that he can't win. Feuding with his own party. And the poll numbers. Oh, the poll numbers. When, if ever, is Trump going to hit bottom? He's got to bounce back from this at some point, right?

I think he will.  I think she is enjoying a considerable convention bounce compounded by the fact that Trump has had a totally disastrous week.

But, the fact that the Clinton team has dropped advertising in VA and CO should scare you if you are a Republican. If the Clinton folks think those two swing states are already wrapped up, it's going to be very hard for Trump to win.

We're likely to see a few more Republican Congressmen come out in support of Clinton. If she wins the election, does this kind of support signify the potential for more working together (aka compromise) on both sides of the aisle?

I am not sure we are going to see Republican Members endorsing Clinton. I think we will see plenty say they can't vote for Trump. That doesn't mean they vote for her. They could either not vote, vote for the Libertarian ticket or write someone in.

I also have a son (in college) with ansphylaxis due to food allergies, and I can remember when EpiPens could be had with just a $15 copay when he was in elementary school. For his last renewal, we paid $200 out-of-pocket. The idea that they aren't considered a medical necessity is baffling. For our family, the cost is mostly an annoyance, but I hate to think of others skipping EpiPens because the cost is a true hardship. I am really grateful that my son has reached age 21 without ever needing to use his. Good luck with your boys.

Totally agree. We are blessed that we can afford to pay the outrageous cost of EpiPens. But lots of people can't.

Here's the piece I did.

Full disclosure, I voted for Obama twice but I found his rather strong statements about Trump this week a little unseemly, kind of thought that he ought to stay above the fray so to speak. Is it just me who feels like this was a little out of bounds or is this good politics since his approval ratings are pretty high?

I was very surprised he called Trump "unfit to serve" during a press conference with the prime minister of Singapore.  That is the sort of full-weight-of-the-presidency thing that I don't necessarily expect from Obama.

So, why did he do it? I think he not only genuinely dislikes Trump but believes Trump would be dangerous as the commander-in-chief.

I know you will probably not even see this question, but isn't the Post really piling on Trump awfully early. There is never any suspense as to who the paper will endorse, and i won't be voting for Trump or Hillary either, both are too flawed in my opinion to be allowed near the Oval Office. But I am taken by the volume of vitriol focused on Trump. I worry the paper will create more converts to Trump than garner support for Clinton.

I say this all the time: The editorial board (who endorses candidates) is TOTALLY separate from the news side of the business.

We don't consult one another. They have one job to do, we have a totally different one to do. So whether the Post editorial board endorses Trump or Clinton is meaningless to me.

Hi Chris: I hate to use a sports analogy but: If we wanted to see who is ahead of a baseball game in progress and a Web site just gave us who has the most hits, wouldn't that be somewhat meaningless. Yet almost all of the attention is given to the national polls, with little, with the exception of a day like yesterday, to the electoral college polls. Why? (We shouldn't ask President Gore that question) Is there some formula where we can convert a 9 point lead in the national poll to a ? lead in the electoral poll. Thanks

Well, we at The Fix write about both!

There were polls in New Hampshire (Clinton +17), Pennsylvania (Clinton + 9) and Michigan (Clinton +11) released this week all of which tell a story similar to the national data.

Trump is behind by the biggest margin of the race.

Read this

Chris, when does your new podcast start? Any chance you could share the name? How about taking a big swallow of honey before you record it, so your voice doesn't sound like a teenage girl's?

My teenage girl voice is endearing!  Or maybe that's just what I tell myself.

And we just finished up a second test run for it. I won't give away the name yet. But, in terms of format, think quiz show.

I periodically hear reports of results from the latest Survey Monkey poll, which I think is affiliated with NBC/MSNBC. Perhaps it jokey name makes me skeptical. What is Survey Monkey and are its results considered important?

Very serious and credible Internet polling operation in California.

Former WaPo pollster Jon Cohen is an uppity up with them. And he is REALLY smart.

As someone who runs a blog called The Fix, I am not sure I am in a position to pick apart names of things....

Did we jump to 2024 while I was asleep?

Georgia has been on the fringes of competitive for a while now because of its black population and growing Hispanic community. The white vote is aligning more and more with Republicans, however, which has made it hard for Democrats to win. 

But, Trump is not someone who sells well to suburban Atlanta whites, giving Clinton an in there.

Is anyone not rhyming with Drumpf even in contention this week?

Since its never too early, if Trump loses, does Cruz start out as the leader?

2020 top tier is Cruz, Ryan , Rubio and, maybe, Pence.

Pence is the hardest one to guess on because I don't know if he is seen as the heir to the Trump political movement or ig being the heir is a good thing.

What does his concession speech sound like?

I am not totally sure he concedes, honestly. 

He is already laying the groundwork for the idea that the whole elections is "rigged," meaning that if he loses he can use that as a fallback and never admit defeat.

How much has this week, and this election cycle hurt Paul Ryans 2020 Presidential chances? He has looked pretty weak lately.

Disagree. Assuming he wins his primary easily -- and I think he will -- and continues to push back when Trump goes over the line, I think Ryan is well positioned to run in 2020 if Trump loses.

He will be the establishment favorite -- for whatever that's worth nowadays.

Do you think Pence is wishing he stayed in Indiana? Or were his reelection chances really that bad...

I think when you get offered the chance to be VP on a national ticket, you take it. 

Yes, Pence had a real race in Indiana. But the conventional wisdom that he was definitely going to lose it simply isn't born out by the facts.

I think Pence figured that best case scenario he is vice president and worst case scenario he can say he tried to rein Trump in for the good of the party.

You're colleague Philip Bump's 23 things that would have doomed anyone but Trump was the best thing I've read all year! Has Trump compiled enough head scratchers, facepalms and Jeb(!)'s to warrant another list?

It WAS really good! Read it!

What are the odds we have even 1 let alone 3? A week ago when Trump started to complain about the schedule, it seemed to be a precursor to him getting out of them altogether. But given that he's not beating that drum any more, is it a good guess he has been appeased in some way and will participate in at least the initial debate?

I still think Trump does the first debate on September 26. But I am not at all sure he does anymore.

Again, he is laying the groundwork for that right now -- bashing the debates as purposely scheduled on nights the NFL is on.

Trump doesn't like to debate and knows in his heart of hearts he isn't great at it. So any out he can exploit, he will.

One week until the EPL season starts. Are you pumped for the start of the season?

YES! And that reminds me I need to set up my fantasy EPL league!


Will you be watching?

HECK YEAH. Love the Olympics. And Fix Jr and Fix III are really looking forward to it.

I am rooting like crazy for USA Field Hockey.

How is it that AZ looks like a close race? That was a reliable Republican state.

Simple: Trump is doing remarkably badly among non-white voters and there are lots of them in Arizona.

When then Gov. Jan Brewer signed the state's very controversial immigration law a few years back, she effectively bifurcated the electorate: Whites voted Republican, everyone else voted Democratic.

There were (are?) enough white voters in the state to keep it Republican. But, Trump is doing so badly with non white voters -- and running behind where he should be with college-educated whites -- that the state is competitive.

My friends and I have been discussing the possibility of Paul Ryan becoming the nominee. Paul Manafort might have made a Freudian slip this morning. I feel a little like a conspiracy theorist even thinking that somehow Paul Ryan could wind up the nominee after Trump is forced out. Is there any possibility that could happen?

Not really, no. Not unless Trump just quits, which I don't think he is going to do.

It's all explained here

After that Post interview, I'm convinced. His ego is too big to actually quit or get thumped by Hilary and be deemed a "loser", but if he gets the GOP to force him out (my guess is by Congressional leadership openly opposing him), he can claim that everything's rigged and he can make a couple hundred million setting up some kind of a media empire where his devotees can sip the Kool-Aid.

I recommend that everyone read the annotated Trump interview transcript. It's pretty remarkable. 

Of those four Senate seats, do you think Democrats will win any of them in November?

All are long shots. In order of likelihood of Dems winning:





Has to be Trump. Just sayin.

I think that's right.

Do you really believe that Trump is making all these statements accidentally, without control, or is it part of a game he's playing?

What is the game if it's a game?  I am genuinely asking. Because I struggle to see the broader strategy at play in refusing to endorse Paul Ryan or getting into an extended back and forth with a Gold Star family about what sacrifice means.

If dems can retake senate in 2016, do you think GOP will immediately take it back in 2018?

Probably yes. 2018 is a horrendous cycle for Democrats.   For starters they have to defend 5 seats in states Obama lost either 2008, 2012 or both.

This is a good piece on just how hard 2018 will be for Democrats.

In the current Trump-meltdown in the polls, is a scenario possible or even likely where de Democrats take back not only the senate but also the house?

Possible for sure. Likely, still not there.

The problem is that you can see 15-20 Republican seats falling relatively easily in an anti-Trump wave. It's the next 15 that are very very tough.

Do you totally unplug from your electronic devices while on vacation?


But, this time I am going to really try.  For real. I need a break.

Will the Olympic games pause the campaign coverage and polling as usual or is this year to compelling / shocking to stay away?

Big moments like the Olympics tend to freeze things in place. That's good for Hillary given where she is in the polls right now.

It's just very hard to break through the news cycle with peoples's eyes on the Olympics. That's even more true this year with the concerns about Zika and terrorism.

This election cycle has me wanting to curl up under my desk in a fetal position. How are you holding up? And if you're holding up well, what is your secret?

I am doing great!

I just love this stuff.  Plus, I get to go home to my wife and two boys almost every night and they give me good perspective and keep me in good spirits.

Do you put any stock in these polls showing Clinton leading GA? I'd like to think that the state is in play but I am skeptical after 2014 & 2012.

Some stock. But I think you are right to be skeptical given the past few elections.

Where will you be enjoying vacation, and how closely do you follow what's happening in politics while "getting away?"

I am going on a trip to Fire Island where my parents have a house. And I am never far from the news. But, as I said above, I am going to get as far from it as I can on this one.

...from rubbing them with glee over the bounty of material in the last few weeks?

It has been an amazing election. AMAZING. And I don't take it for granted. This sort of race comes along once every century or so.

Will McCain unendorse in the next 30 days?

If he hasn't yet.....

To celebrate your impending vacation, I am having pretzels with mayo.

What is wrong with you?

Where are you posting? Who is the soundtrack? What are you drinking? Are where are you vacationing?

First things last. Listening to Brian Eno's "Ambient 1/Music for Airports." No drink. WaPo world HQ.

That's all folks! No chat next week because I will be on vacation. But I'll see you in 2 weeks time.  Thanks as always for spending some time with me and spread the word.

In This Chat
Chris Cillizza
Chris Cillizza is the managing editor of PostPolitics and he writes "The Fix," a politics blog for The Washington Post. He also covers the White House for the newspaper and website. Chris has appeared as a guest on NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, Fox News Channel and CNN to talk politics. He lives in Virginia with his wife and sons.
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