The Fix Live

Oct 21, 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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Every week feels like the most amazing, unpredictable week I have ever witnessed.

There are 18 days left before the election though -- and I know, sadly (yes I am sad!) it will end soon.

So let's just live while we can. Drink it in.

Let's do this.

Is this how elections are going to be now? Is this the new normal?

I think it might be.

Think about it:  Lots of wealthy celebrities look at Trump and very much believe that if he can do it, then they can too.

People roll their eyes at the idea of Kanye West running for president.  I do not.

Do you ration the kids' trick or treat stash?

Well, the kids have nut allergies so we have to. And, yes, I eat all their candy that they can't eat.

Can Hillary flip all three?

No to Texas.

I think Arizona and Georgia are possible if not likely.

Steve Schmidt suggested that GOP internals are making Republicans panic; particularly as it pertains to the House. So do the Dems really have a chance to get the House AND the Senate?

Republicans in the Senate are in a tough spot.  The map was never favorable to them. I am actually surprised they have kept it this competitive for this long. I still think the GOP has a shot at holding the majority but the Trump fade at the top of the ticket makes it very tough.

As for the House, I still am not there. Democrats need to flip 30 seats and that includes probably 10-15 that are pretty damn hard to win in anything short of a total wave election. Because I don't think we can rule out a wave, I think a Democratic takeover is possible but not probable.

Who cuts your hair?


There's a lot of concern that Trump will lead this national movement of ultra-conservatives after he loses the election that will split the party and possibly cause turmoil for the country as a whole. Why should I believe that he'll by any more lasting or impactful than Sarah Palin was?

1. He was the presidential nominee, not the VP nominee

2. He was famous long before this campaign

3. He is rich.

Palin was none of those things.

So, which member of Team Fix gets to pull an all-nighter on Nov 8th monitoring Donald Trump's Twitter account? The prospects of an epic 3 AM tweetstorm would seem to be very high at this point.

We are still working out the staffing. But, never fear, we will have someone monitoring results -- and Twitter feeds -- all night long.

Related: Mrs. Fix and I just wrapped up "The Night Of." We liked but didn't love.

Be 100% absolutely positively honest. Don't worry about getting it wrong, you'll be forgiven.

Based on every way we have to measure likely predictors of electoral outcomes -- money, organization, message -- Clinton has a very clear edge.

And her map is expanding into places like Utah. Arizona and Georgia.

She should win.  Doesn't mean it's 100% but she is in the far superior position today.

Trump is going to find a way to make money out of all this, isn't he?

I suspect so, yes.

Maybe a monthly subscription news network?

The Fix seems to think Ryan is a top contender for 2020. However, he has to be Speaker for the next 4 years which means making budget deals with Hillary that the Right will hate. Being Speaker didn't exactly endear Boehner to the GOP, why would Ryan be any different?

Agree it won't be easy. And double agree that being Speaker may have been the worst decision Ryan could have made for his national aspirations.

But, I think he will remain very much in the spotlight over the next four years as he does battle with a President Clinton. And I think those fights will help him boost his conservative credentials -- even if he has to beat down some rebellions on his right along the way.

My fellow Democrats are starting to breathe a collective sigh of relief. But...the 2018 Senate races look brutal for us, don't they?

Absolutely they do. And it is likely to be Clinton's first midterm election which is typically a very tough one for the president's party.

In 2018, there will be 25 Democratic seats and just 8 GOP seats up for reelection. And Democrats are going to have to defend seats in places like Indiana, North Dakota, Missouri, Montana and West Virginia.

Even if Democrats win the Senate back by a seat or two in 18 days time, they are likely to only hold it for two years.

Do you think the spate of revelations of assaulted women highlights the danger for a party to nominate someone who has never served for major elective office? I have to imagine this would have come out if he were a governor or a senator...

Um, yes.

It also highlights the danger of nominating someone who spent a big chunk of his life as a reality TV star.

Trump's hedging on accepting the results of next months election reminds me of his similar position on supporting the party's nominee way back in the first GOP primary debate last year. In both cases, he's reserving the right to determine if he thinks the process is "fair" enough to his liking. What he doesn't seem to understand, however, is that supporting your party's nominee is a matter of politics, but accepting the results of an election is a fundamental principle of democracy. There's a very big difference.

I think his natural tendency in all things is to resist any "deal" where he doesn't get to set the terms.

So, he doesn't want to say he would concede if he lost because, in his mind, that would be giving up his leverage.

Of course, this is the continuity of government we are talking about not some sort of business deal.

But I am not sure Trump really gets the difference.

I'm getting a little freaked out about so many publications/pundits/etc declaring that Hillary has basically already won, since Trump seems to be digging himself into a big, big hole. Do you think this risks people saying, oh she's gonna be OK, i'll go ahead and vote for a 3rd party (or not voting) -- ie, the Brexit effect?

Democrats have to guard against that, no question.

President Obama in Miami yesterday specifically mentioned that his supporters can't just assume that Clinton is ahead and she will win. He said they need to get out and vote.

That's the right message. It won't convince everyone that this race needs their vote. But it's still the right message.

I know conservatives will always see liberal bias, but do you think it's a problem and added fuel to that speculation, that so many journalists left journalism to go work for the Obama Administration?

I really hate it and wish they wouldn't.

Should all organizations not trusted by the public do some soul searching as to why?

Sure.  And we do. But I also think that you have to understand that we have undergone a decades long attempt to discredit the media with very little pushback. So some of the trust numbers you are seeing are reflective of that too.

If Hillary wins, who do you see as the top 2 or 3 GOP candidates in 2020?

Paul Ryan

Tom Cotton

Marco Rubio

Ted Cruz

John Kasich

I think that's the top tier or close to it.

Are exit pollers required to disclose what group(s) they are affiliated with?

They aren't affiliated with a group. It's a consortium of all the big media outlets in the country.  

Circling the drain?

I would say not at all. In fact, I think the prospect of a Trump TV network has gotten more likely over the last few weeks as he has pursued an almost entirely base-only campaign.

Last time I checked, all of the polls show Clinton leading comfortably, still here is my question, what does early voting show? Is there any way that early voting results could be skewed as Trump has alleged? Could early voting be helping with Trump's remarkable narrative, rejected by the independent media, that early voting is rigged for Clinton?

Early vote is a state by state process. But as the Fix's own Philip Bump noted this morning, in Arizona and North Carolina, Democratic early vote is way up.


Or are you not a puppet?

More relevant question: Am I a muppet or a man?

Other than Utah, are there any other states where third party turn out would be significant? aka exceed 10 percent?

New Mexico, because Gary Johnson was the governor of the state for 8 years.

Any weird or unusual ballot initiatives out there we should know about (so far all I've heard of is condoms in California)?

There are two soda initiatives in California too.

We will do  big roundup sometime soon so you can have  check list of all the big/strange ones.

I've recently had two phone messages from the Trump campaign inviting me to rallies in my area. Except that I'm in Alexandria and the rallies were in Florida (Tampa and Lakeland, to be precise). Sad!

Yeah. BREAKING NEWS: Organization matters. And when you explicitly state that you think big rallies are more important than data mining and building organizations, well, stuff like this happens.

Waiting for the next wikileaks/Apprentice Tape to drop?

Was in Florida!  Just landed!

I just saw a poll that had Hassan up 9 points. The other recent polls had the race at a tie or Ayotte up. What is your gut reaction, is this an outlier, or could Trump be effect be showing signs?

I think that's way too high.

I could see Hassan being ahead but not by that much. I do think though that Trump could really hurt Ayotte down the stretch here.

Suppose Hilary wins the presidency and the Democrats re-take the Senate, but not the House. Can the House still refuse to vote on Supreme Court nominees? If any more SC justices die or retire, we could have only 6 or 7 in a couple of years.

House has no role in Court nominations.

What could happen is any Republican Senator could block up the works and do everything they can to keep from voting on a Senate nominee.

Lots of signs she is distancing herself from her candidate and giving some "winks" to observers, right, ever since he freed himself from the "shackles"? Seems smart I would think. She has a pretty unbelievable story to tell to prospective employers. She was doing the impossible -- righting the ship, keeping the untameable on message and progressing steadily in the polls -- until he ripped the shackles off after feeling betrayed by party leadership after the bus video. Do you see signs she is protecting her brand? What would you do if you were her? Do you think her boss is happy about this?

No question that she is doing that.  On twitter especially she seems to be making clear that the candidate isn't exactly following her advice at all times.

What on earth was Trump (or his writer) thinking? He's been before so knows what to expect. A bit of self depreciating humour not a full frontal attack on your opponent (no matter how much you hate her) His stunning awful awfulness even made the BBC!

I think he felt uncomfortable, didn't like the people there and knew they didn't like him.

I wrote today about how that dinner was indicative of so much of what we know about Trump.

Is it just me thinking this, or does Philip Bump have the greatest eyebrows on the entire Fix team?

He does have a nice set of eyebrows.

On the one hand, Hillary's trend-line seems to reinforce that you need a traditional campaign (great ads that you pay to run, experienced staff, etc.). On the other hand, that Trump is even here suggests that traditional campaigns may be overrated. How do you think this cycle will affect how candidates campaign in the future?

Traditional campaigns are overrated in the primary but not the general election?

When Obama came into office, opposition coalesced rapidly around "controlling" the debt, giving birth to the Tea Party and resulting in significant mid-term losses for the Democrats. What do you think a similar issue would be this go-round? Do you get the sense folks in the Clinton camp are already preparing for gridlock and the attendant fight for 2018?

If they aren't, they should be. I don't think Hillary Clinton will get any sort of political honeymoon like George W Bush or Barack Obama enjoyed.

If elected, she will be the least popular president to be elected in modern history. So there's going to be very little incentive on the part of Republicans to work with her.

We know that you like New Years Eve about as much as you like mayo. What about Halloween?

Halloween with kids is top 5 holiday.

Halloween without kids is tremendously bad.

I love mayo, so you can call me a monster.

Not just a monster. History's greatest monster.

Who wins on Sunday?


You didn't go?

Nope! Had to go to Florida the next morning. And, we had about 9 people there. Didn't need me too!

I voted for Kodos!!

I vote for Ron Swanson.

It has to be Trump again.

I think you are right. Which would make 3 weeks running...

What is your fearless prediction as to who is in control?

Think Democrats win control narrowly as of today.

Joe & Mika say media over reacted to what Trump said about waiting to see election results. Are they correct? (Have to say....some pundits were visibly hyperventilating.)

I think the media and political establishment cared more about the whole "will you concede" thing than the average person. No question.

BUT, I do think that even if the average person doesn't care, it IS a big deal. Like, it's been a foundational principle of our democracy for 240 years...

Chris, Hillary's supporters in Utah can't give her the state, but they could deny it to Trump. I know she can't publicly advocate a third party candidate, but at the local level can Democratic operatives run a quite operation for McMullin? If even 1/3 of her supports threw their votes to him instead, he might edge Trump and deny him 6 electoral votes he can't afford to lose.

That would be the smartest thing to do, I think. As you say, just not enough Democrats in the state for Clinton to win. But plenty of Republicans when coupled with a chunk of Democrats for Evan McMullin to win.

Before last night I had no idea this dinner even existed (my NY born husband says it's because I'm not a New Yorker). I could not stop watching once I started. I'm not good at recognizing famous people. There was a woman sitting in the row behind the podium, she was in the camera frame whenever someone was at the podium, just behind the speakers right shoulder (left side of screen). Can you tell me who was this woman in the red dress with white gloves?

Maria Bartiromo of Fox Business.

...what will the Post do if Trump wins? Since you and yours have invested so much effort in trying to destroy Trump's candidacy while promoting Clinton's -- so if he wins, isn't that evidence that Big Media's influence just isn't there any more? How do you come back from that repudiation? Just spend the next four years trying to destroy the theoretical Trump Administration?

Um, I feel like this question has a bit of a partisan slant to it.

For those who would accuse us of "going easy" on Clinton, I would point you here.

How many more Surprises do you expect?

I feel like absolutely anything is in play for him now.  I think he has to know at some level that he is likely to lose. That makes him angry and resentful. And he has no ability to disguise that feeling. So, my guess is things get less predictable -- and nastier -- between now and Nov. 8.

Mr. Fix: Thanks for coming on at 2pm, so I can sleep late after late night binge-listening to several of your podcasts (plug). This presidential race has gone from one low to another, and is reaching the unbelievable stage. Can you think of anything Trump can do now which would shock you?



Make sure you subscribe. I guarantee you will like.

Will our long national nightmare be over on November 9th?

Hard for me to imagine. But he's never been predictable in this election so maybe this will be just another example of that.

Is Trump's transition team still working to vet and interview potential hires? We don't see much media coverage of that, or am I missing something?

Yes, they are. Led by Chris Christie. And, I would say we don't hear that much coverage of either transition team. I mean, neither is relevant until November 9.

A few times you've commented in those nice annotated interview transcripts about viable strategies, lines of attack, etc. that Trump will touch on but not pursue (like focusing on Supreme Court appointments, hitting Clinton on e-mail, etc). How much do you think his failure to follow those paths is simply just poor discipline or poor understanding of campaign strategy? I also wonder how much of that is intentional to Trump really having some sort of need to make the campaign a referendum on him- as though invoking anything other than how great he is would diminish the accomplishment of being elected. Too much armchair psychology there, or would that be plausible?

I think he is simply incapable of sticking to a single message. Or of understanding that he doesn't know better than everyone else in every circumstance.

Trump did well until like the last 5 minutes. Kind of in the debate where he did well for about 30 min and then fell apart. Guy just doesn't have stamina

You are trolling but I actually think you are right!

Trump staying disciplined and on message is not what Trump wants. He views himself as a tremendously gifted natural communicator who connects best with people when he is riffing without notes or preparation.

That doesn't work in the context of running a general election campaign for president.

... do the Fix team members need to be told they are nasty?

Thrice daily

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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